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Club Snatch

This is one of the best competitive chasing games.

A goal is marked off across each end of the playground. Midway between the goals, an Indian club is placed; a handkerchief or other similar object may be used, placed on some support–on a stake driven into the ground, laid over a rock or stool, or hung on the end of a branch. A stone or dumb-bell laid on the ground may be substituted. In line with the club a starting base is marked on each goal line.

The players are divided into two equal parties, each having a captain. Each party takes its place in one of the goals. The object of the game is for one of the runners to snatch the club and return to his goal before a runner from the opposite goal tags him, both leaving their starting bases at the same time on a signal. The players on each team run in turn, the captains naming who shall run each time.

The captains toss for first choice of runners; the one who wins names his first runner, who steps to the running base, whereupon the competing captain names a runner to go out against him, trying to select one of equal or superior ability. Thereafter the captains take turns as to who shall first designate a runner.

When there is a large number of players, or very limited time, a different method may be used for selecting the runners. All of the players should then line up according to size, and number consecutively by couples. That is, the first couple would be number one, the second, number two, the third, number three, etc. The couples then divide, one file going to one team and the other to the opposite team. The players run thereafter according to number, the numbers one competing, and so on. Each player may run but once until all on the team have run, when each may be called a second time, etc. To avoid confusion, the players who have run should stand on one side of the starting base, say the right, and those who have not run, to the left.

The first runners, having been called by their respective captains to the starting bases, run on a signal; the players may reach the club together and go through many false moves and dodges before one snatches the club and turns back to his goal. Should he succeed in reaching the goal before the other player can tag him, his team scores one point. Should he be tagged before he can return with his trophy, the opponent scores one point. The club is replaced after each run. In either case both players return to their original teams.

When each runner has run once, the teams exchange goals and run a second time. The team wins which has the highest score at the end of the second round.

For large numbers of players there may be several clubs, each having corresponding starting bases on the goals, so that several pairs of runners may compete at once. One club for twenty players, ten on each side, is a good proportion. For young players the club may be placed nearer one goal than the other at first, as shown in the diagram.

This is a capital game as here developed with the feature of scoring, and may be made very popular.

Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium by Jessie Hubbell Bancroft

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