Kick the Wicket

 

 

 

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By Dan Beard

This is a game of Flushing, Long Island. The boy who is to be "It" is decided upon after the manner in vogue with the boys, and the rest take their numbers according to the order in which they call them. "I choose number one!" shouts one boy. "Two for me!" cries another, and so it goes until all are numbered.

Then "It" places the wicket, which is simply a stick, against a tree. Three other trees are selected for bases. Number One gives the wicket a kick and sends it as far as possible and runs for the first base, while "It " hurriedly chases the wicket and replaces it with all possible speed. As seen as the wicket is in place the runner is supposed to be suddenly stricken with paralysis, or is enchanted, so that be can move neither hand nor foot. If perchance the runner is detected by "It" in lifting a toe, he must take "It's," place.

The enchantment can only be broken by Number Two kicking the wicket. When Number Two has sent the wicket flying he runs for the first base and Number One for the second, provided he has reached the first base before he became enchanted, and both continue to run the bases until the spell is thrown over them by the magic wicket being again replaced against the home-tree by "It."

The object of the players is to run all three bases and home again, and the object of "It" is to prevent them from moving at all. Often it happens that all the boys are bewitched at one time between the first and home base. In this case they must endeavor to steal along until one reaches home without being detected by "It," in which case he kicks the magic wicket, and sets all his comrades in motion again. But this is a very difficult feat to perform, because "It" is lynx-eyed and he will if possible, keep close watch and as soon as he sees a boy move cry,

I saw you stir, 
Yes, sir! 
Don't say nit, 
You're 'It.'

Nevertheless it sometimes happens when the boys are well scattered that little by little they will steal ahead until one can reach the wicket and give it a kick, which he is entitled to do if he touches home base before being detected by "It."

In Brooklyn, when all the players are enchanted between bases, "It" is compelled to kick the wicket himself. This he does reluctantly, making many false passes first in order to deceive the players and cause them to move.

This interesting and strange game is new to the writer, though without doubt it is as old as all the others, and only chance has prevented him from becoming acquainted with it until he took up his residence in the old Quaker village of Flushing. The game savors distinctly of the old times, when people believed in fairies, gnomes, witches, and magic spells.

OHB

 

 

   

 

 


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Peer- Level Topic Links:
Costume Race ] Duck on a Rock ] Hopscotch ] Hunkety ] I Spy ] Jack Candles ] Jack Stones ] Jack's Alive! ] [ Kick the Wicket ] Leap-Frog Race ] Mumbly Peg ] Renegade ] Simon Kenton ] Skittles ] Spirit Tortoise ] Tip-Cat ] The Wheelbarrow Race ] Woodsmen's Tests ]

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Last modified: July 03, 2013.