Nyaah nyah nyaaah nyah! The Rules of Childhood.
October 16, 2002 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Nyaah nyah nyaaah nyah! The Rules of Childhood. While searching for the origin of "Jinx! Pinch! Poke!" I came across Greasy Kid Stuff. Nostalgics rejoice! Regress into terminology like the "cootie shot" and proven methods of gaining elementary school fame. Also check out the radio program. Anything missing from this list?
posted by Stan Chin (75 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
And yes, I have a strange obsession with childhood.
posted by Stan Chin at 12:22 PM on October 16, 2002


Incomplete without "milk milk lemonade."
posted by machaus at 12:27 PM on October 16, 2002


Anyone ever play Freeze Tag?
Perhaps it was just a panhandle of Florida game.
posted by bmxGirl at 12:32 PM on October 16, 2002


Freeze Tag is a Jersey game too.
posted by goddam at 12:35 PM on October 16, 2002


Remember: if another kid pukes at your birthday party, you have done well.

Great stuff. And if you like this site, you'll love this book!
posted by languagehat at 12:35 PM on October 16, 2002


I played varsity freeze tag in college. Huge sport in Delaware
posted by Cool Alex at 12:37 PM on October 16, 2002


Oooh yeah, Freeze Tag and its variants, TV Tag and Cartoon Tag (rural PA).

I never did learn how to do most of those "girl things" but the origami fortune-teller thing always kills 'em at bars...
posted by JoanArkham at 12:38 PM on October 16, 2002


My cousins and I thought it would be fun one summer to perfect our abilities of sniffing Tang. Talking to some friends about it, I realized that this was pretty common. Pixie sticks and kool-aid were their favorites. Tang was fun cause you would sneeze bright orange!
posted by bmxGirl at 12:46 PM on October 16, 2002


Is it just an urban legend of childhood, or did any kid ever swing completely around - over the top - of the swingset. Every kid always seemed to know "someone" who did it on the weekend when no one was around. I was always too afraid to try.

Was Freeze Tag where you crawled through the legs of the player to unfreeze them, or was that Monkey Tag? If it was Freeze, then I have no idea what Monkey Tag is, but I know I played both as a kid.
posted by BirdD0g at 12:51 PM on October 16, 2002


How about flashlight tag? Running around the neighborhood at night with flashlights, "tagging" the other players with your beam of light.

This probably wouldn't work in today's neighborhoods.
posted by archimago at 12:58 PM on October 16, 2002


We played freeze tag with both the crawling through the legs and just touching them. I liked to play it in the pool with girls.

What about the diarrhea song. That one still cracks me up.
posted by kookywon at 1:01 PM on October 16, 2002


I'm positive Freeze Tag is international.

Punch-buggy is back -- that's when you punch your sister whenever you see a Volkswagon Beetle. Wild -- I remember playing it back in the early 70's with the original Beetles...

"Cutsies" was known as "NO BUDGING!" over in this (North-Central BC) neck of the woods.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:04 PM on October 16, 2002


I've actually done a lot of thinking about the "nyaah, nyaah" chant. Not to say anything bad about the post, Stan, but you left out a "nyaah" - the classic taunt always has five distinct "nyaah's". The article gets it right.

I remember hearing once that Chris Butler, of the Waitresses, wrote the unforgettable "I Know What Boys Like" specifically to use the familiar taunt; however, I think he got it wrong, too. The song, catchy as it is, has only one stressed syllable: Nyaah, nyaah, nyaah, NYAAH, nyaah. This works better for the song, because it's easier to repeatedly sing, but IMO the actual taunt has two distinct stresses, and the second and third syllables are joined together, as follows: NYAAH, nyaah-nyaah, NYAAH, nyaah. To my knowledge, this is a spontaneously-generated human chant that is instantly recognizable across cultures as a "childish, but spectacularly annoying, taunt", and cannot be traced back to any single author. Jung would have loved it.

In this respect, the taunt is similar to the also untraceable "air ball" chant that spontaneously erupts at basketball games, which Dave Barry noted always ends up being sung in perfect pitch - on the notes F and D.

And yes, this is the kind of stuff that gets real interesting late in the afternoon after you've been writing By-Laws all day.
posted by yhbc at 1:08 PM on October 16, 2002


Punch-buggy / Punch-bug / Slug-bug is definitely back. One punch for a new, two for the old.
posted by BirdD0g at 1:08 PM on October 16, 2002


(First post) I do remember playing freeze tag in Chicago. I also remeber:
1) When choosing sides for baseball, one captain would toss the bat at the other, who would catch it with one hand. Then they would alternate hands up the bat, with the last one able to get a hand in getting first pick.
2) When choosing sides for football (touch, of course), one captain would spin the ball behind the back of the other, calling out "Lines, laces, wide open spaces". If the captain whose back was turned could guess which part of the football was up, he got first pick.
posted by teo at 1:09 PM on October 16, 2002


Boy talk about a website that took me back, thanks for reminding me. Stan do you remember most of your childhood, I do, yet my peers always make it seem an oddity that I can.

I played with children mostly older than me but when I played these games with my brothers whom are much much younger than me, they're clueless to this child talk. I wonder how few of this site today still exists with today's tikes.

Remember your glue, I'm rubber, routine.

Or the worse.

Having strict parents.

Oldest siblings had the worst of this phenomenon, because their parents hadn’t gotten tired of enforcing the rules yet.

Again my young brothers were clueless.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:10 PM on October 16, 2002


But "No Returnsies!" on that, Birddog!
posted by five fresh fish at 1:10 PM on October 16, 2002


NYAAH, nyaah-nyaah, NYAAH, nyaah

Hmm. Our version was: "NAH nah-nah-nah-nah NAAHH nah!"

Was Freeze Tag where you crawled through the legs of the player to unfreeze them

Where I grew up, that was Superman Tag, because you posed with your legs apart and hands on your hips, like you were standing on a tall building with a cape billowing out behind you. For Freeze Tag, a buddy just had to "un-tag" you by smacking you on the arm as they ran by.

"Brittany and Dylan, sittin’ in a tree / K-I-S-S-I-N-G / First comes love, then comes marriage / Then comes [classmate’s name, demonstrating woefully incomplete understanding of the reproductive process] in a baby carriage"

That always bugged me, too. I remember, enlightened daughter-of-an-OB/GYN that I was, trying to get people to say "Then comes Mindy with a baby carriage." It never caught on.
posted by hippugeek at 1:15 PM on October 16, 2002


How about Padiddle?

When there's an approaching car with a headlight out you yell "padiddle" and kiss (or punch) the person next to you.
posted by goddam at 1:17 PM on October 16, 2002


Freeze tag was played in California too. Red Light, Green Light and Burning Candles were the other stand-bys.
posted by Woolcott'sKindredGal at 1:23 PM on October 16, 2002


"I Know What Boys Like" specifically to use the familiar taunt

This is why I love MeFi, no matter how stupid of a FPP I make, the community always comes in with something incredibly interesting to add that wouldn't have come up in a million years otherwise. Thanks yhbc, and also for the Air Ball factoid!

Stan do you remember most of your childhood, I do, yet my peers always make it seem an oddity that I can.

It takes a bit of firing up the old neurons to make those connections again, but after that yes I do remember most of my childhood. Then again, most of my childhood wasn't that interesting at all. To self-analyze myself, I misinterpret "how much fun the other kids had" that I regret missing out on, so I think I latch onto these sporadic memories more dearly. It would also explain why I still act like a big kid at times, and I would argue I'm still going through childhood. High School when I'm 40 is going to suck.

Is it just an urban legend of childhood, or did any kid ever swing completely around - over the top - of the swingset.

I also heard this legend, however, the kid who tried it only made it halfway and broke his head open on the crossbar in my version.
posted by Stan Chin at 1:23 PM on October 16, 2002


Remember your glue, I'm rubber, routine

This sort of confusion may explain a lot about our buddy thom.
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:24 PM on October 16, 2002


We played freeze tag with both the crawling through the legs and just touching them. I liked to play it in the pool with girls.

Liked? I still like it. Does any boy ever outgrow his love of playing with girls in the water. I should think not. I truly believe some of my happiest innocent moments occured during my late pre-pubescent years, swimming between girls' legs.
posted by BirdD0g at 1:26 PM on October 16, 2002


I truly believe some of my happiest innocent moments occured during my late pre-pubescent years, swimming between girls' legs.

You may be mistaking this memory with the time you were just a sperm.
posted by Stan Chin at 1:33 PM on October 16, 2002


My friend Bob t. tried to go all the way around on the swings once. The swing was one of those old ones that was attached with a metal chain, and the higher Bob went, the more slack he would get in the chains. After he started to get scared of how high he was going, he decided to redeem himself by jumping off the swing. Bob leapt off at the end of his swing, flying six or seven feet forward into the sand. Hilariously, he left his pants behind. At some point in time (I assume when the chain was going slack and then tight again as he came back from the end of his "pumps") Bob's shorts had become caught in one of the chains. It was awesome. Even for one of the "cool kids" Bob got pretty beat up for that one. We called that move the "Naked Superman".
posted by Samsonov14 at 1:34 PM on October 16, 2002


Incomplete without "milk milk lemonade.

Which itself is incomplete without "'round the corner, fudge is made."
posted by MrBaliHai at 1:36 PM on October 16, 2002


Ok, Kaf, your rubber I'm glue. I'm the World Series Champion Angels of 2002 sticks to me not to you

The slug-bug game we played was that a headlight had to be out on a VWusually were in the 80's to slug someone. I grew up in Southern California, if you played just by sight of a VW bug the game would just be a boxing match.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:37 PM on October 16, 2002


A friend of mine is putting together a college curriculum in Philosophy with an emphasis in Childhood Rhetoric. Only two courses so far:

English Composition 132: Simple Contradictory Rhetoric

Introduction to positive and negative interjections, affirmations/rejections, and phrases, including advanced forms such as as naseau ("Is not! Is so!"), opposite days, and sarcasm.

Philosophy 432: Introduction to the Infinite

Use of Infinite as augmentation to contradictory rhetoric, emphasizing the 4 C's: Cardinality, Countability, Cantor sets and Conway numbers. Using paradoxes of change to "really freak out" (intellectualy immobilize) an opponent.
posted by namespan at 1:40 PM on October 16, 2002


so let me get this right...

punch buggy until they all rusted out

car truck until they stopped making el caminos and rancheros

and now punch buggy v2
posted by machaus at 1:48 PM on October 16, 2002


I only wish my games of padiddle ended with a kiss! We always punched the shit outta each other!
posted by bmxGirl at 1:49 PM on October 16, 2002


Actually Thom, it was me who was confused. This inability to distinguish between rubber and glue has been the downfall of many of my would-be crafts masterpieces.

By the way, I thought the "through the legs" tag variant was called Tunnel Tag.

I also remember games of tag and Kill the Pill deteriorating into a game we called Cold Blooded Murder that dispensed with a ball or even any pretense of rules. It was basically running around a field in the middle of the night and beating the bejeezus out of each other.
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:58 PM on October 16, 2002


To my knowledge, this is a spontaneously-generated human chant that is instantly recognizable across cultures as a "childish, but spectacularly annoying, taunt", and cannot be traced back to any single author.

The tune is adapted from "Ring Around the Rosie."
posted by hilker at 2:02 PM on October 16, 2002


The Bouncing Souls have a killer cover of "I know what boys like" on their first album.

By the way, this thread is totally cracking me up.
posted by Ufez Jones at 2:06 PM on October 16, 2002


NO! Say it ain't so ...

Well, yeah, mebbe so. But then, who wrote that, smart guy?
posted by yhbc at 2:06 PM on October 16, 2002


Um, my last bit was in response to the "Ring Around the Rosie" revelation, not to the Bouncing Souls.
posted by yhbc at 2:08 PM on October 16, 2002


And now even adults can predict the future.. Play MASH online!
posted by bedhead at 2:15 PM on October 16, 2002


Lots of fun and disturbing facts about ring around the rosie here , about the plague and burning bodies and "all fall down" being about ancestors falling down dead from the disease.

Ahh.. childhood.
posted by Espoo2 at 2:27 PM on October 16, 2002


Kafkaesque, we played a similar game called War...the whole point being to divide ourselves into two teams and whale on other kids. I found it great fun, but the older kids & teachers were always trying to stop us on the ground of barbarism.
also played Serial Killer, which was really just tag, but with the benefit of gruesome & dramatic death scenes.
Anyone remember Spud, or was that just a southern phenomenon?
posted by anyasar at 2:29 PM on October 16, 2002


Ahh, espoo2 - but I already knew that was a bogus story , even before I saw the very link on the page you referenced. It's the last item on the page, and appears, not surprisingly, to have killed the discussion.
posted by yhbc at 2:31 PM on October 16, 2002


Here in San Antonio freeze tag could be play by either going through the legs or just touching. It basically boiled down to whether we felt like crawling through the dirt to unfreeze our friends.
posted by botono9 at 2:43 PM on October 16, 2002


In college I had an ethno-musicologist professor who once informed our class that the "NYAHH-nyahh-nyahh-NYAHH-nyahh" chant was one of the most universal sounds in the world... No matter where one grows up, it seems - from Africa to Iceland - there is always some form of that same "tune": a minor 3rd (descending), an ascending 4th, and back to the descending 3rd.

Some things are truly part of being human, and this "taunt" seems to be one of them.
posted by scribblative at 2:54 PM on October 16, 2002


I can't believe that this thread can have come so far without a mention of Log's fantastic, and of course massively cruel Law of The Playground which concentrates more on the horrible things we used to, and in some cases still, do to each other as kids. It has a Brit slant but I'm sure you'll all love it. Cough.
posted by Jofus at 2:57 PM on October 16, 2002


a minor 3rd (descending), an ascending 4th, and back to the descending 3rd.

Oh great. Summon the mothership, why don't you?
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:04 PM on October 16, 2002


We played freeze and flashlight tag as kids. In high school, we would even get wasted and play tag at night in the woods.

However, I think our favorite game by far was Smear the Queer / Kill the man with the ball. For those who never played it, it basically involved someone throwing a football in the air and having everyone tackle the poor kid that caught the ball. Catching the ball and getting attacked by all your friends was the a lot of fun, despite the pain and injuries caused by being at the bottom of a twenty kid pile.

We also liked to play Butts Up. This was played by bouncing a tennis ball or racquetball off an outside and taking turns catching it. If you dropped the ball, you had to run and touch the ball before someone else threw the ball and hit the wall with it. If you didn't make it, you had to stand against the wall while someone got a free shot at throwing the ball at you. There were many names and variations on this game.
posted by Blubble at 3:08 PM on October 16, 2002


That last part was a brainfart full of typos.

Corrected description of Butts Up

We also liked to play Butts Up. This was played by bouncing a tennis ball or racquetball off an outside wall and taking turns catching it. If you dropped the ball, you had to run and touch the wall before someone else threw the ball and hit the wall with it. If you didn't make it, you had to stand against the wall while someone got a free shot at throwing the ball at you. There were many names and variations on this game.
posted by Blubble at 3:14 PM on October 16, 2002


And who'll 'fess up to being as foolish as I, and licking a frozen propane tank?

I think that must have been in Grade 3. How stupid.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:15 PM on October 16, 2002


i think Freeze Tag is definitely international too - we played it in calgary and toronto so it must be. i went to afterschool care with a kid who would always insist on playing Kissing Tag. i wonder what kind of issues that kid has today...

also, what about everyone trying to put a packet of pop-rocks in your mouth and then taking a swig of coke or pepsi and waiting for your head to explode? and all your friends would watch expectantly, half-hoping it was really going to happen this time because wow, what a great story that would be to actually SEE it happen!!

great post, great thread. thanks for the memories.
posted by henriettachicken at 3:26 PM on October 16, 2002


Did any of the other women on MeFi play hi-jump as a kid? The game required the use of a rope made out of rubberbands and you had to do these jump rope/hopscotch type jumps and footwork over the rope.

Two people would hold the rope and the player started with ankle-high jumps. With each successful jump, the rope is held progressively higher until the player works her way up to a "sky-high" jump (jumping the rope as it is held over the head).

Every year some girl would break her arm and the game would get banned by the school, much like "Red Rover".

Was this just a NoCal game?
posted by echolalia67 at 3:32 PM on October 16, 2002


Anyone play ditch'em this went on for weeks, especially if you and pals had younger brothers or "ew" a sister.

Then ding-dong-ditch, you ring a door bell and hide in the home owners bushes. This would go on with the same house over a period of time, usually the game ended with a phone call to your parents like all cool games did.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:43 PM on October 16, 2002


the two most popular games i played as a kid were British Bulldog and that game with the knife that we never named.

BB was simple. everyone on one side if the football field and one person in the middle. the object is for the people to run from one end to the other without being tackled by the person in the middle. if s/he tackles you, you stay in the middle with him or her and tackle for the next run. evenutally you end up with everyone in the middle and one person on the side (the winner) who attempts to make one more run.

the game with the knife was also played with a screwdriver. what we did was go to a ravine or a large sloping hill. find a huge tree with a branch overhanging the hill. we'd tie a firehose (which we'd stolen) to the branch. that was the apparatus.

then, the first person swings out on the hose. on their return back to the hill they had to stab the knife some place, swing out again, and then dismount when they returned to ground. the next person had to swing empty handed, grab the knife, swing again, stab again, return. and it kept going. if you missed either stabbing or grabbing, you were out. last person left wins. the one caveat was that the person who stabbed the knife that no one could get had to be able to get it themself (this prevented people from throwing the knife too far away just so people couldn't get it). if he or she couldn't grab their own stab, they were out and everyone else was back in. i absolutely loved this game as a kid. though it perhaps sounds convoluted and maybe dangerous it was tremendous fun, wonderfully physical the way no other game was, and taught about geometry (angles) and physics. i'm betting it was a local game (i've never met anyone who ever heard of it). it sure as hell was fun.

eventually, there were people who incredibly good at it. they were swinging out and grabbing onto other trees, climbing the tree, stabbing the knife in it, and then swinging back. great stuff. :)
posted by dobbs at 3:57 PM on October 16, 2002


Best link in weeks, Stan, thanks. I have never had schadenfreude explained so clearly before, now I get it! And our neighborhood game, played with a whole horde of kids, was "Kick the Can," kind of a cross between hide-and-seek and tag. Everyone hid as well as they could in a carefully defined area, which could include inside garages, sheds, etc and the person who was It had to find them and tag them before they ran back and "kicked the can." The closer we were able to play this game until full nightfall, the scarier and more fun it was!
posted by Lynsey at 4:41 PM on October 16, 2002


My favourite childhood game was the "invisible rope game".

Find a reasonably quiet country road, at dusk. Wait for a car. Kill time playing pitch and toss. As car approaches, divide into two teams, either side of the road. When car is just close enough, the leader of team A throws invisible rope across road. Leader of team B catches rope and both teams take up the slack.

Success of game measured by number of cars brought to a complete stop before darkness stops play.
posted by ceiriog at 4:46 PM on October 16, 2002


Is it just an urban legend of childhood, or did any kid ever swing completely around - over the top - of the swingset.

I also heard this legend, however, the kid who tried it only made it halfway and broke his head open on the crossbar in my version.


when I read the first comment, i immediately went on a massive google search to locate the interview (which i swore, swore, swore i've read) in which the un-fucking-sinkable and very punk rock duane peters recounts how he got really drunk, tried to loop a swingset, and broke many body parts.

I'm not *sure* it's duane peters, but i know it was a skater, and heck, he's the only skater i can think of crazy enough to pull such a fucked up stunt.

alas, i came up empty. can someone back me up, or correct me?
posted by fishfucker at 4:47 PM on October 16, 2002


mumbly-peg was my favorite. But my dad made me use one of those yellow rubber knives.
posted by clavdivs at 5:30 PM on October 16, 2002


I was going to make this my virgin FPP, but this thread's the perfect place for it ... it's disappointment!. If you click on "the law of the playground" you'll get the funniest collection of stuff kids do I've ever read. (It's a bit UK-biased, btw).
posted by bonaldi at 5:47 PM on October 16, 2002


This was semi-organized (we played it in gym class) but I always loved Steal the Bacon.

In the wrestling room (smaller gym with a padded floor, wrestling is big where I come from) you'd divide the class in half, each lining a wall and each assigned a number, so there were two "ones", two "twos", etc. In the center is a large towel wrapped in duct tape. The teacher would yell a number, and the two representatives would fly across the room toward the "bacon". Whoever got it back to their side would get a point. Any tackle or wrestling move was legal. How many concussions we must have gotten, heads crashing together as kids went for the bacon from opposite directions. What fun.

Almost as good when we got a sub, and conned him or her into letting us play kickball indoors with the heavy rubber outdoor ball. We'd play (briefly) until someone broke a light.

Less formal was Running Bases or Pickle. Two pieces of wood about 70 feet apart. Two older kids would man each "base" with a baseball glove, and throw a tennis ball back and forth. We young'ins had to run back and forth. If you were pegged with the ball en route or tagged by one of the basemen when they had the ball and you weren't touching a base you were out, last one left won.
posted by jalexei at 5:52 PM on October 16, 2002


Endless variations on dodgeball and tag.

The best pure dodgeball has those hit go "behind enemy lines," where they have to nail someone to get back to homebase. Inevitably someone ends up being left all alone on the homebase side, dodging balls from front and back, and desperately trying to loft a ball to the "captured" teammates behind the opponents, so that someone, anyone!, can get back to homebase... 'cause when you're on you're own, you're the only thing between keeping the game going, and your team losing.

The best tag is a takeoff on "capture the flag". Each team has a traffic cone (the flag) and a prison (a crashmat). First team to get the opposing traffic cone wins. Only one guard, of course! You can rescue prisoners by getting to the prison un-caught; you and whomever you choose gets to saunter back safely. Coach can yell "Jailbreak" at any time to stir things up.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:18 PM on October 16, 2002


NAH nah-nah-NAH-nah was our version in NZ.

Freeze tag was where you had to crawl under someone to unfreeze them, because you had to be their friend to risk getting tagged while crawling under.

Everyone seemed to claim having looped the swing, but no-one ever saw anyone do it. We tried for ages on some swings at a local school that had rigid metal rods instead of chains, but never got much over horizontal.

The eeny-meeny-miney-mo thing reminds me of the way a lot of kids chants etc have changed. We used the same thing, except the word was not tiger but another word describing a person of dark skin that we are no longer allowed to say.

We used to play a game at school, when the PE teacher was in a good mood and didn't feel like working too much, called "murder Ball". Rules were simple - hockey field, medicine ball and two teams, get the ball in the goal any way you could and you got a point. Great for kids like me with no athletic or ball skills but not afraid of getting hurt. There was an indoor version as well, with a bladder from a football substituted for the medicine ball and gym mats for goals. Absolutely brutal, but great fun. It would be a brave school today to let kids play something like this, I guess.

At a holiday camp I went to several times, the last day consisted of a "war", with two sides being drawn and given a side of a ravine and a sandbag. The object was to get both sandbags on your side of the ravine. Everyone had a piece of wool around their upper arm and, if you could break someone's wool, they were dead and couldn't play until they went to the "hospital" and got a new one. Only rules - no punching, biting or kicking. Lasted around 3-4 hours and at least one person always ended up going to hospital. Great fun.
posted by dg at 6:32 PM on October 16, 2002


Ah, violent games always were the best.
In middle school, our PE coach invented a form of dodgeball called "Kill Ball." Then some parents complained that it glorified aggression, so he changed the name to "Lovey-Dovey Ball." Still just as ruthless.

A couple years ago I discovered the joys of playing Capture the Flag armed with a bamboo pole. With a six- to eight-foot staff, you can easily block passage-ways and menace people who could otherwise whup you easily, even if they are also so equiped. I'll never forget the look on the face of a male opponent when he realized I was serious about challenging him to a quarter-staff fight to establish whether he could pass. Voice of Experience: Just make sure the pole is green--dry bamboo will splinter on impact, and if it breaks the skin will create irritated blisters. But if you like scar trophies from your games, by all means go ahead.
posted by hippugeek at 7:20 PM on October 16, 2002


Back in the day, Four Square was all the rage. Then there was Super Four Square, which was played with four Four Square courts. What a workout!
posted by DakotaPaul at 8:08 PM on October 16, 2002


Let's not forget the best playground game ever - Tetherball.

I wasted way too much time on that game as a 5th grader.
posted by triggerfinger at 9:00 PM on October 16, 2002


Oooh! Here's the BEST gymnasium game EVER!

Way back before liability became a real big issue, schools used to have dangerous things like trampolines, climbing ropes, and vaulting springboard & horses.

So combine them all, plus a bunch of crashmats and hulahoops, into one humongous, wicked game of tag.

A few people were "it". Everyone else lines up at the far wall. As long as you don't get tagged, nor touch the floor, you're in the game.

Naturally, said game will require flying from the springboard to the horse, leaping from the horse to the trampoline, bounding from the tramp to the ropes, tarzaning to a bench, racing across hoops and mats, flinging oneself onto a bigass crashpad, and doing anything else needed to keep away from the "its" and stay in the game.

Surprising, none of us died. I don't even recall any really badly broken bones or concussions.

These days, schools can't even have a trampoline. Sheesh.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:04 PM on October 16, 2002


Great post Stan Chin. And YHBC, I am in awe of your mastery of all things nyaah.

I don't know anyone who swang in a complete circle over the top of the set, but I did know four boys who ate poisen ivy on a daresies. They were pretty damn sick afterwards.

Gilda Radner used to do a good job of capturing the kid essence with her Judy Miller routine on SNL, jumping around her room in her girl scout uniform. The Loopners also brought back that godawful awkward raging hormone nuggies puberty stage... there was a hilarious episode when Dan Akroyd showed up as a refrigerator repairman with his big ol' butt crack hanging out of his low slung pants, sending Bill Murray and Gilda Radner into a frenzy of sophomoric quips like "that's a dirty crack that ought to be wiped out." OK, you had to be there.

Let's see, dating myself but I am of the Great Green Globs of Greasy Grimey Gopher Guts and Gimp generation.
OK, Stan Chin, I know you are but what am I?
posted by madamjujujive at 10:49 PM on October 16, 2002


When I was a kid, it went like this:

Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
posted by kindall at 10:56 PM on October 16, 2002


We didn't say "No cutsies" when I was a kid...our version was "No cuts, no buts, no coconuts!"

We played lots of freeze tag and TV Tag in the Chicago suburbs...that, along with Ghost in the Graveyard, was our neighborhood group of games.

British Bulldog! I almost forgot about that one. Used to play that a lot too.

Anyone remember playing Heads Up, Seven Up? It was a classroom game...we played it a lot during the winter, when we had indoor recess.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:26 PM on October 16, 2002


Great post, and thread - even inspired me to take the donation route to finally get to post, rather than waiting 'til tomorrow!

Our local (Anchorage, AK) variant of tag was "lava tag", similar to the gym game five fresh fish posted.

This was always played either on a good-sized piece of playground equipment, or at a playground where you could jump from contraption to contraption without too much danger of spraining something. The ground was the "lava", and only whoever was It could walk on it. Everyone else had to stay on the equipment. If you fell onto the ground, you took over as It, and the previous It joined everyone else on the equipment.

In a well-designed playground, this could be lots of fun. In a poorly-designed playground, it could be even more fun, though for different reasons (more chance of bodily harm, of course!).
posted by djwudi at 11:42 PM on October 16, 2002


Ah, this may be an Australian thing, but does anyone remember "Brandy". It's like 'tag' but with a wet tennis ball. The idea being to 'brand' your victim with a red, tennis ball-shaped welt.

Man, those things smart!
posted by backOfYourMind at 5:36 AM on October 17, 2002


We played Heads Up, Seven Up all the time.

I used to cheat and peek at the shoes of the person who pushed my thumb down.
posted by goddam at 6:07 AM on October 17, 2002


I don't suppose anyone ever played marbles...? There must have been dozens of variations of the game, from something kind of like boccé, to the one where you'd have to knock them out of a circle, to little carnival-like contraptions where you had to get the marble through a door or cup or somesuch.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:20 AM on October 17, 2002


When I was a kid, it went like this:

Na na na na na na
Na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na


Really? It didn't go like this:

Na
Na na na Na
Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na
Na Na Na Na
?
("land of a thousand dances", that is)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:32 AM on October 17, 2002


Hey hey hey, goodbye.
or
Hey Jude.

Sorry, couldn't resist.
posted by Stan Chin at 12:59 PM on October 17, 2002


All right, I'm late to this party (dang work deadlines!) but I'll give this a shot:

In 1989, at summer camp, we played a game called Zone Ball. It was supposed to be a non-contact team sport that was being heavly promoted at the time. The inventor had put out a video, rule book, and special ball.

The field we used was half the "regulation" size, so our version wasn't completely non-contact.

Years later, I have been trying to tell people about this game, and no one will believe me. I have found one reference to Zone Ball at Inc magazine's web site.

Anyone else ever hear of Zone Ball, or even play it?
posted by jazon at 2:27 PM on October 17, 2002


We didn't play many of the games other posters have mentioned (and thanks! You. Complete. Me.), but I sure do remember Jumprope for Heart.

Of course, all the kids who either

a) Lacked salemanship to get sponsors
b) Lacked athletic ability to marathon jump rope

instead got play in what I like to call the "Tires Stuck in the Ground" playground. It was just a bunch of randomly placed tractor tires buried in the ground. Which is an amazing irony, because we went to class in portable classrooms, which were basically mobile homes without wheels. I went to school in Alabama kids.
posted by Stan Chin at 2:35 PM on October 17, 2002


.. does anyone remember "Brandy".

Sure do and that was in NZ. We used to play it so that, as soon as the person who was "it" had the ball in their hand, everyone had to freeze and he then threw the ball at his choice of victim and then everyone could take off again until he got the ball. The biggest trick was to pick on one particular person and keep throwing the ball at the same spot with the intention of causing a black, tennis ball-shaped bruise.
posted by dg at 3:07 PM on October 17, 2002


Duck duck goose. Which my second best friend would resist by refusing to run when she got goosed.

Snipe hunting. Good for laughs, but only rarely.

Boy, I've come to this discussion late.
posted by elgoose at 10:42 AM on October 20, 2002


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