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Only is the object aimed at, the ball should be delivered at an angle of 450, which is the angle at which a missile must be delivered to attain its extrcmest range. To find this angle, stretch your arm straight out from the shoulder, next raise it straight above the head, then let it fall till it is half-way between the two positions: that will be the required angle. It will appear preposterously'high at first, but it is the true angle for the purpose, and experience will soon prove the fact satisfactorily.
THROWING THE HAMMER.
This is a feat only to be attempted by well-grown lads. The hammer may be an ordinary sledge hammer, but there is a shape manufactured expressly for the purpose: a shell or hollow shot affixed to the extremity of a long handle.
The weight is entirely optional, and should be carefully apportioned to the powers of the throwers.
The method of delivering the hammer looks at first sight somewhat eccentric: the thrower, instead of standing still, and delivering from the fulcrum of a firm footing, or taking a step or two forward to gain additional impetus, starts from some little distance behind " the scratch," waltzes slowly round and round, swinging the hammer at the same time in a great circle at the full extent of his arms, and with constantly increasing velocity, and finally delivers it at " the scratch " just as it has attained its greatest momentum.
The rationale of this is, that the real projectile force is derived rather from the impetus already acquired by the missile in its circular swing at the time of delivery, than by any sudden impulse then imparted to it.
Although at first sight this feat would seem to be a mere matter of brute strength, in effect it is really more dependent upon skill and dexterity than many that are apparently more scientific; ccrterisparibus, skill will beat brute force out of the field.
The beginner will at first find no inconsiderable difficulty in governing the direction of the hammer's flight; but this, although of vital importance, is the least difficulty to be overcome.
The real secret of successful throwing lies in the happy timing of foot and hand, so that the body is brought round to the scratch exactly at the most favourable moment, and in the most favourable position to give full effect to the already acquired impetus of the missile, and this can only be done with any certainty by first undergoing a long course of patient practice, Starting always from precisely the same distance behind the scratch, taking precisely the same number of steps, and revolving precisely the same number of times.
HARE AND HOUNDS.
In playing this game one boy (or in a long course two), represents the Hare, and the rest the Hounds. The hares carry with them bags full of paper torn up very small, which they scatter behind them as they run, to represent scent, and by this the hounds trace them up and endeavour to capture them. The hares, of course, endeavour to mislead them by all sorts of doublings and twistings, or by going over difficult country.
The hares are debarred, by the rules of the game, from employing all such artifices as making one or more false starts at any part of the run, and from returning on or crossing their previous track. Should they break either of these rules, or should the "scent"give out, they are considered as caught, and lose the game accordingly. They must, of course, always scatter a sufficient amount of scent to be plainly visible to the hounds. If there be two hares, they must not separate under any circumstances: for all the purposes of the game they are to be considered as strictly only one individual.
The hounds will find a little organization and discipline a wonderful assistance to them in baffling the tricks of the hare. A captain and whipper-in should be chosen, the former to lead and direct, and the latter to bring up the rear. As long as the scent is strong, the whole band will go somewhat in Indian file, merely following their captain ; but when he is at fault he must sound the horn, which he carries ex officio, and call a halt. The whipper-in thereupon takes up his post at the point where the scent is broken, and the others sweep round in a great circle, covering every inch of ground, to discover the lost trail. Sometimes the captain and whipper-in carry white and red flags respectively, and use them to mark the points where the scent is broken.
The hares should not be the swiftest runners, or they would never be caught. Endurance, pluck, and a readiness of invention are the great points in a hare. The more he trusts to his head and the less to his legs, the better the chase. The hares are generally allowed not less than five or more than ten minutes law, according to circumstances. They should take care to survey their ground before they go over it, or they may get themselves into all sorts of difficulties. A pocket compass will be found an invaluable companion both to hares and hounds. From twelve to fourteen miles is a good run ; but some little training and practice are requisite before such a long course can be covered.
At first some considerable difficulty will be experienced in keeping up even a moderate pace; but after a time the pace will come of itself; that is, with practice, and a little care in the article of food—avoidance, for example, of too great indulgence in puffs and tarts, and similar anti-condition comestibles.
Pace is one of the first requisites for a good run, but it should not be carried to extremes: a good slinging trot of from five to six miles an hour over good ground, and something less on bad, is quite enough to try the endurance of the best runners. Above all, too much pace should not be put on at first: if there be any to spare at the finish, put it on by all means, but for the first mile or so steady going should be the order of the day.
If at the end of the day's sport a boy feels himself feverish, knocked up, and unable to eat, he may be sure he is getting harm rather than good, laying up for himself sickness rather than health by his exercise. Either the pace has been too much for him, or he is not in proper condition. In the former case he must restrain his ardour for a time at least, and be content to take a little longer time over the work; if the latter, in nine hundred and ninety-nine cases out of a thousand, it will be from over-indulgence in food; and he must make up his mind either to be a little more temperate, or a little less athletic
Many boys are under the impression that light boots are the best for these long runs; but this is a great mistake: the feet get terribly beaten on hard soil, and in mud or over ploughed fields light boots arc almost worse than none at all. A pair of good solid broad-soled lace boots, with thick worsted socks, are the only wear for the feet. Short six-inch gaiters—unless knickerbockers, which are distinctly preferable to trousers, be worn— will be found a great protection, and will serve to confine the flapping ends of the trousers, and make them play a little looser at the knee, a matter of vast importance in a long distance. One more word of advice. Let no sense of fatigue, however great, prevent your changing boots and socks at leist, directly you get home. You will find it well worth the extra exertion.
Very few preliminary preparations are needed for this game. Two bases or homes must be marked out on the ground, as A b in the accompanying diagram, each large enough to contain half the players; and two similar but smaller bases, called prisons, at some distance off, as at A* and b*: a mark must also be made somewhere about the centre, as C, for "Chivy." These may all be roughly traced out in a very few minutes, accuracy in dimensions and distances not being requisite. The diagram may, however, be taken as a guide to approximate dimensions.
Two captains are chosen, and they choose their respective sides by selecting in turn each a player, until all have been chosen.
Having tossed up for homes and taken their posts, the game begins by one side sending out one of the inferior players to C, who cries " Chivy!" and then makes for home. ,lf one of the opposite side can touch him before he gets home, he has to go to prison; if belonging to A side to A*, if to l! side to n*, until one of his own side can fetch him.
The pursuing player is, of course, not allowed to chase the " chivy " unmolested, one of " chivy's " side being commissioned to pursue and touch him, and this latter becomes in his turn an object of pursuit; and thus the game waxes warm, each player pursuing and being in turn pursued.
A player may only touch that opponent who has left the home before himself, and can of course only be touched by him who has left after him. When a player has achieved a capture, he has the right of returning home unpursued—he cannot be touched until he makes a fresh sally. The same immunity is enjoyed by those bringing home prisoners.
A player once touched gets quickly to his prison, and waits with outstretched arm the advent of some deliverer—one of his own side who can run the gauntlet of the enemy, and reach him untouched. The prisoner is required only to keep a part of his body within the prison, and, granting that, may reach out as far as he can; even with two or three prisoners, all that is required is that the connection with the prison should be touched by one, and the others may form a chain, hand in hand, with as many links as there arc prisoners.
The whole spirit of the game lies in the operations for the relief of prisoners, and it is here that a good captain makes his generalship felt, marking down and cutting off the best of his opponents, until the residue cannot muster even one player capable of eluding the strong body of pursuers ready to be launched after him, and thus must succumb one by one before the superior prowess of their opponents.
In some places a rule prevails that prisoners may only be released in order of their capture; but this, though it is apparently fairer for the worse players, is really a great disadvantage to them, for a good player released out of turn will soon make up for it by releasing several more—far sooner than they would otherwise have a chance of getting out.
A local rule which allows the game to be claimed by either party if they can get into their opponents' home while untenanted, is perhaps not to be deprecated where there are many players on each side; but it undoubtedly cramps the game very much where there are few.
Blackthorn is a very good game, but rather apt to be destructive to the clothes. A base is marked off at cither end of the play-ground, leaving a space in the middle. One of the players volunteers for, or is chosen, " Fox," and takes up his position in the middle between the two bases ; the rest run across from base to base, while he endeavours to catch and hold them. If he can hold one while he can count ten, it is considered a fair catch, and the prisoner becomes fox too, and assists in the capture of more—all of whom, as soon as caught, go to swell the number of foxes. Thus it will be seen that the game continually increases in life and interest up to the final capture, each capture making the passage across more hazardous.
As a general rule, the worst runners and weakest players are caught first, and the better ones only succumb one by one, overwhelmed by numbers. With so many enemies, speed alone must soon give in; but speed and weight combined will often break through a whole crowd of opponents.
The game in many places goes by the name of " Fox and Geese," and in some is known as "King Senio." (N.B.) A player, when he has once started, is not allowed to turn back, but must cross to the other base.
FOLLOW MY LEADER.
A number of boys select a leader, who sets off with them at his heels in single file. Whatever he does they must do also; the whole game thus depends solely upon the qualifications of the leader; if he be a lad of some sprightliness and humour, the game will prove a source of considerable amusement; if he be not, and there be no such leader forthcoming, the game had better not be attempted.
It is usual to exact some forfeit from those who fail to follow their leader, and to offer some smail reward to those who succeed best. One way is for each player to pay into stock a certain number of marbles or nuts. The players are ranged in line by toss before the game begins, and then after each feat those who have failed have to go behind those who have succeeded. At the expiry of the time previously agreed upon, the players halt, and share the nuts or marbles according to their place in the ranks. Thus, supposing there were ten players besides the leader, each would pay in six marbles or nuts; at the end of the game these sixty would be divided as follows: the first would take ten, the second nine, the third eight, and so on : the five that remained would go to No. 1. if he has not failed in a single trick; if, however, he has, they go to the leader.
SLING THE MONKEY.
This is a capital game, and can be played anywhere where there are trees. One player, who is chosen by lot, takes the part of Monkey, and is fastened to a tolerably high branch of a tree by a strong cord knotted in a " bowline" loop and passed round his waist. The other players now baste the monkey with knotted handkerchiefs, and he, armed in like manner, endeavours to retaliate. If he succeeds in striking one of them, he is at once released, and the other takes his place as monkey. He must make haste in doing it, or lie may be basted until he is fairly in the loop. With players who don't mind a little buffeting this game becomes exceedingly lively: an active monkey is very difficult to approach with safety, and of course gives much more life to the game.
The cord should be just so long as to enable the monkey to reach the ground comfortably under the branch. Half the fun of the game lies in actual slinging of the monkey, one of whose most effective ruses is to throw himself forward on the rope, pretend to start off in one direction, and then come back with a swing in the other.
The branch to which the cord is attached should be some considerable height from the ground, or there will not be play enough in the rope; and it need scarcely be impressed upon the reader that both rope and branch must be strong enough to bear the strain put upon them by the weight and movements of the monkey.
This is a favourite game on board ship.
This is a-game at hide and seek, and can only be played where there are plenty of nooks and corners for concealment. The players divide into two parties. The hiding party set off to conceal themselves, giving a signal when they are ready, and the seeking party remain in the home. Upon hearing the signal they sally out in search of their opponents. As soon as they see one of the hiders, they cry out, " I spy" to him, giving his name and hiding-place; he must then come out, and while the seeking party run for home, he pursues and tries to touch one or more of them; and so on with each player of the hiding party.
The player is not obliged to wait to be discovered, but may come out at any time he sees fit, of course at the risk of gaining nothing by it. He must come out when properly called ; but if the name or the hiding-place called be incorrect, he is not bound to show himself.
If, when all the hiders have been found, they have succeeded in touching four or five, according to previous agreement, of the seeking party, they hide again; if not, the two parties change places.
This is an admirable game where circumstances arc favourable, but it is greatly dependent upon a good supply of suitable hiding-places. In favoured localities there is no limit to the amusement to be got out of this game: there is so much room for the exercise of ingenuity and invention on both sides that
The hider, in selecting his place of concealment, must bear in mind that he has not only to conceal his body from the searchers, but must be able to start out in pursuit at a moment's notice. A judicious player will often hardiy