The Game (Part I)

The Game – pt I 

random memory: I remember when I was a kid, in 5th or 6th (maybe) grade at Mitchell elementary in Phoenix, recess was a great adventure. You see, I was a bit of a tomboy. This meant that while all the other girls were busy giggling and gossiping I was running with the boys. Literally. We had this elaborate (so-seeming) Game set up that consisted of one group of Monsters (i.e. “bad guys”) and one group of Hero’s (i.e. “good guys”). As soon as recess began we would split up into the two groups, in a process that, unlike the painstaking Sports team-choosing techniques, was based on “I’m a Monster” “O.k.” “I’m a Hero” “O.k.”. ..and we always split up with more or less a good number on each side. About 10-15 of us would be playing, and there needed to be at least 3 or 4 Hero’s…the rest could be Monsters. Actually, though, I usually ended up being a “Hero” because they all said I was so good at catching them that I was needed…which was probably true [gloat].
The basics of The Game were this: it was the job of the Monsters to generally be bad and taunt us (the Hero’s), throw China Berries at us, whatever, and then take off running. Our job, was to catch them. Once we had caught and tackled them down, we had to escort them across the field to the baseball-diamond dugout [which was a fenced-in area] and throw them in the “Cage” [alternately called the “Jail”], and keep them there. Sometime posting a guard, but often forgetting that part. So, of course, once the Hero was far enough away, off the Monster would go running and yelling again and the whole process of trying to catch that one particular Monster started all over.
Though this may all seem so simple, it was quite some organizational task most adults couldn’t deal with. A large amount of co-operation was required on the part of the Hero’s in order to get anything done. You see, the Hero’s would frequently group together in packs of 2 or 3(like a posse) to catch One Monster. . .often with an elaborate attack plan. Then one would be sent escorting It back across the field to the Cage, sometimes changing-off escorts halfway if another exhausted ally came up to help…and off the first escort would go again to join the other 2, or some other group of Hero’s, in the chase. There were constant alliances forming, or breaking away independently to track One Particular Adversary who had perhaps escaped The Cage they themselves had put them in. Ooo…we were mortal enemies on the field…or great allies the next recess.
Also, sometimes some guys who weren’t originally playing would join-in suddenly and come running to the rescue of one lone Hero…charging in from other directions on the Monster. But occasionally that would work the other way, to. Generally Monsters didn’t gang together, but every so often they’d surprise a hapless Hero. I remember one day I was bookin’ after Ralph, the most menacing-seeming and badest-seeming Monster of them all, and then suddenly two others came rushing in from the sides at me. Ralph apparently saw it coming (he being in the front), and instantly reversed direction (he was good at that)…I skid in my tracks so hard I fell down backwards for a moment (it was muddy, = I was muddy), then scrambled in reverse so frantically I must’ve looked like Shaggy or Scooby-Doo! And if the Monsters happened to take a Hero prisoner, they’d toss them in the other dugout…and this was a terrible disgrace for the Hero. After all, they should be out there doing good! And for some reason the Monsters were always better at posting guard [strange, since our groups teamed off more or less randomly]. I once made a glorious escape by climbing up over the top of the dugout (which was very high! But we took this game very seriously) because I knew the kid guarding me couldn’t climb a fence as fast as I could [his feet were too big]. ….

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