To set the scene, we used this playground from first to third grade. In fourth grade, the girls continued to use this playground and the boys were moved to a bigger playground. So the girls always used this playground from first to eighth grade, but the boys were moved to a different, bigger playground.
That's weird in itself. It's the way things were always done as far as I'm aware. Wasn't a new policy. So the girls had to stay on this small playground with the younger kids (1st through 4th grade) but the boys were moved. So...the smaller playground was more crowded because it was all 1st through 3rd graders and the 4th through 8th grade girls on there.
Girls played games that didn't require as much room, I guess. Hopscotch and whatnot as opposed to American football or whatever. But still. Clear inequality.
And why separate the girls from the boys in the fourth grade? Is that the age when boys become sexual predators? Would they bully the younger children?
Even if these things were to happen, that's what they had playground monitors for. Although, here's a story on that.
I prided myself on never "telling on" anyway. I went to the probably sixth grade or so without reporting on a single person.
But at recess, there was an older boy who kept bothering me. I don't remember what he was doing. But it must have been big because I broke my oath and got up the courage to report him to the principal (who was the playground monitor). The pricipal didn't care in the least. He said something like, "Yeah, boys will do that." I didn't understand this answer so repeated what this guy was doing and he repeated this bizarre response. What a total penis.
So yeah the playgrounds weren't big enough for all grades to use at the same time. So a split had to occur. But why not move all the kids, both genders, in the sixth grade or so to the bigger playground? I don't know. Maybe there's a good reason. But maybe if they did that, everybody would be better behaved. Social skills would improve.
As it was, it demeans both genders. It says that girls don't deserve more space and they're natural carers to the younger children. It also says that boys are violent sexual deviants.
There were a couple of days in the fifth grade where the girls used the boys' playground. It was a big event. They joined in on a game of dodgeball. The girls just ran away and screamed every time the ball was getting thrown at them. But maybe things would have improved. Could have also had co-ed teams.
But yeah...stories about that small playground. Oh, we played "mercy". This was one of the few games that I participated in because I excelled. I'm double jointed (a misnomber because I don't actually have more joints than anyone else, I'm just flexible because the tendons are weak) so did well at this game. It's basically like a wrestling test of strength. You grab your opponent's hands, lock up ala wrestling, and then try to manipulate his arms to a painful position forcing him to say "mercy" when he can no longer take the pain, at which point you release the grip.
I never lost because you twist my arms or fingers or anything and it's just not possible to get into a position where it hurts. Not that I ever won either because I wasn't strong enough. But I was like 0-0-100 in my career.
But one day, this dumb kid challenged me to a game and when he saw that he couldn't win, he started slamming me against a chain link fence and stuff like this. It's not how the game is played and I made my objection known. He eventually stopped and I was talking to a friend who agreed that this is well outside of the rules and my unbeaten streak continues.
That violent sore loser later joined the military and is in the Chicago police now, I think.
What else? Oh, there was a game like tag, I guess, where if you were caught, you had to be taken to a corner, brainwashed, and then you'd be a part of the capturing team. We didn't play is much, that I can recall. Maybe just the once. But I was playing.
I managed to elude capture until the very end of recess. Then I was captured and I remember going to that corner and really struggling and carrying on while the brainwashing was going on and then the bell rang. It must have been slightly traumatic because here I am 30 years later recalling it. Mostly, I was disappointed that I was couldn't elude capture for just 30 more seconds. I was only caught at the very end of recess.
I say that I never played any games but the more that I think of it, I guess I did. I had that soccer story that I told before about getting the last laugh. So I must have played soccer at least once. And I played tag. Tag isn't a problem. I was a reasonable runner. But generally no ball games. I don't think I've touched an American football in my life but it was played regularly at recess. Basketball was also played on the big playground after hoops were installed. Don't remember playing that. I might have. I played once with my neighbour after school but I don't know why.
What else was played? That might be it.
We played manhunt a lot. This is like tag but there's a jail and you can rescue your captured teammates. I always played this if there was a game going on. A playground really isn't conducive to this game because you're supposed to hide. So it's best played at night with a large group of people and hiding around your neighbourhood. Obviously, you set the boundaries beforehand otherwise you'd be able to run six streets over and hide at McDonalds.
But we played a modified version at recess where there was "glue" (or whatever it's called...a safe spot) and jail. People would run away from glue just for the thril and eventually get caught and put and jail. Then others would have to run and try to free their captured comrades by touching them. There was strategy involved, I guess. Should we all run at once or go one at a time? I guess running all at once is the sensible strategy but we always went one at a time. If that person distracted a few people, maybe somebody else would take off.
I always did well because people rarely realised that I was playing. So I'd wander off glue and look like a lonely kid watching some other group of kids throwing the football around. Then I'd casually walk over to jail. People playing the game might look at me and I'd look at them but they just assumed that I wasn't playing. Then I'd free everyone and the other team would throw a fit. "Too bad. Peter was playing. He's on our team". Then the other team would start capturing people who weren't even playing just to make sure. Wouldn't take them to jail but they'd grab them and say, "Youre caught" to some confused kid playing football. Not sure if that actually counts as being caught.
There was one big kid who always cheated. You'd need like six people to catch him because he'd fight his way out. Once both hands are on you, you're pretty much supposed to be caught. But this guy would struggle and make it almost a tackle game. So everyone wanted him on their team but he was just a cheating shit.
The best game of manhunt was at a party for our basketball team in the seventh or eigth grade. It was at night, we were in the school gymnasium, and we turned the lights off. There were a few places to hide. The rafters, locker rooms, bathrooms, whatever. Again, I just casually walked to the jail after it was getting full up. They knew I was playing but they must have assumed that I was already caught because why would I just walk up to the jail? Maybe they thought I was on their team. But then I freed everyone.
But there was one person who stayed in jail and hid under a desk. The jail was an office. So the jail started getting full up again. I was in jail legitimately caught. Then I see the kid come out from under the desk and motion for me to come over. He freed me and then I freed everyone else and we ran out.
Naturally, the other team raged. But an ambassador was sent over to explain what happened. So thereafter, the jailer would periodically grab the prisoners and say "you're caught" just to make sure that everyone in there is actually caught.
It's a bit stupid that you can be in jail but "free" so able to free others. If you're in jail, you're in jail. You should be caught. But such are the rules of mahunt.
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