Tag! You’re It!

An excerpt from Healthful Sports for Boys: The American Boy’s Ultimate Guide to Building Confidence, Strength and Good Moral Character Through Sports, Games, Camping, Boating, Swimming, Cycling, Skating, Sledding, Sleight of Hand Magic and More!, by Alfred Rochefort

.

.

DO YOU KNOW ALL ABOUT

THE GAME OF TAG?

.

The poet Pope says, “The proper study of mankind is man.” If he did not mean this to include boys, then I don’t quite agree with him, for I have found boys and girls, too, be it said, as a rule, far more interesting as objects of study than the average grown-up.
.
I have always liked these stanzas from Hood’s fine poem, “The Dream of Eugene Aram”: “‘Twas in the prime of summer time, An ev’ning calm and cool, When four and twenty happy boys Came bounding out of school; There were some that ran, And some that leapt, Like troutlets in a pool.

“Like sportive deer, they cours’d about,
And shouted as they ran,
Turning to mirth all things of earth,
As only boyhood can.”

.
If the boys had not already decided on a game, it would be safe to wager that the first thing they started off with was the old and ever – popular game of tag.
.
I have seen boys, and girls, too, playing tag among the Indian tribes of Arizona. The young and ever lightly-clad Mexicans delight in it, and the Chinese and Japanese youngsters never grow weary of a game needing so little in the way of equipment, and which is so easily started, but not so easy to give up, when the spirit of the game has taken full possession of the players.
.
Although so simple, there is never monotony in tag. If you don’t like one form you can try another, and there are certainly a lot to choose from. One can have brick, wood, iron, tree or any other kind of object tag, the principle being that so long as the pursued has his hand on the object decided on in advance, he cannot be touched.
.
In what is known as “Cross Tag,” the boy who starts the game tags another, who at once starts in pursuit. Now, if another boy darts across “its” path this second boy becomes the object of pursuit, and so he continues until he has made a capture and is free to join the field.
.

PRISONER’S BASE

.

One of the oldest, and I think the most general and popular of tag games, is called now, as when I was a boy, “Prisoner’s Base.”
.
In this game the two leaders choose sides. This done, two objects – they may be walls, trees or posts that stand some distance opposite each other– are used as goals. Before these goals, the two armies are drawn up in opposing lines. Then the captains, or it may be others, lead off.
.
One of these defies the other to meet him. After this the armies charge, but the purpose of each is to avoid being tagged by the other side, while it tries to tag or touch as many of the opponents as it can.
.
Every boy touched is regarded as a prisoner and must go to the base provided for the purpose, which is usually the goal of the other side, where he must remain till the game ends or he is released.
.
The prisoner is guarded, but if he can escape and reach his own side, without being touched, he is free, or if one of his own side succeeds in touching him, he gains his liberty.
.
When all of one side are prisoners the game is over, and the winners deserve their success, for they have had to fight hard for it.
.

THE WOLF

.
Another variation of tag is called “The Wolf” in some places, and in others, “When do you eat?” But no matter the name, it is good sport.
.
This is how to do it. A good sized piece of paper – any paper that shows a pencil mark will do – is torn into as many bits as there are boys. Each bit is marked with a number, showing some hour of the day. After every player has his marked paper, there must be one piece left. The last piece is marked with a number the same as that on one of those already given out.
.
There are only twelve hour marks on the clock, but if there are more than twelve players, the extras can be given by half hours, like half past one.
.
Now, under one of the hour or duplicate numbers, mark a cross like X. No one but the marker knows the numbers. Each boy, as he draws, looks at his own number, but he must keep it a secret. The numbers must be drawn from a hat, without looking. The undrawn paper belongs to the marker, and he is the boy who holds the hat.
.
The boy who has drawn the paper marked with the X is “it,” and so is regarded as the wolf. He goes off some distance, while the huddled “sheep,” as the other players are called, decide what time of day they shall each represent.
.
When all is ready the wolf calls out in chilling, hungry voice:
.
“I eat no meat but woolly sheep,
My appetite is good; I thirst,
I think, their blood to drink,
If caught within my wood!”
.
On hearing this, the sheep set up cries of fear and run to form a circle about the wolf. If the ring is not complete before he gets through the rhyme, he is free to seize any boy who is not holding the hands, on either side, of two other boys.
.
If the ring is formed and no sheep captured, the sheep circle about the wolf, chanting this song:
.
“Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! with the brown ear,
Tell us what hour you dine
On one of the sheep assembled here!”
.
The wolf selects his own hour. If he answers “One o’clock,” the sheep bearing that number darts out of the ring with the wolf after him. If this sheep circles the ring three times without being caught, he is safe and takes his old place. The same hour cannot be selected again until all the others have been called.
.
When the wolf guesses the number corresponding to his own, he does not have to pursue, for his double becomes the wolf, and he is changed into a sheep.
.
After the game has gone on so far that the number of each is pretty well known, the boys can change numbers without the knowledge of the wolf, and this adds greatly to the sport.
.

BULL IN THE RING

.
Another variation of tag is popularly known as “Bull in the Ring.” The bull or “it” is a position to be sought after in this game. The bull can be selected in any one of the ways I have suggested, or in any other way that may be decided on.
.
When all is ready, the boys form a ring by joining hands, with the bull penned in the center.
.
This done, the bull seizes a pair of the grasped hands, and asks: “What is this lock made of?” One of the boys replies, “Steel.” “Steel is strong. What is this lock made of?” asks the bull, as he grasps another pair of hands. “Bronze,” may be the answer. “And this?” “Copper.” The next reply, “I can break copper!” shouts the bull.
.
He then makes a feeble effort to break through, or it may be that he is doing his best, but he knows he cannot get out in that way. Suddenly he wheels and makes a dash for a part of the ring which he thinks is weakest. If he gets through he dashes away, with the others at his heels, and the first boy that tags him is “it” for the next game.
____________________
An excerpt from Healthful Sports for Boys: The American Boy’s Ultimate Guide to Building Confidence, Strength and Good Moral Character Through Sports, Games, Camping, Boating, Swimming, Cycling, Skating, Sledding, Sleight of Hand Magic and More!, by Alfred Rochefort, which is available in quality hardcover, sturdy trade paperback and convenient .PDF e-book download editions from Better Days Books, starting at just $3.95

Originally published in 1910, Alfred Rochefort’s HEALTHFUL SPORTS FOR BOYS is an optimistic “Can Do!” prescription for the kind of vigorous, competitive, yet thoroughly wholesome boyhood that for more than two centuries has reliably bred great American men of character, courage and good common sense. In our 21st Century, “post-modern” era of video games, virtual reality and “couch potato kids,” Rochefort’s vision of active boys creating fun with their own minds and muscles is a reminder of everything great about boys and about America, and a Clarion Call to a new generation to “get up and get great!” — Before it’s too late!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under antiquarian, books, boy scout, boy scouting, boys, children's games, cub scout activities, cub scout games, cub scouting, cub scouts, family, fun, games, games for children, games for kids, how to, independent scouting, kid's games, kids, kids activities, old books, old days, outdoor fun, outdoor sports, outdoors, parenting, play tag, playground, raising boys, scout, scout movement, scouting, sports, summer fun, summer vacation, tag, traditional scouting, Uncategorized, vintage, virtue

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s