Tale Weaver #64: May 5 2016: School Yard Games – Hand Tennis


Image: (Traffic Light Tree ©Kevan CC BY 2.0)

Red Light Green Light

Think of this game – traffic lights – the significance and symbolism, importance of them – and expand upon it, however you wish.


As children we were encouraged to not play games. Life was hard we were told, life was factual and there was no room for fantasy within the world of our family.

Life was about bible readings before dinner and silence as we ate meditating upon God’s word as we chewed our steak.

The opportunities to play were limited so my sister and I designed an elaborate system of colours to signal when we could and couldn’t play.

Our favourite game was played on the lounge room floor. It was about batting a tennis ball back and forth across the room between the two of us a little like a tennis match but we had stricter rules.

There was no net and we decreed that the ball had to be kept on the carpet at all times. Any time the ball left the ground was counted as a point against you. The real aim of the game was to get the ball past your opponent.

Now for us tennis balls were not anything we had within our reach and so the one we used was an old one I found in the gutter coming home from school one day.

Our first attempts were played in fear of discovery. We decided that since the slapping of the ball with the palms of our hands might attract attention we would wear our winter gloves to try and deaden the sound. It worked but the feel of the ball against the skin of our palms was always the better way to play.

We developed a system of warnings of when we could play and when we couldn’t. Always our gloves were in our pockets for the fleeting moments when game could be played.

Green uttered by either of us was enough to have us in the lounge room, sitting at either end of the room and slapping the ball for all we could.

Red announced the imminent arrival of one of our parents always curious as to what we were up to. To counter this we always carried a book with us so when red was said the ball and gloves would disappear and the books by our sides would be put to good use as our parents would see us heads down engrossed in what it was we were reading.

This was how we spent our childhood, living a secret life to that of our parents who wanted us to be as pious and straitlaced as they were.

Sadly they had forgotten what it was like to be a child.


Written for: https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2016/05/05/tale-weaver-64-may-5-2016-school-yard-games/

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9 Responses to Tale Weaver #64: May 5 2016: School Yard Games – Hand Tennis

  1. Oh, my, hope this wasn’t written from personal experience. I had such a delightful childhood, with parents who so enjoyed my sister and me and eagerly got right into the fun with us. But you’ve woven a convincing tale here.

  2. Lyn says:

    Love the thought of a brother and sister having a secret code 🙂

  3. wildchild47 says:

    Great exploration of the colors and symbols in this tale Michael 🙂

    You’ve really set a scene where the reader can feel the sense of strictness, piety, the necessity of being “good” imposed – and how, it is natural that children need and want to play. The ability and shrewdness of 2 young minds at work, devising a way with a coded plan, in order to play is so well shown here – I found myself holding my breath, listening for footsteps, as if I was the one playing.

    And I have to say, this game reminds me of something similar that we played too. I suspect there must be a universality to children’s minds and imaginations – an energetic link that transects our understanding of how the mind and spirit actually operates in this “body” 🙂

  4. wildchild47 says:

    oops …. I forgot to add, thank you for playing with this week’s TW prompt 🙂

  5. julespaige says:

    There is little joy when one cannot play. And to the extreme when the adults play their own grown-up games. Some becoming vocal to the point of being obnoxious after too much drink…

    This reminds me of a very strict Victorian household. Well told.

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