Saturday, May 14, 2011

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Games children play

Road photo

I had my childhood at a time when kids actually played outside the house, in the streets, with real games—not with some digital handheld device.  Although I was a big, sore loser, I enjoyed the experience. (These days, children are so fond of being indoors, playing on their own, such that they've turned out to be fat, sunshine-deprived, socially inept creatures.)

If we weren't playing, we'd be climbing walls, exploring houses, and sharing horror stories, only to be called back home when it got dark.

I learned a lot about humanity during those humid afternoons: the importance of teamwork, the value of defeat, the joy of victory, and the inferiority of my athletic abilities.

I learned that one can win a game by suspicious means, but the winning doesn't feel as fulfilling as when a game is played fairly.

I also learned that some kids play better than others, and hard as that was to swallow, I had to contend with that fact.

I learned—but I have not verified this, to this day—that once upon a time, in the brick red house we believed was haunted, a pregnant woman was stabbed to death, and she'd often show herself as a white ghost at night. (Such house is now occupied by a doctor's family, but it still gives me the creeps whenever I pass by it.)

My favorite game was patintero, described as a "children's game usually played on empty streets, schoolyards and beaches. It involes a grid drawn on the ground where one team will try to pass through while the opposing team tries to catch them without leaving the grid's lines at all times." We also played taguan, a Filipino version of hide-and-seek, and pitiw which involved hitting two sticks, one longer than the other. (I'm afraid I don't know the Tagalog equivalent of this last one.)

I met some of my neighbors at a recent dinner at Auntie Norma's house. Some of my peers are studying in Manila. A few are already working. The older ones have families of their own. After the usual pleasantries, I realized that we were all so grown up, but that we haven't really changed. We reminisced the old games we played, the huge santol tree where the helpers gossiped around, the ferocious dogs, the fun stuff we did.

What games did you play when you were young(er)? Do share.

8 comments:

  1. hey kuya lance!

    I used to play those games too. Together with tin-tin bika, slipper game and many more. hahaha

    and btw, ang tagalog sang pitiw kay syatong. :)

    Godbless.

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  2. If I'm not mistaken, we call the game involving 2 sticks "chato." That was one of my favourite outdoor games, along of course with patintero.

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  3. Maya, yes! Tin-tin bika! Haha. Kasadya gid. Syatong? Chato? They sound alike, so they're probably one and the same.

    Abby, I heard you were quite the athlete when you were young.

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  4. Hahaha, no! :D The most athletic thing I had been involved in as a kid was informal volleyball training - and I was mostly awful at it! :D

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  5. brings me back to memory lane, lansoy..remember when lala would bring her own sleepers and some gaters? and we would play outside ESF building during our free times in the afternoon until it's dark..really miss those days!

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  6. I used to play jackstones, the 'classic' one and the chinese version, a lot when I was a kid. We even had tournaments before the flag ceremony :) Another favorite past time was garter i.e. 10-20, Mother-mother, and of course, Dr. Quack-quack. Those were the days I would come to class with my sweaty bangs and sticky hands :D

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  7. dr quack quack. ah yes. the days when our joints were still the most flexible things on earth, and our epiphyseal plates were not ossified yet. :))

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  8. I'm one of the neighbors! yes! haha. Although daw wala na ko kaayo madumduman sa mga hampang except sa pagtawag sa akon nga giting. haha :))

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