Games / Activities from my Childhood
By Jeff Salter
I interpreted this topic to be about the games we played as kids, whether we enjoyed them back then, and if we’d still want to play them. Conversely, were there any games we hated?
Sports & Physical Activities
I was hardly ever on an organized team of any sport and the only organized sport in my small community (other than in / at school) was baseball, which I disliked because the ball was too hard. But I enjoyed nearly every other activity with a ball involved. [Note: at the time of my childhood, America had not yet imported soccer … but I would not have enjoyed it anyhow because I like to use my hands a lot.] Football and basketball were my favorites and I was pretty good at both, though I played mostly with friends and neighbors. Co-ed volleyball was a particular favorite!
I also loved running, jumping, climbing, swinging, swimming, boating, hiking, camping, shooting, biking, and skate-scootering.
Of all the physical activities I enjoyed, two stand out: Dodge Ball and Capture the Flag.
Dodge Ball got a bad rap somewhere along the line, probably because of a Ben Stiller movie a few years ago. I loved Dodge Ball and I was very good at it — I had speed, good eyes, great reflexes, and I was a strategic player. Often I was among the few left standing and several times I was the last guy on the court.
Capture The Flag requires a large number of kids, a lot of space, good organization and instruction, and supervision by an impartial referee (to prevent cheating). The concept, if you don’t know, is to break through enemy lines to capture the flag of the other team and return (with their flag) safely to your turf.
While you’re on enemy turf, any contact (i.e., a tag) by the enemy puts you out (or in jail); while you’re on your own turf, any contact with the enemy puts THEM out (or in jail). Rules varied somewhat, but once a player was out, they were usually jailed. Almost everybody else was going for the flag, so I often made it my quest to free my jailed comrades… which you did by racing through enemy territory (without being tagged) and then tagging the jailed comrades, who must make it back (on their own) to safe territory without being tagged again. Some didn’t … and were either re-jailed or called ‘out’.
As in Dodge Ball, I was very good at this activity because I was fast, with quick reflexes, and I employed good strategy.
As some of the Foxes have mentioned, I enjoyed many different board games. No particular favorites, but I less enjoyed the ones which relied solely on luck. You know, spin a dial or roll dice and you go where it says and do what results. I far preferred games which also involved strategy, planning, and even (in a few games) cunning. Stratego and Risk and Clue were among that later category.
I also liked games like Concentration, Password, and other activities which involved the mind.
I’ve always enjoyed card games. I have trouble remembering the rules these days (and even the overall goals, sometimes) but usually I can pick them up rather quickly after I see them in play. Of the card games, I much prefer the ones where you have a partner. It’s fun to learn how a partner plays and then play to that partner’s strengths and strategies.
Once I finally learned (basic) Dominoes, I’ve enjoyed playing it… though it’s been a good while since I have. As a kid I never knew there were rules.
Reading & Writing
Though it does not fit in to the category of games or play, I certainly spent a lot of my childhood reading… and, as I grew older — writing.
Oddly, for someone who has worked with words for most of my life, I do NOT enjoy Scrabble. And, despite its popularity, I don’t enjoy the TV game, Jeopardy.
What games did you enjoy as a kid? Hate as a kid? Still like (or dislike) today?