A Hoop and a Stick
Day 006 – July 28, 2011
We have a joke in our family that I am so old that when I was a youth, I played with a hoop and a stick.
That inside joke comes courtesy of an advertisement for Sony’s Playstation 3 and is usually trotted out to me when I watch my kids play with Wiis and iPods and I express my astonishment over how much video game technology has advanced from the time I was a tyke and I spent many an hour with 8-bit gaming systems like Intellivision from Mattel Electronics or the 16-bit Sega Genesis.
My children were so thoughtful that when we were in Williamsburg, Virginia, sightseeing all that colonial America had to offer (which after butter churning and looming isn’t much), they pointed out the original 2-bit gaming system as we saw people actually playing with a hoop and a stick
(Disclaimer: No hoops and/or sticks were harmed in the making of the linked-to video. This video used for educational purposes only. Please consult a physician before attempting to play with a hoop and a stick. The family portrayed in the video has no connection to our family, this blog, or any part of Peru.).
I was reminded of our family’s joke today because I have been astounded at how quickly and effortlessly our trio of children have been able to amuse themselves without the plethora of electronica that they usually possess. Because we are still without our major shipments of stuff, our kiddos have had to improvise with the materials at hand or what we brought in our suitcases.
While we have no hoops and sticks, our threesome have become quite adept at making paper airplanes. Our backyard has also seen its fair share of a game involving a flying disc and brooms, but I don’t ask too many questions (sometimes the less a parent knows the better). There have also been a fair number of highly competitive rounds of “Who Can Do the Better Cartwheel?”
My lovely wife also taught the family a game she learned at camp entitled Spud (and honestly, does Wikipedia have an entry for everything?). Every player is given a number. One player throws a ball high in the air and calls a number. While all the other players scatter, the person whose number was called must catch the ball and then yell “Stop”. When all the other players stop, the person with the ball takes four steps towards another player and throws the ball at that targetted player. If the player is hit, the hit player earn a letter (“S”, “P”, “U”, or “D”). If the thrower misses, the thrower earns a letter. When a person collects “SPUD”, they are out of the game. We usually can play only two or three rounds of this game before it degenerates into a helter-skelter of ball-throwing.
However, personally, my favorite game is Mille Bornes, the card game from France where you battle your opponent to see who can make it 700 miles first while avoiding running out of gas, flat tires, and accidents.
This is a game I inherited (the technical term is “stole”) from my parents as I would watch them play when I was a lad. I took this game to college, where, sadly, most of my scholarly compatriots were into the game of Hearts. I held on to this game in the hopes that I would find a worthy opponent. And I have…
…and she is my youngest child.
Not even in double digits of age and she’s beaten me twice.
As I said, I wanted a worthy opponent and I have found one in her.
Our electronic games can take all the time they want in arriving as I need to shuffle the cards for Game #3 so I can avenge myself.
“Once more unto the breach“, eh?