My years afford me the superiority to complain at the youth of today being perpetually glued to their games consoles *glances from her pc screen to the gloriously sunny day outside, takes a sip of her latte, and continues*. I was (and still am for that matter) an avid bookworm, but on the occasions I could be pried away from a book I was invariably playing outside, and break times at middle school held any number of fondly remembered games in store.
How I loved Elastics! And such cheap entertainment! A huge loop of elastic was stretched around the ankles of two girls standing a couple of metres apart, and you would leap and land with your feet in certain positions depending on the refrain in question. The only one I can recall is “England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, inside, outside, inside, on”. If you successfully completed it, you proceded to “Shinsies” where the elastic was round the girls’ shins, then kneesies, thighsies, hipsies, and then waistsies, which of course was completely impossible. I loved elastics so much I would play it even if home alone by utlising kitchen stools as the elastic holders.
My friend Sarah and I could keep rallies going for aaages out in the street opposite our houses. We became so adept that we could shift to the pavement whilst a car went past, and then back into the street again with the rally still going all the while. Unfortunately, with all my practice having been in the street it all fell apart for me when I went on a court and had to hit over a net. I had always hit with an open racket face, which is fine when your objective is a few metres in front and you’re patting the ball back and forth. When you’re attempting to blast the ball to the other end of a court it has rather an unfortunate into-orbit effect which made me highly unpopular with the P.E. teacher.
A variation of the game It, or Tag, but once caught you stand still on that spot, hold your hands in the shape of a candle flame over your head, and gradually sink towards the floor like a candle melting. If noone rescues you before you melt to the ground you become “It”. For some reason it never seemed to occur to It to stand guard until a candle melted so rescue was always assured, and in any case you wouldn’t believe how slowly candles melt sometimes!
Another variation of the game It. Two large painted circles on the playground served as the two bases, and It would stand in between them and call out the name of their intended victim. The victim could either challenge and try to get safely to the other base without being caught, or would call “Bulldog” and everyone would pile across to the other base, with It frantically trying to grab any passing body in the ensuing mayhem.
A game of the same genre as elastics, skipping was extremely popular at middle school. Not being fond of seeing a piece of taut rope whistling towards my eyes, I was one of the wusses that couldn’t seem to jump in, but could happily run out. Whilst the players were invariably kind enough to stop the rope to allow me to get in and start, it interrupted the flow somewhat, and I would generally offer to be one of the rope swingers instead. Double dutch skipping (2 ropes simultaneously) was completely beyond me!