A favorite game for us girls was “Red Rover.” In this game two lines of girls face off against each other forming chains by holding hands. One team chants “red rover, red rover, send _____right over.” The girl who is named then runs at full speed into the opposing line, trying to break through between two girls. If she is successful at breaking the chain, she can take one girl back with her to join her team. If she can’t get through, she has to join the opposing team. Theoretically it is played until only one player is left on one team. We never made it that far. In our case, it ended when everyone was thoroughly sore from being run into.
I was one of the two smallest girls in my group. I was a poor candidate to be called to come “right over,” since I would rarely get through the line. I was also not an ideal member of the chain and probably suffered more arm collisions than most as stronger girls broke past me.
Teams were chosen by two team captains, usually the same two biggest girls. They would take turns choosing members. No matter the game, I was usually one of the last girls chosen. While contemporary theory suggests this is a dreadful thing to do to children, I accepted the logic of it. I was, after all, short and not very strong. I am grateful that no adult intervened in the hope of making things more “fair.” Kids gain resiliency in many ways, including recognizing reality about their abilities. I excelled in the classroom, so I figured it all balanced out.