Grok Tag

There was a time when you could go to any schoolyard and see kids being kids. Kids would run, leap, throw, and exert themselves with the pure joy of uncorrupted youth. They were suddenly realizing their bodies were incredible machines capable of precise, complex movements, and the games they played developed these capabilities. Dirt clod fights, epic dodgeball matches, and tetherball developed hand-eye coordination and agility; roughhousing that never graduated into enmity taught kids the value of a few bumps and bruises (as well as how to dish ‘em out); games like tag, capture the flag, and monkey in the middle emphasized foot speed, lateral agility, and rapid changes of direction. The teacher on yard duty might hand out a citation or break up a little scuffle once in awhile, but recess was generally pretty relaxed. About the only thing your average schoolyard athlete worried about was explaining away the grass stains, or maybe the scuffed knees. Looking back, we really had it good: unstructured play, impromptu workouts that didn’t feel like work but got us into great shape and developed our social skills. We were little Groks, cultivating our minds and bodies without actively planning a routine (or play date). It probably helped that we didn’t have Nintendo DS Lites or smart phones (or overbearing parents) to distract us, but the fact remains that we just were. A bit like Grok, we didn’t run and jump to get better at running and jumping; we ran and jumped because it was fun, because it simply felt like the right thing to do. Our athletic development was merely a bonus.

We’ve totally lost that. Kids now spend recess checking their Facebook statuses, their weekly itineraries, and catching up on piles of homework. I actually have a close friend in school administration – principal of a public elementary school – who laments what she sees as the loss of recess. Well, recess is technically still around, but it’s been neutered into some unrecognizable form. Dodgeball is widely banned (promotes competition and inequality), and the random roughhousing and general tomfoolery kids used to get into are completely cracked down on. Dirt fights and wrestling, I can understand, but dodgeball? I weep. I weep, but I’m not even that surprised. Those red rubber balls sure do sting (the ego?), and we wouldn’t want our precious kids made aware of any discrepancies in ability between their peers and themselves. Save that revelation for adulthood – that’ll be healthy!

But the latest schoolyard casualty is too much to handle. I won’t stand for it. As of 2006, administrators in Cheyenne, Boston, and Spokane elementary schools have banned tag. Tag. It’s perhaps the oldest game in the world, and it’s being banned from schoolyards across the country – even here in my backyard, Santa Monica. They cite “concussions, broken bones and numerous bumps and scrapes” as potential causes for concern, as well as the “self-esteem issue.” I dunno about you, but I foresee far greater self-esteem issues for the kids who never learn the value of honest competition. Getting picked last is part of life. Losing is an essential skill. If they don’t learn these lessons early on in a natural, organic manner, how are kids supposed to handle the rigors and responsibilities of adult life, where the consequences are graver and your parents can’t come pick you up at lunch and get you ice cream?

I’m beginning to digress.

My point is this: those childhood games teach us important lessons, and they facilitate our athletic development. As adults, we stand to gain a lot from going back to these games, even if we were lucky enough to grow up in an age where kids were allowed to be kids (strike “allowed,” actually; kids simply were kids). Games like dodgeball, monkey in the middle, and especially tag are excellent ways to get a great, fun workout (I would advise against dirt clod fights and roughhousing with random adults – these tend to morph into actual fights). Play, after all, is one of the Primal Laws, and what better way to show your children the value of a good game of tag than by playing it with them?

Let’s remove the “childhood” tag from tag, shall we?

I focus on tag because it can be played anywhere without equipment. Dodgeball is great, but a good game requires a special ball, a court, and a certain amount of players. All you need for tag is a few participants and an open space. Tag’s also perhaps the purest, oldest game. I’m strictly guessing here, but I’d imagine organisms – hominids, dogs, otters, baboons, and squirrels – have been chasing each other around for no particular reason for millions of years. Go to a zoo or a dog park or a playground (sometimes) and you’ll see evidence of animals left to their own devices who default to chasing each other.

Tag is completely free form. There are no boundaries and few rules. In football, there are clear goals. A guy’s chasing you, but he knows exactly where you’re headed: to the endzone. In tag, you can be completely unpredictable. You’re darting this way and that way without a real spatial goal in sight – except to get the heck out of the other guy’s clutches. You’ll develop moves you never knew you had and agility you thought was long gone, all because you remove those conscious mental filters that slow things down and prevent pure instinctual reactions.

Tag is sprinting made effortless. Well, effort is still there, but you won’t be aware of it in a good game of tag; you’ll be too busy trying to stay “alive.” If you can’t seem to get out for a regular sprint session, you might try getting a gang together for tag. You’ll end up running what amounts to dozens of sprints without even thinking about it.

Tag promotes full-on effort. Even if you’re a committed sprinter, it can be tough to really hit maximum effort each time, because at the end of the day you’re alone on a track, or a stretch of grass. Unless you’ve got a competitive training partner, you’re in an official competition, or there’s a mountain lion on your tail, you’re missing that sense of urgency that compels the true sprint. When you get in the zone in a game of tag, you do everything you can to avoid being “it.” You dodge, roll, fake, and sprint as fast as humanly possible to avoid being tagged. If you really get into it, it’ll be as if there’s a lion on your heels or a world record to be broken – your body won’t know the difference, and your performance will improve.

There are dozens of varieties of tag. Most will work for your purposes just fine. British bulldogs, for example, begins with two “bulldogs” standing in the middle of the play area. Everyone else lines up on one end and tries to rush past the bulldogs to the other side. Those who are caught become bulldogs. The last one standing is the victor. Then there’s the always classic freeze tag, or even the modified tag variant hide and seek. Too many to name, but I think we can do better with our own variant.

Grok Tag

I suppose the real “Grok Tag” would look something like basic schoolyard tag: one person trying to tag another person, who then becomes “it.” Just basics, no tricks or gimmicks. That’s fine, but I’m thinking we can distinguish ourselves and make it a real workout by throwing in a little twist.

  • Gather a group of people together. At least five is ideal, three is good, and two will technically work.
  • Go to a field, the beach, a forest – pretty much anywhere with real earth underneath, rather than hard concrete. You’re going to be running a lot, so avoid high impact ground.
  • Have everyone do five burpees simultaneously for time. The slowest is “it.” Everyone else is the hunted.
  • Once you’re ready to play, have the hunted disperse. “It” waits ten seconds and then begins the chase.
  • If someone is tagged, they immediately drop and do ten pushups. Once they finish, they are now “it” and the person who tagged them is now the hunted.
  • Next person tagged drops and gives fifteen pushups. Once they finish, they are now “it” and the person who tagged them is now the hunted.
  • Continue in this manner until you reach thirty pushups. Whoever does the thirty is “it” for the next round, which begins in two minutes. For the next round, use squats instead of pushups. And for the round after that, use burpees, but start with five and end with twenty-five (unless you’re up for the full thirty). If there are low hanging branches or pull-up bars in the area, do a round with pull-ups instead.
  • There are tag backs and yes, a single person might end up doing a disproportionate number of repetitions in a given round. That’s life, though, and it’ll only make you stronger.

You can modify Grok Tag to suit your needs and abilities. Raise or lower the reps as needed. Wear weighted vests for the duration. Have kettlebell stations positioned around the field of play, and substitute kettlebell swings into the game. You could even have a barbell sitting on the field – get tagged, do five deadlifts. The possibilities are endless, but the basic concept of being “punished” for getting tagged is key. You won’t want to do those twenty burpees or thirty squats, so you’re going to run like your life depends on it. Even the guys or girls who never get tagged still get a great sprint workout, and the guys or girls who always get tagged will only get stronger and faster.

I’ll admit. This can be a pretty hardcore workout and a far cry from the tag of your childhood, but its scalability means it will never be too hardcore for anyone. Plus, it’s a good way to ambush a reluctant workout partner: “Hey, wanna play a friendly game of tag?”And if your kids have never played the game, this might be a good way to introduce them to an archaic tradition while teaching them proper burpee and squat form.

Just don’t expect to see it in P.E. classes anytime soon.

Have your own thoughts on a variation of Primal tag? Share it in the comment board. Thanks, everyone!

TAGS:  Grok

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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79 thoughts on “Grok Tag”

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    1. I agree! That is pretty sweet! Mark, I heard about your website and crossfit from friends Anders Eiremo Jonas Eiremo. I really like what people like u r doing! It’s awesome! That game of tag can be a workout if u play for a while! I might have to try that. Keep up the good work Mark!

  1. One of my favorite things about recess was the big toy. They should also make big toys for adults. I remember lava monster being of the favorite games on the playground…encouraging children to climb in odd ways all over the place. I suppose an obstacle course like military training would do too…My husband said that was the most fun of BMT.

    I agree that parents have become overbearing these days. I feel it goes hand in hand that people are too afraid of germs and using chemicals to get rid of “germs”.

    If only I could get people to play that kind of tag with me…or build a big people’s big toy at a park.

  2. I wasn’t particularly an overly fit child, and found that tag in an open space was too challenging. It was impossible to catch up with the star runners.
    However, what myself and my friends always did, was get 4 or 5 and do play-ground tag games.
    Stipulations included not being able to step out of the sandbox or gravel pit. Everything else was fair game. This promoted climbing the features and not just running around. And the sand/gravel kind of evened out the running field too since everyone was slowed down.
    Theres tonnes of variations, and I kinda miss these activities… Maybe I can get some friends together for this… 😀

  3. I LOVE tag. It was my favorite childhood game. And I can’t wait to teach Grok Tag to my little groklings.

    And on the comparative play issue, I’ve seen footage of young chimps in Gombe (Jane Goodall’s field site) playing chase, including one instance in which a young chimp and young baboon chased each other in pure inter-species playing heaven.

  4. Absolutely. And it sure is a clear sign of CW thinking when something like Tag gets outlawed.

    (You’d think that somewhere along the line, at all those policy meetings where those rules were decided on, someone would either a) talk to a child, or b) get slapped back to reality.)

    Grok Tag reminds me of some of the great games they’ve come up with at CrossFit Kids (, which is a great resource for this kind of thing.

    Play on!

  5. I feel fortunate. When my kids (now 18 and 16) were smaller, they had access to 20+ acres of dirt, fields and a 6 acre lake. They’d be gone much of the day. We jut gave them a walkie talkie if they wanted to talk to us. Before that, they could see our garage door. If we opened it, it was time to come home. My son, now at collage, rides his bike 5 miles to the mountain bike park, rides the trails then rides back to his dorm. He’s worn out his bike he rides so much!

  6. At my last apartment I saw a group of boys playing the hunting game. It looked like so much fun. Wish I had some people to play that with.

  7. I loved and still love these games. Though my kids are 16 and 20, we don’t hesitate to play Ghost in the Graveyard (a tag derivative)with the younger cousins on a warm, summer night! Marco Polo, underwater breath holding races, Dodgeball, Capture the flag get the juices flowing for young and old. We try to integrate these games to our pre-holiday meals so everyone has fun together, works off the ants-in-the-pants and works up a health appetite! I look forward to it so much because as you said, it is mentally effortless to be caught up in the competition! Great idea for a post!

  8. I loved Tag and another game called “Smear the Queer.” Kids aren’t always politically correct, so we loved the name simply because it rhymed. At the end of the day, aren’t we all a little off or queer? What is the PC name for that game anyways? Tag?
    These are great points though – the simplest of games should never be taken away and replaced with a handheld device. How does that really teach our kids about socialization with others and the hard work needed to get ahead in life?
    For the record, I was a victim of tag; I gouged myself with a boundary stake playing tag at night. I missed my vital area by about 6 inches, so I don’t get to show the scar too often. The scar is about 5 inches long but it taught me that accidents can happen, so stay sharp and play hard.

    1. Where did you grow up? We played “smear the queer” too! This was in the late 60’s and early 70’s in California.
      I can just see someone starting a game of “smear the queer” these days. We’d probably get suspended.

  9. To all those out there who “wish other people would play tag with me”… DO IT!!! : ) Seriously, if you organize it, they will come. If that fails, get into a “fitness” class or a casual running group to find like-minded people, make friends and then con THEM into doing it. You’d be surprised how many people will break down and “play” if you give them the opportunity to – it’s just that most won’t do it by themselves. : )

  10. My kids actually played tag over Thanksgiving week. Completely tired out their CW cousin – he just couldn’t keep up. Go girls!

  11. Ah recess. We had a big concrete tube called “The Big Cheese”…we could slide off the sides, play in the sand inside, some kids would get their heads stuck in the holes…I personally puked on it once. I’m pretty sure they would be banned now. I also distinctly remember playing soccer with the boys and accidentally kicking the ball right into a kid’s face…oops. We also did intense jump roping for a few years, along with double dutch which is hard!, and played a lot of tag and freeze tag, where you’d have to crawl through the frozen person’s legs in order to un-freeze them. We always had so much fun playing those games, and would come back in from recess with a bunch of red, sweaty faces 🙂

  12. I never played sports or considered myself athletic, but I loved a game of kickball during recess when I was in elementary school. There really is no replacement for “active” fun.

    This post made me want to play tag! Really!

  13. The youth organization I volunteer with (boys and girls ages 13-19) does use dodge ball as a fitness exercise, so it’s not *completely* a lost art as yet.

  14. Kids are very aware of the realities of competition, probably more aware at an earlier age than any previous generation. And, anyway, dodge ball sucks!

    Too bad they banned tag, though.

  15. Some of my best memories from middle school were playing Capture the Flag, in my opinion the greatest recreational game ever invented. Thank heaven I went to school back in the day when they let us play CTF, dodgeball, flag football, tetherball, and other games with ‘risk’ involved.

    1. I forgot about tetherball, now that was a dangerous game! Rope burns, tetherballs to the face, and serious 1 on 1 competition where somebody will lose…a helicopter parent’s nightmare.

  16. Jeff P, you must have grown up in California. We played “smear the queer” too back in the late 60’s early 70’s. I imagine these days someone would file a lawsuit for calling it that.

    1. I guess that would rule out “capture the fag”, too? Or how about “dyke, dyke, loose”? Sorry, couldn’t resist the PiC (Politically inCorrect) puns.

  17. Bicycle tag… riding around on bikes, one kid was “it” and was armed with a tightly rolled and bound up newspaper. ride around the school and try to hit each other with it. Always had some good wipeouts.

  18. 3 words – Kick…the…Can

    I spent hours late into the night playing that with my friends. It seemed to have a way of leveling the playing field so that no one was “it” for that long. The lack of lighting made the night games even more fun and challenging.

    1. Agreed! My all time favorite, besides climbing my huge maple tree up to the very tip top!

  19. In elementary we got intense about ball tag – tag with a nerf soccer ball. If you got hit, you were it. If caught you were not. (we rhymed the rules on purpose). Taking ball tag to the play ground or jungle gym made it ten times better. Throwing around and in between obstacles on the run is so much fun. And boundaries are definitely needed in tag. Isolating someone to a corner between the boundary and you and the ball elicits very primal instincts and emotions.

  20. This is an awesome post. I remember playing a form of “bulldog tag” as a kid and absolutely loving it. I could play those games all day if only I could find other people to play them with…

    And I agree, it is very sad that kids can’t play like kids anymore. Sad, sad, day.

  21. This post makes me so sad. Not because of Grok Tag but because kids today are SO SOFT.

    On a same token, would you be interested in doing a post about overuse of antibacterial stuff? I was thinking about that as I was reading this – commercials for Clorox and such that are like DISINFECT EVERYTHING YOUR KID EVER TOUCHES. I think it’s making everyone sicker! Kids need to eat dirt!

    1. It’s not just kids. I look around the office at all the handcleaner dispensers and I do not know whether to laugh or cry.

  22. Good post, Mark. Don’t forget that you can always play a game of tag with your dog, too. You will just be it the entire time! They love to play though.

  23. Tag, smear the queer, red rover, tetherball…. all of these should be required not banned…. the world is coming to an end with participation trophies and what not. Kids need to learn to loose and learn how to win graciously. Saying everybody is a winner is the same as saying nobody is. Competition as you said is something that needs to be learned young when ego’s aren’t at stake. The older kids get before they experience the feeling of loosing the harder it becomes to understand and deal with.

  24. This is such a great idea! I’ve gotten sooo tired of going to the gym all. by. myself. BORING! This is going to be fun, I can tell! =)

  25. Smear the Queer (and queer just meant “weirdo” to us) was really rough and really great! We played it with a football… if you had it, be prepared for every other person to try and tackle you. Your only hope was to toss the ball away before you were “smeared.”

    Freeze tag, TV tag, and every other kind of tag and ball game ruled the 70s. We would jump rope at the bus stop in the mornings too…even the boys. Badminton, kickball,baseball, and red rover,red rover… it was all a blast.

  26. We played “boys chase girls” and “girls chase boys” when I was a kiddo. I loved it. I’m not sure that I’ve ever run faster. 😉

  27. We played “Smear The Queer” with a football in southern Illinois in the 60s and 70s. We also played a gauntlet type game–don’t remember what it was called–that was tough for me, because I was usually the first “it”. But it taught me to use my head to overcome my physical disadvantages (both small and slow). I used angles to intercept faster runners; I learned how to unbalance larger and stronger runners. I also learned, as Sun Tzu said, that “all warfare is based on deception”! For example, appearing tired and dispirited, and then putting on an unexpected burst of speed to catch the cocky.

  28. Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water-bugs, tadpoles, frogs, and mud-turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb, brooks to wade in, water-lillies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hayfields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries, and hornets; and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education. –Luther Burbank

  29. Please not tag! Are you kidding me? There are so many variations of tag so what is next, hide and seek? Well that can be very damaging – what if no one finds you, what if you are found right away, what if you scrape your face on the bush you are hiding behind, the dangers abound. It is just ridiculous.

    When I was young, we played keep away, boys versus the girls. We were allowed to tackle each other on black top. We finished each recess with skinned knees and elbows and all chose to play again the next day. Teachers rarely, if ever, interfered. We were busy releasing energy which truly made it easier for them to teach when we returned to the classroom. Too bad no one realizes that today.

    I make a concerted effort to not be a helicopter parent although at times I am. But for today I was not. Seven kids played afterschool and I never interfered with football, baseball, tag or the lovely show they created. Free play is becoming a lost art.

  30. In my biology classes, we play a game called Predator-Prey each year, where the students (10th grade) are assigned an animal role to play and have to avoid being killed while they try to collect food (the taggee) or be the predator (the tagger). We have a large track of wooded land on the school property. This has been going on at my school in bio classes for at least 10 years and is so popular that the kids coming in from 9th grade ask on day one of 10th grade “When are we going to play Predator-Prey?”

    In the last couple of years, some helicopter parents have called with complaints – some kids got poison ivy or scratches, aggravated their asthma, etc. – and our admin has threatened to stop the game. Luckily, the game is so popular that if they took it away, there might be a riot of 10th graders! One of my best players last year was a girl with spina bifida in a wheel chair. She go around quite well down those trails and managed to survive the game to the end (she was a squirrel who could avoid capture by touching shrubs).

  31. We will have to play Grok Tag at the next Seattle Primal meet up!

  32. I can’t remember the last time I saw some kids playing outside. Tag is such a fun, childlike game. If you’re a kid, it’s extra fun at nighttime. Makes me want to do more fun things for exercise…

  33. Another part of childhood killed by politically correct schools. Heres an interesting thought. We teach kids survival of the fittest in class. then we make sure they never get any real world examples. No competition (we can’t have anyone losing), no cops and robbers or cowboys and indians ( can’t have rampant pointing and cries of *bang bang*) and no red marks on wrong answers ( purple is much friendlier). How do we expect kids to survive in a world where they can’t play and superiority in a particular field is treated as meaningless!?

  34. I recently finished reading a book that touched on some of these discussions. The main focus was the the lack of outdoor freedom children today have and the impact. It’s not just recess, it’s the weekends and summer/winter break too that children no longer have opportunities to just go outside and play. It’s called Last Child in the Woods if anyone is interested.

    I feel lucky to be part of the last generation to really “get” to play dodge ball, tag and generally run around at recess. I wasn’t the most fit, but I remember those few occasions where I would surprise my peers and outrun or outsmart them were so encouraging and rewarding. The idea that these kinds of activities could lower self esteem is ridiculous.

  35. Maybe they’re just planning ahead for the overpopulation crisis? Conspiracy theory! 😀

    1. On second thought, I just realized how preposterous this was, even for a conspiracy theory. I’m dumb at 4:38 AM, it seems. 🙁

  36. we also called it manhunt in flatbush, brooklyn. We would split into two teams of about 10+ kids. Each team would have a home base which was a safe spot for the hunted team and a jail for the hunting team. The boundaries were determined based on the number of participants: anywhere from a 2 block radius to a 5 block radius. The hunted team had 10 minutes to scatter.Then they would be hunted. A caught person was brought back to the jail, from where he or she could be freed simply by another team member tagging the person within the jail. This hunt lasted anywhere from 1 to 8 hours on a Saturday or during summer vacations. Now there are play dates:-(

  37. We also played semi-tackle football on the streets during the summer and when it snowed, full on tackle on snow-covered car lined streets. From 1970-1980, only 3 people broke a leg.

    I used to ride bikes and skateboards with no helmet.

    We where kids back then.

    Kids today are being mad into pansies from absurd parenting techniques derived from talk shows. Never once did my parents have to tell me to go out and play in the streets of the hood. All they said was “don´t hurt yourslef and be home for dinner”

  38. It’s not the schools, it’s the overprotective parents who are vicariously reliving their youth through their kids and making sure that all the “bad” stuff gets taken out. The first wave of these kids are now adults and have zero coping mechanisms. It would be funny watching them if it wasn’t so sad.

    On a lighter note, my family’s version of tag was aluminum ball. You would wad up some tin foil, turn off the lights (you have to play this at night) and run around trying to hit people with the foil ball. Great fun and I think we only broke two lamps …

  39. The sports league around here (zogsports) has a bunch of organized sports available, two of which are childhood favorites — dodgeball and kickball.
    Coincidentally, I just read an article in Time on the backlash against helicopter parenting:,8599,1940395-3,00.html.
    On page 3, they talk about the importance of play on leadership, resilience, sociability, learning, memory, etc., and how it literally shapes brain pathways (well duh, all experience does).

  40. We also played tag with the end-of-season rotten tomatoes. I can recall being out as a 11 year old very late at night picking s shirtful or rotten tomatoes off the vines in our backyard. We pelted each other until late at night. Boy did we stink! They can leave a bruise too, which to us was a badge of honor! Sure was fun though.
    It’s funny the things we remember from our childhood and the fun we had. I think that these kinesthetic activities are burned into our memories because of the movement involved… and because it was so darn much fun!

  41. Great post. This reminds me of my favorite New Years Eve memory ever. My husband and a bunch of couples we know from college all rented a cabin in Wisconsin for the holiday. We’re in our late 20s/early 30s and some people were pregnant and not drinking, so we ended up playing hide and seek at 1 a.m. for over an hour. It was so fun! It then developed into a tag-like game as the hiding times decreased. Even the 2 dogs that were there got into the action.

  42. This is such a great idea. This is really great for anyone running a group fitness program as well. Ive done fun things like fitness bingo and have seen others do capture the flag and water balloon fights to keep their workouts fun and entertaining.

    Love it Mark!

  43. I wasn’t athletic at all as a kid, but freeze tag was great fun–running around and working on balance too.

    The whole self-esteem thing reminded me of a Kurt Vonnegut story–“Harrison Bergeron” where society has decided to “equalize” everyone–ballerinas must wear weights so they aren’t more graceful than others, attractive people must wear a bag over their heads, thinking people get zapped if they have a non-approved thought. Like most futuristic fiction, there is that scary element of truth!

  44. If this wasn’t a great argument for Charter Schools, I don’t know what is! I have 2 boys and I’m sure plenty of parents out there know that (especially young boys) need to get out that extra energy so they can settle down and focus. Drives me nuts that they are taking away this tremendously important life skill. It’s being so devalued!

    As a society were moving away from Grok so why should kids need to experience any needless pain since they’ll be sitting in a cubical their entire life?
    LOL! I use to let my kids fall and let them hurt themselves, I knew the scream that needed my attention, which was very rare, but I would be there in a heartbeat when they were really hurt. After awhile the would get the bump look at me see that I wasn’t going to run to them, then they would get back to what the were doing. Playing tag!

  45. This is great! Not only do adults need to return to being kids every now and then, but children today need to devote more time to being kids and getting out to move and have fun outside.

  46. The best game growing up, hands down, was “Wolf.” You’d get a group of maybe 5-8 of your friends, dress in dark, old clothing or camo, and have a full out game of hide and seek combined with tackle tag in the dark, best if in the woods or a shady area. One person was “it” and had to go after all those hiding. You were bound to get stained clothes, roughed up hands and knees, and possibly some big bruises, but it was fun as hell and no one cared. Just as long as we were inside by curfew.

    OH and also the game of “run through the cornfield at midnight and hope you don’t get lost” was fun but damn scary! It’s amazing the stuff we used to get away with!

    Those weren’t allowed at school, but kickball and dodgeball sure were 🙂 Even as a kid who was a little on the chubby side, I could still run and play with the best of them. The only time me (and some friends) got into big trouble was when we attempted to re-enact a WWF brawl. That ended in a week of lost recess.

  47. I get what you’re saying. I don’t think tag should be banned. I did hate tag growing up, because I was fat and slow and if I got tagged, I would pretty much stay tagged. But I could always choose to play a different game (I was quite a tetherballist).

    That said, I have a scar from a game of tag. Wasn’t watching where I was going and ran into another kid face-first. So I have a little scar over my right eyebrow from a game of tag. Of course, a scar’s not that big a deal. There was a lot of blood, though. If I were a playground supervisor, I wouldn’t have wanted to have to deal with that.

  48. Banning tag what ever next! Here in Britain we call “recess” “play time” which is exactly what it should be.

    As for self esteem many kids who aren’t so great academically get to shine during play time.

    Childhood and adolescent rates of depression have sky rocketed over the last couple of decades and this might partly be due to lack of exercise.

    Agreed I loved/love tag

    Keep up the great work

  49. A few weekends ago the parkour club I train with on campus ended a Saturday training session with a game of tag, played on some limestone slabs which were set up at good distances so we could jump across them. The rules were to stay on the rocks, if you touch the ground, your it, if you are already it and touch the ground, 10 push ups. Lots of sprinting and leaping. Most fun I’ve had in years!

  50. My dog played tag with a horse once. They would chase each other back and forth across the pasture.

  51. Bizzarely was reading this post when my workmate pointed something going on outside.

    There was a magpie and a rabbit playing tag 🙂
    went on for around 5 minutes or so.

    I suspect that the magpie is nesting and the rabbit just was in the wrong place at the wrong time…
    No idea what the outcome was they disappeared back into the treeline.

  52. That is funny. A game that probably didn’t even wind us as kids would literally floor me today and have me sore for a week.

    Great idea!

  53. Nice concept. Gotta find a group of decently fit people, otherwise, it’s gonna be a very short game.

  54. Thanks for linking to this, Mark!
    When I was in grade school, I hated dodgeball. For a good while, I would have agreed with banning it. It always made me feel like crap when I would stand in the back, dodging stray ones and tossing balls to the good throwers in the front. At least, I felt like crap until the day I won the entire game for my team, as the last one standing against the other team’s mvp. I used my dodging skills to my advantage: as we stood almost toe-to-toe, each with one ball and flinching when the other moved half an inch, I suddenly dropped to the floor and threw my ball at his knees. His went right over my head. Now that made me feel awesome! All that dodging paid off, and I’m very glad I got to learn that lesson: dodgeball can suck, but if you play it a lot and don’t give up, you can win big.