Sunday, March 12, 2006

One Potato, Two Potato…

Ran across this article about a recent “Rock, Paper, Scissors” game. (‘Course we called it Paper, Rock, Scissors), and it got me thinking, which is always a dangerous proposition.

In our neighborhood growing up, all us kids spent as much time as possible roaming around in the great outdoors. There were seldom any pre-arrangements by phone, few organized play dates, and besides Little League, no formal, adult-led activities. We just played.

"Hey, Mom. I’m going out to play!!"

No destination given, no time estimate, and no description of our intended pastime. Times were simpler then. But truth is, we didn’t know, anyway. You might find us in any backyard, frontyard, vacant lot, street, or the woods that ran behind the neighborhood houses.

If you could find any of the other guys, and generally you could with the shrill, shriek-like signal (which sounded something like a strangled rooster who’d been sucking helium out of a balloon) that we used, you played until it was too dark to see anymore.

And the games? Well, there was no shortage of Nerf football, baseball variations with tennis balls, wiffle balls, paper and tape balls, etc, driveway basketball, and even street hockey. But when nobody was in the mood for any of these more traditional games, it fell to me as the oldest (or maybe I just took over) to suggest some less familiar activity or invent something entirely new.

Some of these games never had names. Some of them had obtuse names like Piggy, Pickle, and 32. And some of them were just descriptions like "one guy gets a Frisbee and the other guy gets a basketball and we count to three and then throw them over the house at the same time and the first guy who catches three in a row…" Well, you get the point.

But coming up with games could be a lot of pressure, too. And so, through word of mouth, school library research, and the occasional TV program like Vic’s Vacant Lot, I attempted to collect a bag of games to have at the ready.

I hadn’t thought of many of these in quite some time, but found many listed at Games Kids Play. I’m sure many of you were kids once and have similar remembrances of classic games like kickball, dodgeball, Red Rover, Pitch-Up and Smear (sometimes known by other names), and others described at the link.

But just in case I get called upon once again to entertain the neighborhood kids with a new game, let me have the rules to your favorites, especially if they were unique to your old gang.

BTW, me and a few guys are thinking about getting up a kickball league. And we’re doing away with the maddening boy-girl-boy-girl rule that Mrs. Orme made us play by in P.E. class. Let me know if you’re interested in playing.


B said...

My brother and I never had other kids to play with in our neighborhood. Of course, we only lived in one real neighborhood growing up. Usually we lived where every house was at least a couple of acres away from the next one. So, our group games were played after church on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights. The usual favorites: Kick the Can and X-Men.

P&S said...

I don't know X-Men. How does that go?

Scot said...

If you thought the rock, paper, scissors article was interesting, then you have to look at this web site. They get really serious about RPS and study the psychology of it and have names for different plays. It's hard to tell if they are serious and nuts or just have a tongue-in-cheek approach to it.
I've forgotten. Is piggy the one with three people in baseball and if you catch the ball in the air, then you get to bat? Or, is it the free throw shooting basketball game with 2 balls in which you try to make it before the person in line before you? I've forgotten the other name. What is it?

P&S said...

Piggy is the baseball game. Gotcha is the basketball I think you're thinking of.