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Running Games Oyster Shell

( Running, Tag, Tenpins )

Two parallel lines are drawn across the center of the playground with a space of ten feet between them which is neutral territory. At a considerable distance beyond each line and parallel to it a second line is drawn the space beyond being a refuge for any players of the party belonging to that side. This second line should preferably be at a considerable distance from the starting line so as to give plenty of opportunity for a good chase during the game.

The players are divided into two equal parties which take place one on either side of the neutral territory. Each party chooses a color light or dark corresponding to the light or dark side of an oyster shell or some other small object which is used in the game.

A neutral odd player who acts as leader takes his place in the center of the neutral territory and tosses the oyster shell into the air. If there be no such leader available the parties may choose captains to toss the shell alternately. The shell is allowed to fall on the ground. If the light side falls upward the light party must turn and run for the goal at the opposite end of the ground the other party chasing them. Any one captured (tagged) must carry his captor back to his home goal on his back. A party scores one point for each prisoner caught. These may be easily counted as the prisoners carry their victors home pick-a-back. The party first scoring fifty or one hundred points (according to the number of players) wins the game or the winners may be determined by the largest score when the game ends.

Because of the carrying home of the victors by the players who are caught it is advisable that some means be adopted to have opponents of nearly equal size. This is easily done by having the players line up according to size at the opening of the game and assigned alternately to the different sides. In any event the tall players should be placed opposite each other and the smaller players vis-a-vis .

This game is from the ancient Greeks and is said to have arisen from a custom of exiling wrangling political opponents by writing their names on an oyster shell and sending from the city the one whose name fell uppermost when the shell was tossed. Some modern adaptations are here given.

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