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11 reasons schoolyard games were the best fun you ever had

Red Rover, Red Rover, let Enda come over!

RED ROVER, KISS Chasing and Tip the Can… do these names ring some bells?

If you went to school in Ireland at some stage over the past few decades, chances are you played some or all of these games in the playground.

Here are some reasons why they really were the best days of your life…

1. Picking teams

Eeeny meeny miney moe….
One potato, two potato, three potato…

Choosing teams and who was “it” was a game in itself.

Minus Minus

2. Red Rover

Players formed two lines, linking hands and facing each other, with one team calling a member of the other team “over”.

Red Rover, Red Rover let Patrick come over.

Patrick would belt across the yard, hell for leather, determined to break the other team’s links.

If he succeeded he returned triumphant, bringing another team member with him.

If he failed, he was absorbed into the opposing team.

Strength, speed, fearlessness and the threat of broken limbs meant that Red Rover was a king among yard games.

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3. Elastics

Elastics was a game that could be hindered by lack of resources.

It required an enormous elastic band which was placed around the ankles of two “anchor” players.

The band could be fashioned from elastic thread, smaller elastic bands tied together or in times of great need, pairs of tights robbed from your mother.

The owner of the “elastic” was someone to be revered and respected, lest they refuse to bring it into school the next day.

The dominant rhyme for the game went:

England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales… inside, outside, inside, scales.

As each player successfully jumped between and onto the elastics, they were risen from ankle to calf to knee, and to thigh height for the most skilled of players.

The scarcity of the elastics coupled with the difficulty rating made this game a formidable joy.

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4. Tip the Can

The one poor unfortunate chosen to be “it” was tasked with guarding the “can” (bin, gate pillar, jumper etc) while everyone else legged it off to hide.

After a spell of counting “it” went on the hunt for those hiding, all the while being mindful of the can. Anyone caught was sent to “jail”.

If someone managed to dart up and tip the can, their jailed comrades were freed.

The adrenalin rush associated with getting close enough to the can to tip it was second to none.

5. Chasing

This could take many forms; standard chasing, link chasing, blindfold chasing… and the most intriguing of them all, kiss chasing.

Laughingsquid Laughingsquid

6. Bulldog

Red Rover is said to be a descendant of Bulldog (sometimes called British Bulldog), which consists of one person being “it” while everyone else stampedes passed them.

If “it” manages to catch someone, then they become “it”.

Treacherous and at times life-threatening, Bulldog was still one of the best games in the yard (until a teacher stepped in and made you stop of course)

99%: Meh 99%: Meh

7. Stuck in the mud

A classic example of sticking it to the man, Stuck in the Mud involved one person being “it” and chasing the rest of the group.

When one person was caught they were forced to stand with their arms outstretched until one of their free brethren set them loose by running under their arms or crawling through their legs.

Take that, “it”!

8. Rounders

Almost guaranteed to end in a fight, rounders is still a staple of sports days and school yards.

Rows about whether the ball was in out of bounds, accidentally maiming someone when you flung the racquet away, and insufferable celebrating if you got a home run were all part and parcel of the game.

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9. Skipping

A skill which, over time, could be honed and perfected to near-Olympian levels.

Extra points if you could skip with a group, double dutch, or run into the rope blind.

As with elastics, a long length of good, heavy rope could be difficult to come by, and the owner of said rope was a prince among men.

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10. Duck Duck Goose

Sitting in a circle on the ground, you waited with bated breath to see if you would be the chosen one and “it” made their way around, saying “duck, duck, duck..” with every tap* of a head.

On “GOOSE” the chosen one would leap up and run around the circle, trying to make it back to their spot before “it”.

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(*Let’s be honest, it was more of a wallop than a tap)

11. They’ve banned most of them

The main reason most of these games were the best fun you ever had is that many of them are now banned in yards up and down the country.

duncan duncan

So you know they must have been good.

Now, anyone for a quick spot of What’s the Time Mr Wolf?..

Read: Are there some things you are never too old for

Read: 15 things that everyone did in primary school>

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