Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Stick Peg

Might as well put this one down before it fades away ...

The players in stick peg all had sharpened rods about two feet long, usually old boom or mop handles. There was no limit to the number of players, but generally, three or four were the norm, and you only needed two.

How it worked was, one player lost the draw and went first. He threw his stick point down, hard, and tried to stick it as close to straight up as possible, to forestall the intent of the second player.

The goal of the second player was twofold: He tried to hit the first player's stick hard enough with his thrown stick to knock it down, while at the same time, making sure his dug into the ground deep enough to stay upright. If he didn't do both, it was the third player's turn.

If the second guy did unearth the first guy's stick and managed to stick his up, too -- not too hard in St. Augustine grass and damp alluvial soil, with a little practice -- he he got to pick up the first guy's stick and hammer it like a baseball player trying to knock one out of the part.

The first guy hauled ass to retrieve his batted-away stick. If he got to it and managed to stick it up in the ground before the hitter could stick his pointy stick up three times, he stayed in the game. If not, he was out.

If it stuck up after the flight on its own, he got a free pass.

If both sticks fell over, the third player got his choice of which one to throw at, and all he had to do was tap one that was down and stick his own up, whereupon he got to bat the stick out for the three-versus-one count.

A good and lucky throw, you could knock down two or three sticks, whack 'em all, and get three guys out at once, if you were fast enough.

It was a good game to learn angles -- how to cut the line to knock the other guy's stick down, plus you got to do some sprinting. And aerate the lawn, of course. Not that it was necessary down in the fetid and fecund south. If you went off and forgot your stick was stuck up, it would sprout leaves and roots in a couple days ...

This game was similar to tops, which were of wood, with a steel point. These were thrown, spun, and attacked the same way, with the goal of knocking an opponent's already spinning top out of a chalked ring with your own. If you did, you got to keep the top. If not, he got a shot at yours. Like marbles, it was a gambling game, and mostly, we played for keeps.

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