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When imagination ruled

In an ancient time, the schoolyard was full of collectible card games, contact sport and other imaginative forms of entertainment. But now there are so many more rules over what can and can’t be played. This area of the world isn’t as bad as some but you just don’t see some of the classic fun anymore. And beyond that, there are a number of things we’ve just outgrown, sadly enough.

Running games were always my favourite. Ignoring the multiple variations of tag, what happened to the collision activities? I’m referring to red rover, crack the whip, British bulldog and even duck, duck goose. Things a kid could get hurt in but didn’t care. It was all in good fun. You didn’t play maliciously, the possibility of danger was just there. I mean, we still love dodgeball and those suckers can hurt. All the safety rules seem to have taken the excitement out of it, though every now and then you can still see a few of the classics being played.

It was not always the vicious games on your feet that meant a good time. There are a lot of collectible games. Most notably, you have your card games like Magic: the Gathering. But after it came out in 1993 there was a surge of products hitting the stores. This included a Middle-Earth set, Shadowfist, Wyvern, SimCity, Star Trek, and Star Wars. With more and more anime coming over onto Western television, cards for Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Digimon and more. But the craze seemed to have died out as quickly as it started, leaving only a few major players to survive. You don’t see decks making their way into classes for random trades anymore.

One thing that I truly miss, that came and went within only a couple years time, was Pogs. It combined a sense of luck with a touch of skill and wrapped it up in collectibles. Each disc was unique, a collectible piece of plastic. You would collect them, trade them and play with them. The important piece was the slammer. It was a heavier, thicker pog usually made from metal or rubber. When you wanted to play someone, you could play for keeps. Stack up the pogs face down and take turns throwing your slammer into the pile. When they scattered across the floor, you kept anything that landed face up. The rest got stacked back into a pile for the next player. The official winner had the most pogs at the end and each person kept the pieces they had won permanently.

There are many other games that have survived and some have faded without a trace. But it is the carefree imagination that really sticks with you. Life gets bogged down with work and homework and bills and more. Maybe we could go back and just set those cares aside for a little bit of schoolyard fun.

 

Joel Leckie

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