Posts from 2nd October 2005

Oct 05

The essence of football

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It’s injury time between Heybridge Swifts and AFC Wimbledon and the wombles are 1-0 down. The keeper has the ball and the guy standing near the cameraman in this video captures the essence of football…


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… or “tig” or “tick” or “it” or…

i wz with T in Springfield Park today, and we were watchin all the small people runnin around and dancin and climbin, and fell to talkin abt games we played when small ourselves, and once again i wz stuck by the sheer VARIETY of kinds of “tick” (as we called in Shropshire) that were on offer in my own primary sdchool playground — we wd run out onto the flagstone path that led to the asphalt, and huddle, and one of the options wd be proposed by one of the ALPHA TOTS, and we’d choose by noisy assent (or dissent i guess, though i can’t recall if this ever occurred), and rush away onto the asphalt, which stuck out into the playfields like a kind of jetty (you weren’t allowed on the grass at playtime, or onto the rather pointless strip of gravel along one side of the asphalt) (which pellmell tinies always ended up on when they couldn’t stop quick enough, kicking stones onto the grass). anyway, these many options (as i now remember them) were:

i. TICK (= old-skool tag… the person who wz “on it” chases all; whoever they touch is now “on it” )*
ii. BALL TICK (= see i., except instead of touching you had to throw a tennis ball and hit)**
iii. OFF-GROUND TICK (=see i., except you if you were “offground” — ie feet not touching asphalt — you could not be ticked)***
iv. STATUE TICK (=the person “on it” remained the person on it; anyone touched had to stand like a statue until some NOT on it touched their outstretched hand to free you)
v. TUNNEL TICK**** (=see v, except you stood with yr legs apart and some not on it had to crawl quickly through the, to free you)
vi. CHAIN TICK (= anyone ticked had to link hands with the tagger, and run hand in hand: the chain could ONLY tick w.the two free hands at the end of the chain; if the chain broke, ticking didn’t count)*****
vii. my lovely SHADOW TICK (=see i. but physical touching didn’t count: to tick you had to stamp on the fleeing child’s SHADOW)

iv-vi had a clear end-point (everyone a statue; everyone in the chain); the others usually ended (i suspect) when someone weas hit too hard by z ball and cried, or fell and cut their knee and cried

*was there a variant called LEG TICK, where you could only tag someone on the leg?
**involved a LOT of ball-fetching obv (i think the “not allowed on the grass” wz waived for ball-fetching, provided you ran straight to the ball and back)
***you could only remain off-ground for a count of three (or maybe five)
****to be honest i can’t remember if this is what it wz CALLED
*****as the game progressed the chain became an inexorable line of children sweeping down the playground — the means of escape was to duck down under outstretched linked arms in the middle, or to run at them and break the chain… if it held, then the outer ends would swiftly curl in and tick you

but were there others? and was this diversity of choice normal or unusual?