Childhood games instill good values

By Karl Terry: Freedom New Mexico columnist

Once an innocent way of deciding who went first or who got the last piece of candy, the game “rock, paper, scissors” is now organized into a televised U.S. championship.

Surfing the channels one night last week, there it was on an obscure Fox Sports channel, folks in a Las Vegas bar playing the childhood game. In case you don’t know how, players pump their clinched fist in rhythm three times, “throwing” a symbol on the third representing either rock, paper or scissors.

Rock crushes scissors, paper covers rock and scissors cuts paper, thus determining the winner.

We did the game to determine who would buy the next bottle of pop or who would get the corner piece of cake. These people were vying for a $50,000 cash prize. The tournament was tongue-in-cheek serious business.

Jon “Steelfist” Fotis mounted a comeback after tearing an ACL in early rounds. Sean “Wickedfingers” Sears taunted the crowd and made it to the finals after switching to southpaw halfway through one match. Julie “Bulldog” Crossley was billed as the Sarah Palin of the RSP world.

In the end, Wickedfingers defeated Bulldog, narrowly crushing his opponent’s scissors with an iron-fisted rock.

I remember a variety of ways of picking and choosing we practiced in my youth. One of the oldest was “eeney, meeney, miney, mo” with a tune that went around the circle of fists or shoes until it stopped on one person who would be eliminated or sent to a specific team. Sometimes though we picked team captains this way and then the captains picked their team in rotation. Either way, I was usually last, or close to it.

If we were playing baseball the popular way of determining the home team was to toss a bat in the air and have one of the captains catch it. The other captain placed his hand above the first then vice-versa until one had his hand atop the end of the bat. I got pretty good at catching the top of the bat in the air, a move always viewed as unfair.

There was also the old-fashioned coin toss, still used at the start of every football game. We took tossing coins to other extremes when it came time for someone to by the pop.

Matching for Cokes was most preferred — everyone tossed a coin and covered it with the catch hand on the back of the other hand. Everyone held their hands together as the coins were uncovered. Odd man was out until you got down to three. Then the odd man bought for everyone.

We also pitched pennies for cokes with the persons whose coins landed closest to the wall winning and the worst pitch buying. We also “lagged” at pool to decide the break. This was done with both players banking a ball off the far rail to see who could leave it closest to the near rail.

Lest you begin to think my youth was totally misspent, it was