Saturday, April 9, 2011

Tag, you're it.

Did you know that there is a wikipedia page for the game tag? It includes explanations for far more variations of the game than I ever considered as a kid. The large number of variants may be due to the inclination of children playing the game to constantly change the rules. I know I have observed Cole change the rules, mid-game, just because he wanted to skew the odds in his favor. We have all done it.

Tag is often referred to as 'tiggy' in Australia, which confused me for years because I was too embarrassed to stop the conversation and say "you mean tag, right?" But it is such a universal concept that you could probably refer to it by any name and people would know what you are talking about.
I was watching Cole play tag in his Judo class this morning and was marvelling at how much is packed into this very simple game. There are times I want to step in as a parent and straighten things out. To police the game and make sure it stays true. But that isn't what the game is about.

I think the game is about conflict and about roles and survival and the thrill of testing yourself against another. If you can't beat the situation with strength or agility, then you need to outsmart them by changing the rules and using logic or persuasion. I don't know if there is justice in a game of tag, but I see compassion and cunning.

The whole drama of the game captivates me. In studying the game, I have moved beyond my initial disappointment that things weren't progressing in an orderly fashion and now enjoy how it has let me see another facet of my child's mind.

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