Friday, July 14, 2006

EncylopediaJane: Hopscotch!

I have this running list of Things I Want To Know About. Items include such fascinating topics as: Vietnamese mythology; carborators; geography of Languedoc; Tazmanian devils; DIY cheesemaking; and freak show circuits of the 20s.

When I was working as a temp and had oddly long hours of idlenss in front of a computer, I'd research these topics when I had a chance and tell my then boyfriend (now husband) what I'd learned.

Since he's not really interested in, say, the mating habits of ants, and lost incentive to fake it after I Said Yes & Went Through With The Wedding, I've decided to post my findings here. Every Friday. We'll call it a feature. Hell, maybe even a Column.

The first item on the list is: hopscotch. What is it? How did it start? Is it an American phenomenon?

This is what I've unearthed. Keep in mind this is all based on internet research and may in fact be completely false. But still makes a good albeit geeky cocktail party ice-breaker and/or a reasonable sounding lie to tell your kids so they'lll think they've got the Smartest Parents On The Planet. At the very least it'll up your chances of winning your next game of Trivial Pursuit.

So. Hopscotch.

Hopschotch began as a training exercise for soldiers of the early Roman Empire stationed in ancient Britain. Courts were 30 to 100 meters long and soldier hopped through the course wearing full military armor.

Today children from all over the world play a version of this strength- and balance-building exercise. The game’s called "Potsie" in England, ‘Marelles’ in France, ‘Templehupfen’ in Germany, ‘Hinkelbaan’ in the Netherlands, ‘Ekaria Dukaria’ in India, ‘Pico’ in Vietnam and ‘Rayuela’ in Argentina.

Court layouts and game rules vary slightly, but the principles remain the same. All you need is chalk and a pebble or piece of wood.

You can read here about how kids in Colombia and Indonesia play the game.


Anonymous colleen said...

I used to play, but sadly most Amercian kids are probably playing some sort of version of hopscotch on a game boy.

9:25 AM  

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