Wicked Wednesday–Lawn Games

At the Snowden Family Clambake they have bocce courts and volley ball nets for the guests to use before they serve the clambake meal. In a more genteel day, there might have been croquet and badminton on the great lawn. Then there are the touch football games, the seasonal activities like snowball fights…

Wickeds, what are your lawn games of choice? Fill us in on the wins and the crushing defeats, the pure athleticism and the sports injuries.

Edith/Maddie: I am fond of bocce and own a set. When I (rarely now) go to the beach with my sons, we always play it. I have very little coordination between my eye and my hand, so I never win, but it’s fun! We own an antique croquet set. Maybe I’ll pull that out once the world opens up again.

Julie: We have a croquet set that gets hauled out when the family is gathered at the Cape. But for lawn games, nothing beats the Jart games we used to play when I was a kid. Honestly, I’m not sure how we all survived with the sharp metal and flying pointy objects. I also used to love tether ball back in the day.

Edith/Maddie: I LOVED tether ball, too, Julie! That I could play, because the ball was big, and it never escaped.

Liz: Have I mentioned I’m not very coordinated? My parents (especially my father) tried desperately to make me like sports even just a little bit. As the kid who’s been wearing glasses since age nine and always got picked last for teams at school, let’s just say he wasn’t super successful. One particularly failed attempt happened when I was probably somewhere around 10. We had a volleyball net in the backyard that my parents put up whenever we were going to have a family cookout or some other gathering. Well, somehow I forgot it was there (despite it being strung up in the middle of the yard). I was running around and ran smack into it, full force, and had a giant gash across the bridge of my nose for weeks…Needless to say, volleyball was on my bad list after that.

Barb: Liz, I get it completely. I somehow got between a pitcher and catcher before the start of a little league game and took a ball right in the mouth. As for lawn games, while the Snowden Family in my books supports them completely, my family is more likely to play these types of games at the beach. There’s paddle ball, frisbee, and bean bag. But you’ll more likely find me nearby in a chair reading a mystery.

Sherry: I always loved to play badminton! My dad would set up a net in our backyard occasionally. It wasn’t very dangerous, you didn’t have to be super coordinated to play, and if you got hit with the gamecock it didn’t hurt that bad. Now that I think about it, I think we also use to play volleyball occasionally. I have this vague memory of being in junior high and high school and groups of kids playing. We also had a croquet set that we played once in awhile.

Barb: Gamecock? We always called them shuttlecocks or birdies. Is that a regional thing?

Readers: What about you? Favorite lawn and outdoor games. Go!

28 Thoughts

  1. Julie, Jarts! Yes. My brothers and I played with these and you’re right, how did we survive?

    But aside from that, I was like Barb. You’d be more likely to find me in a lawn chair with a book than playing a game of any kind.

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  2. My Cape Cod mother called it a shuttlecock. My Milwaukee raised father called it a birdie. Who knows? Also — My father’s third wife had Jarts. The real ones, before you were supposed to have safety ones. Fun! My kids loved it!

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  3. Only one of my children has a house with a large backyard. My son in law installed a 15′ diameter trampoline in the yard. It has poles mounted all the way around with heavy netting. THAT’S what everyone (except me) plays with when they visit there.

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  4. Like Liz, sports were never my thing. But we did have a badminton setup that got put up a few times and a neighbor girl and I played. Yeah, and it didn’t hurt to get hit with the “birdie” (in NE Indiana).

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  5. Growing up in my neighborhood, where there were a ton of kids we played pretty much every kind of sport or activity you can imagine. At cookouts, we did horseshoes. But we did the regular stuff too. Football, baseball, basketball, street hockey or in the winter, the cranberry bogs were iced over and you’d play ice hockey.

    There was roller skating and skateboarding. Oh and bike races too. We may not have done some stuff a lot but it probably got done a few times at least.

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  6. I used to say that volleyball was the game I excelled at (using the term loosely), then I met ultimate Frisbee. I’ve been addicted for 20 years now.

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  7. Like Liz, I was not much into sports. But, like Sherry I enjoyed badminton in school gym class. My best friend and I played a rather leisurely game of it just batting it back and forth getting it up as high as we could until the gym teacher informed us that we did not abide by the rules of play. We did not care! She mostly gave up on us and let us play it as we liked. I think it helped that my best friend was the principal’s daughter. 😉 And, like Barb I would much rather be reading than playing any game outdoors or indoors.

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  8. We played volleyball. Large family – we could have two teams of 5 players each and a substitute. And badminton, because the volleyball net could serve two purposes. When we got older and had family reunions, the big transition for the grandchildren was when they were allowed to join the volleyball game.

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  9. You know, cornhole started here in Cincinnati, on the West Side, specifically. Now it’s everywhere, and we have a game that comes out when our kids visit in nice weather. They have some mean competitions, too.

    Some friends have a real, regulation bocce court in their backyard, and we have played at their house many times. It’s a genteel, civilized game that anyone can play, especially suited to picnics.

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  10. My sibs and I did play some crochet; they were rather fierce, and I remember Mom apologizing before whacking our ball away. 😉 Badminton was harder, as my topic eyes just don’t track moving targets well. A volleyball broke my glasses once, and mindful of the expense of that misadventure, I ever-after ran from them. A P.E. class once featured deck tennis, and I followed the teacher’s example so well that I used my non-dominant right hand for the first several tries. I actually enjoyed the brief archery unit, perhaps because in my mind I was acting out Robin Hood adventures. Like most of you, I most enjoyed reading, in summer, under the locust trees . . . and riding my bike to the library for more books.

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