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By Dan Beard

Dick's Hatband

One of the players consents to act the part of Dick; the others are his band, and since all their hats are used in the game the other boys are called his hat-band. Dick's own hat is placed in front of a row of those of his band, which are ranged in a line parallel to a board-fence or dead wall, at a distance of about a foot from it and a couple of inches or thereabouts from each other.

The game is begun by Dick, who, placing the heel of one foot against the toe of the other, and then the heel of the latter against the toe of the other, alternately, measures off from twelve to fifteen of his foot-lengths directly away from the line of hats. At this distance he marks his taw line. He then measures off five more of his foot-lengths and marks the distance line.

Standing upon the taw line Dick tries to toss a ball into his own hat. If he succeeds in doing this he cries "Even score" which is twenty points, the game being one hundred ; if he fails, the other players shout " Odd," and each gains a point, while Dick gets a " scratch," which is one against him. Whether he wins or loses, however, be puts his hat on his head and throws the ball a second time, trying to make it drop into the last hat in the row on the right. If he fails, the boy to whom the hat belongs, together with all the players but Dick, again shout " odd," and gain a point, Dick losing one, and the said owner of the hat becomes "Dick," while he who was Dick places his hat to the left of the others.

If, however, Dick succeeds in making the ball fall into the hat, he puts it on his head on top of his own, while the owner of the former hat gives a back, as in Leap-frog, at the distance line, and Dick, standing at the base line, tries to leap over him without jolting off either one or both the hats from his head. Should he do this he shouts " Even score " and gets twenty more points ; should be fail, the band shout " Odd," and get a point apiece, while Dick has a scratch and loses one, and becomes one of the band, the owner of the extra hat becoming Dick. If, however, Dick gets his " even score," he tries to make the ball rebound into the next hat on the right from the one in which the ball was last, and, succeeding, puts this hat on his head in addition to the two already there, and again attempts the same feat with the owner of the third hat he has successfully performed with that of the second.

And thus the game goes on. As Dick's hats increase In number the other boys try to it disconcert him by shouting "Wig, wag! wig, wag! Dick with a hat-band!" Dick cannot very well carry more than half a dozen hats on his head, and consequently the game is generally limited to that number of players, the odd number, five, being the band, and the extra one Dick.

Much sport may be had at this game. It is simple and yet requires considerable skill and activity to play it well. An ordinary tennis ball, or, better still, a child's rubber ball, is the best one to use. The score may be kept by marking it down on the wall or fence with a bit of chalk, or each player may have a shallow hole in the ground in which a bit of stick is put for a point and a stone for a scratch.







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Last modified: October 15, 2016.