Bleacher Bits: Time to get in the game
Long before the word was redefined in the American lexicon, my boyhood friends and I were gamers.
No, we didn't spend inordinate amounts of time sitting in our basements with headsets on while waging battles with zombies or aliens, and even when the "rich kid" among us got an Intellivision console, that was only used when the weather forced us inside.
We were outside and active as much as we could be, learning valuable life skills like conflict resolution from playing most of our games on sandlots without game officials. We also learned things like how much it hurt to get tackled on frozen Iowa ground when playing no-pad tackle football in January.
But even when it got too cold to play hockey at the neighborhood park where they purposely froze the baseball field each winter, the games went on.
We made due with little equipment and big imaginations.
My older brother and I came up with a game I would later play with the rest of the neighborhood kids called "rug football." For some obvious reasons, it was a game we never played when parents were around.
Using a small plastic football like those sometimes tossed into the bleachers with school logos on them, we'd move as much furniture out of the way as possible, get down on our hands and knees and go at it. The offense had four tries to advance the ball to the wall of the living room by "running" on their knees, while the defense also played on its knees and tried to wrestle the ball carrier down.
We also designed a type of baseball game where heated wars were fought in my friend's living room. Again, there were no parents present, but that was because both of them had to work.
This game featured a Nerf ball, a youth-sized wood baseball bat, and pre-determined lines on the wall that constituted extra-base hits. If the ball landed behind and couch and inside the floor-to-ceiling lamp, that was a home run.
We even had a version of hockey we played in the basement with a tennis ball and regulation hockey sticks, but only "wrist shots" were allowed. The one and only time this rule was broken my friend fired off a slapshot, with the tennis ball shattering the glass on the front of an old floor-standing Philco radio.
Yes, things got broken and many of the games were ill-advised, but we were kids — doing the dumb things that kids do.
We weren't content to sit and play the games on a television screen, we had energy and wanted to get into the games.
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or firstname.lastname@example.org.