Question of the Day: Recess!

5 03 2007

What was your favorite game to play at recess in grade school?
Submitted by Elisheva Chana.

Red rover. I think I liked it so much because good red rover strategy dictates that a team will call over one of the weaker players from the other team. I was a pretty darn unimposing as a kid; nearly always, I was the smallest kid in class. So I was often the center of attention in red rover: Red rover, red rover, send Jay right over. And then I would run and run and run and, surprisingly often, manage to break the chain formed by the opposing team members’ linked arms. And even when I didn’t break the chain, I enjoyed having been the focus of attention—and, well, the likely focus of attention shortly ahead. Someone like me might have to run back and forth quite a few times.

Another reason I liked red rover so much, I think, is that—by the end—nearly everybody felt like he was on the winning team. The game didn’t end, after all, until one long chain was formed. It was only the last player on the losing side who really ended up feeling like the “loser,” and that was usually one of the stronger players. (That’s because, again, good strategy dictates that the weaker players be called over first.) And it’s hard to feel too bad when the class stud doesn’t, once in his life, manage to win. Hee.

It’s a shame adults don’t play red rover. (Hmm, what would that be like, anyway?) And I guess kids don’t play it much anymore. According to Wikipedia, red rover is illegal in some stats. I guess that’s because linked limbs get injured when someone runs right into them…. But, gosh, does the playground need that much policing?

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