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Outdoor Games Only An '80s Kid Would Understand

Updated on June 15, 2013

80's - An Era Compelled To Create Warrior Children!


Recess Time: A Time of Battle!

Recess at school during the 1980s was not only a time to get some fresh air outside, it often signalled a time when groups of children would engage in activities of pleasure, strategy and mostly, bragging rights until lunch or the next recess periods.

Common schoolyard games that took place in the 1980s include:

1. "Red Rover"

Game Format: Two lines of four or five children holding hands were formed to create an unbreakable link. Standing in front of each other, each line would use its turn to challenge a member of the opposing team to try to break the human link created by the other team.

If the opposing team failed to break through the human linkage, the loser would join the existing linkage. Likewise, if the opposing team member was successful in breaking through, he / she could rejoin his/her original group.

Object of the Game: Try to stop the opposing team from breaking through your team's human linkage forcing the opposing team to lose its players one player at a time.

Reality of the Game: If you hurled yourself too hard into an opposing player and unhinged the human linkage, injuries would prevail and sometimes the game would just stop as quickly as it began.

Popular Trait of the Game: You always knew when your peers were playing this game because you heard the following chant: "Red rover, red rover, we call (person's name) over!"

2. "Duck, Duck, Goose!"

Game Format: Everyone sat down on the floor (preferably on the grass if it wasn't already dead from having so many people run atop of it!) in a circle. A person was assigned to walk outside of the circle, patting peers on the head. If you were patted on the head and heard the term, "Goose!", it would be time to stand up and outrun the person who originally patted you on the head before this person sat in your seat making you the new "Duck" and them the "Goose".

Object of the Game: If you were chosen as the goose, you had to get up in time to pat the duck to secure your seat in the circle. If you were successful, the duck would have to continue the search for a new goose. If you were the loser, well, it was now time for you to become the duck trying to pick out your goose.

Reality of the Game: The game was purely about strategy. If you were chosen as the duck, you had to visualize the amount of potential time it would take to reclaim the position of your intended goose.

Strategically speaking, it was better to chose someone who wasn't quick enough so you had time to outrun and outplay them by stealing their seat in the circle.

3. Soccer Baseball

Game Format: Two teams, playing at a basebal diamond, would oppose each other trying to strike he other team out. The rules and format were similar to baseball. The only exception was you didn't use a bat; the game was played with a soccer ball instead. The pitcher of the game was replaced by someone who would thrown a red or white synthetic ball towards you in an effort to strike you out; ideally, the kicker would end up bunting the ball or keep it low enough to "strike out".

Object of the Game: While up at home plate, you had to ensure you kicked the upcoming ball quick and hard enough it would go flying all the way outside the baseball diamond you were set up at. If you didn't have a strong team, you would risk losing every time you went to bat.

Reality of the Game: This game was most successfully played during gym class because the students assigned to each team would be balanced in terms of strength and ability.

If the game was played during a recess period, teams would be unfairly made with the stronger players banding together against weaker ones.

Also, as baseball pitches were rarely painted properly if at all, teams would have to improvise in pretending to play at a baseball pitch using stones, jackets, sweaters or even twigs as various plates (i.e. homeplate would be where the "x" was drawn in the sand).

Did You Play These Games?

Did You Play These Games At School?

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