Game of the Week: A Discourse on the Importance of Being "It"

Since ancient times, innumerable game instructions have begun with “A player is chosen to be It . . .” But in our modern age, It has become the victim of tiresomely well-intentioned papers relating the psychological traumas of children who were designated as It in children’s games.

This seems entirely wrong-headed. If a game is being played in the proper spirit, there is a certain glee in being It. In fact, adult observers must often have to make sure that no attention-hungry child is willfully being It time and again. Being It should be considered a prized honor, and anyone who has worked with kids is familiar with the calls of “I want to be It!” “No, it’s my turn to be It! You were It last time!”

Now, enjoy being "It" as you play....BACON!


7-plus players

Playground, gymnasium

Two parallel lines are drawn on the ground anywhere from thirty to fifty feet apart. All of the players except one (who will be It) stand beyond one of these lines. In the middle territory between the lines is where It takes his place.

At some point, Player It will cry “Ham, ham, chicken, ham, BACON!” At the word “bacon,” the other players must all rush across to the opposite line, being chased by the center player, who tags any that he can. Any player who is tagged joins him from then on in chasing the others.

The trick is that the center player, instead of saying “Ham, ham, chicken, ham, BACON,” may trick or tantalize the runners by crying out “Ham, ham, chicken, ham, BOOGER,” or “Ham, ham, chicken, ham, BILATERAL SYMMETRY,” or anything else that he chooses. Any player who starts to run upon such a false alarm is considered a captive and must also join any players in the center.

Another way of giving a false alarm is for any one of the center players except the original It to say, “Ham, ham, chicken, ham, BACON!”. Any runner starting in response to such a false signal also becomes captive and must join the players in the center.

The game ends when everyone is caught. The first player who was caught is the new center player, or It, for the next game.

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