Does anybody play, anymore?
They were everywhere when I was a child.
In fact, I was the champion of the jacks tournament in my fourth grade class.
I likely owe this feat to not being able to run at P.E. or recess because it triggered my asthma in those pre-inhaler days. Meaning that my mother would have to walk to the school (how many blocks? Six? Eight?) to bring me a dose of liquid Benadryl because my dad was at work and she didn’t drive. The Benadryl never helped, anyway. I’d just wheeze until the wheezing quit.
But jacks, you could play by yourself, which I did. A lot. I practiced. Because jacks competitions were SERIOUS.
I wanted to play before my hands were big enough to hold them all. I watched older kids in the neighborhood and studied the moves.
Toss the jacks wide for onesies, twosies, and threesies, on up to fivesies or so.
Be careful around the sevensies to tensies; you have to be able to sweep them up in time.
If you touch a jack when you’re not supposed to, or if you drop one, you lose your turn and maybe the whole game.
Double bounce makes this so much easier.
No bounce, so much harder.
Speaking of which: Get rid of that pink rubber ball, or worse, the spongy plastic-coated one that cracks. Get a Super Ball, translucent with glitter flecks, or one that looks like it has a long squirt of rainbow toothpaste snaked inside. These things BOUNCE.
And oh, all those fun variations of the game… Cherry Picker, Pigs in a Blanket, Around the World…I knew them all, spent hours and hours immersed in finding a way to be a little faster, a little more artful, a little more flexible with the wrist and arm. There’s a symmetry and grace to jacks, there is.
Plus they’re really fun to spin like tiny tops.
Which my granddaughter loves to do.
That’s right, Child. Keep spinning and spinning, while we wait for your little hands to grow…
The annual Slice of Life Story Challenge with Two Writing Teachers is underway, meaning that I am posting every day in the month of March. This marks my fifth consecutive year and I’m experimenting with an abecedarian approach: On Day 10, I am writing around a word beginning with letter j. Just think, I might have chosen ‘jump’…I could have included a clip to the Van Halen song while revisiting my playground games of jump rope…but I can’t remember all the chants.