Red Rover Is A Horrible Game

Written by  //  February 15, 2011  //  MEMORIES  //  No comments

Shadows of children holding hands in a line

Red Rover is a game in which two lines of children stand at either end of a yard and clasp hands with outstretched arms, making two opposing chains. The object of the game is to individually run across the gap at lightning speeds and bust through the opposing team’s hands with brute force.

 Red Rover is a horrible game, especially when you’re playing for the first time at age four in the neighbor’s backyard. Your name gets called by the opposing team, in a little chant that makes the whole affair seem jovial and harmless: “Red Rover, Red Rover, send So-and-so right over!!!” You start chugging across the lawn towards a line of friendly looking neighborhood children with their hands tightly clasp between them. About halfway over, at full speed, you realize that in order to have success in the game you’re going to have to plow your little body right into one of those sets of hands and hope that you’ve picked the weakest link in the chain. In the most ideal set of circumstances, the resistance of the children’s grasp would be futile and break underneath the pressure of your tremendous speed. At four, however, the game is more akin to being voluntarily and repeatedly clotheslined: the impact feels more like a train wreck than a backyard pastime.

 Red Rover is a horrible game.

 At age ten, things are no better, especially when the neighborhood children include 200lb Polynesians. You see, Polynesians are naturally selected to have extremely dense body tissue, a defense against island life that often includes extended periods of famine following the devastation of the occasional hurricane. They naturally store body fat like it’s going out of style and have done so for generations. You see, all the skinny folk got wiped out hundreds of years ago by some hurricane and didn’t pass on a single gene. Modern Polynesians, even the slim ones, are thick.

 Back to Red Rover. At age ten, the whole thing starts out the same: jovial and harmless. You might even fool yourself into thinking that you’ll have better success on the defensive side of the game, especially now that you’re older. You might think that… until a 200 lb, 14 year old Polynesian is barreling right at you at full speed.

 Rather quickly, common sense (and your sympathetic nervous system) kick right in. Most unfortunately, however, even if your first (and correct) instinct is to simply let go of your partner’s hand underneath the pressure of the assault, your partner might not have the same idea (especially if he, himself, is also a 200 lb. Polynesian, with an especially tight grip). The laws of physics amazingly dictate that, even though the force of the onslaught was moving past you, your body will actually be rocketed around to slam into the back side of the runner. The laws of physics are occasionally rather injurious and insulting and, sometimes, so is the back side of a Polynesian runner.

 If you’re still conscious at this point, a cool move is to simply act like you’re all of a sudden bored of the game for no apparent reason at all, at which point you can mosey your little self on home for a lie down (if you can still mosey).

 Red Rover is a horrible game.

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