Playing for keeps

When the boy-child was at primary school, each year in around the second week of Term Three — maybe the first week in August — marbles started being played at school.

It wasn’t organised or announced. As far as I can tell, it was the most spontaneous, and in some ways the most momentous, event in the school calendar. For the boys anyway.

The craze usually lasted about two weeks before disappearing as suddenly as it came.

But in those two weeks, the boys experienced life intense and sometimes brutal: triumphs, failures, frustrations and anguish; rule-making, rule-breaking; bullying, humiliation and ranking — endless ranking. The marbles were ranked in value; the players even more so.

And always “playing for keeps.” Not just the marbles but the experiences too.

Posted to the Ragtag Daily Prompt | marble

18 thoughts on “Playing for keeps

  1. Are those his marbles? When I was young, I collected marbles for a time. But I never knew how to play the game. I just liked collecting things. Like stamps, coins, rocks, and bottle caps. Later Beatles cards. Now ancestors, I suppose!

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are his. Like his dad, he was/is a collector. He lives in shared flats these days, so the collections are here with us. And the Big T has moved on from beer cans (🤨) to motorbikes. I think ancestors probably constitute my only collecting impulse — unless you count cookbooks. But I consider them essential reference 😀


    • 😀 it’s interesting that you played at school. A few of us (slightly more advanced in years perhaps 😉) remember girls being excluded from schoolyard games of marbles. And I certainly don’t remember seeing any girls at the boy child’s school getting involved either. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • That´s really interesting, especially since my mum told me she used to play with them too in her days, and she´s senior to your age. 😉 But I think girls and boys played separately back then. I was always a bit on the wild side and played more with the boys than with the other girls anyway. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • That is interesting. We pretty much played separately too, and it seems to be the same now. I noticed from the boys preschool days that the girls were quite inclusive in their play, but were e clouded by the boys. Even quite little kids seemed to behave that way.

          Liked by 1 person

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