Tag or Couch Potato?

Edit: Happy birthday Suzie (sister-in-law in Florida). Love you!!

Tag: “One person is designated as ‘it’, and that person runs around and tries to touch someone else. If they succeed, the person they touch is now ‘it’ and tries to chase everyone else.” I found that on the Internet — I really don’t remember any rules.

But c’mon, are school districts *really* outlawing the game of Tag? I heard it on National Petroleum Radio and it’s not April Fools’ Day, so I’m gonna more or less believe it.

I don’t remember playing a whole lot of Tag. I don’t think I was very fond of the game. Dodge Ball either. Being chased and knocked into, a central feature of both games, was not my favorite thing. Fortunately, there were plenty of other games to play that didn’t involve bodily contact. Some of them could be pretty rough in their own right:

  • Extreme Swinging: Grab a friend and two of those industrial strength playground swings. Get a real good swing going. Swerve toward each other and let the chains twist together until they can’t twist any more and you get flung in all directions as they twist back apart.
  • Extreme Sliding: We did just about everything under the sun on those huge 9-foot (?) slides *except* climb carefully up the ladder and slide down. My favorite trick was climbing up the ladder, stepping over the railing right out into space, and sliding down the *pole*.
  • Monkey Bar Shenanigans: You don’t even wanna know. They don’t *make* monkey bars like the ones we had any more.
  • A “calvory” game that “the boys” (who, I don’t remember) played for a while one year. My friend and I wanted to be part of the “calvory” but we were relegated to the role of nurses. Definitely on the sidelines of the action, not my favorite place. (No offense to any real nurses, of course!)
  • “One, Two, Three O’Leary” — with golf balls. Betcha those’d be confiscated quick enough in today’s schools. Coincidentally enough, the only coherent description I seem to be able to find of “O’Leary” on the Internet seems to be on the Webster U website. Does anyone play that game any more?
  • Daredevil bike riding: a favorite trick was to get some good speed up, stand on the seat with one foot and stick the other leg out gracefully behind like a ballerina. Grfok grok. Bally-reena? Graceful? Roight. grok grok Funny that I could do *that* trick but couldn’t ride no-handed until I was an adult. Go figger.

That list is not exhaustive. There was also kickball in the street and jump rope and running/jumping contests and shooting basketballs into the crooked, raggedy basketball hoops across the street from my house and dodging the Waisenan boys’ rocks. I haven’t even begun to include the games we played during the long northern winter or running wild on the Shores of Gitchee Gumee in the summer.

I do not understand why we keep outlawing good old outdoor fun and then turn around and lament about childhood obesity and how kids spend too much time in front of a screen.

I did get injured. I spent quite some time in the nurse’s office getting my knees slathered with that icky old pink merchurochrome. Pink?!? Grok Grok. Green’s a much better color. Grok grok But I wore my bandages with pride!

4 Responses to “Tag or Couch Potato?”

  1. Webmomster Says:

    Had to look up “O’Leary” on that website to figger out what the game is…it sounds like the “Seven-Up” game from my grade school days – and it involved a basketball (or similar sized playground ball) and required a wall.

    Details are fuzzy, but like O’Leary, there were special ways to bounce the ball off the wall, involving doing a spin or making the ball bounce BEFORE hitting the wall versus after, no bounce, bounce under the leg or between the legs or backwards, etc. I’m not sure the order – or the skills – were ever exactly the same each time the game is played…

  2. kayak woman Says:

    We actually just bounced the ball up and down and when you hit “O’Leary” (1-2-3-O’Leary), you picked your leg up over the ball. For the life of me, I can’t exactly remember how it worked. On subsequent rounds, there were different words than “O-Leary” that corresponded to increasingly complicated tricks. You were *supposed* to use a small, like maybe 2-1/2 to 3″ diameter, rubber ball. At some point kids started bringing golf balls in. They had a good bounce, if I remember.

  3. susie Says:

    what? they haven’t outlawed sending the kids outside yet?

  4. kayak woman Says:

    Not yet, but “they” (the A2 district, at least) *do* do some weird things. When my kids were in elementary, the temperature/weather conditions at something like 5 AM determined whether or not they went out to recess that day. Kee-reist!! Sometimes the temp could go up 30 degrees between then and 10 AM or whatever. Nowadays I think “they” at least let the building principal decide about recess. Sheesh! A billion kids cooped up inside all day when the sun is out and the early morning snow is melting?