It’s Time For Outdoor Games!May 14, 2020
Four Outside Games For Spring and Summer
Baseball, Volleyball, Frisbee Golf, and softball are the standard, traditional games we play when the weather turns pleasant. But there are some not-so-traditional games I want to shine the light on in this post. Croquet, Badminton, Horseshoes, and Cornhole are all fantastic games that can be enjoyed by almost anyone.
Let’s start with Croquet. Croquet is a race game that is played with wooden balls, mallets, wickets, and stakes. We played simple croquet in this way. The wickets (hoops) and stakes are arranged in a diamond pattern with a stake at each pinnacle. Players start at one stake by hitting their balls through the first wicket on the course using their mallet. Each player in turn strikes their ball along the course to the second stake. They must strike the stake and then continue along the rest of the course back to the start stake. The first player to strike the second stake is the winner. There are some twists though. If your ball ended being touched by an opponent’s ball on their turn, they could ‘croquet’ you. This was done by placing their foot on their ball and then whacking it with their mallet, sending your ball away. This seems to be kind of cutthroat. And apparently we didn’t play quite correctly. In researching this article I found that there are more complex rules which you can find here at the U.S. Croquet Association website. It also has a long history. The game’s origin is really unknown. There are several games from which it is said to have evolved. But there is no definitive source game. Historians seem to agree that the ancestor game came to Britain from France during the reign of Charles II with the name pall-mall. You can find out more about that right here. Croquet is pretty fun. We played it a lot when I was a kid. Croquet sets cost about $40 and are available in many places.
Next up is Badminton. Badminton also has old roots stretching into ancient Greece and China. The ‘modern’ version of badminton evolved from the Indian game of Poona and was introduced to England in the 1860’s. The name ‘badminton’ comes from the estates of the dukes of Beaufort in that country. The game is played on a court that looks like a blend of a tennis court and a volleyball court. It uses long-necked rackets to hit a shuttlecock or birdie back and forth over a net. An opponent scores points when the birdie hits the ground on a player’s side. Badminton has a strong following worldwide and has numerous international organizations promoting it. It is so popular that it became an Olympic sport in 1992. You can find out more about badminton here. Badminton sets can be easily purchased in various places for as little as $15.00.
Horseshoes. Like the previous two games, this one is derived from an ancient game. It is thought that Horseshoes is the poor man’s version of discus. In Discus, the point is to get the disc closest to the stake. Same for horseshoes – closest to the stake scores the most points on a turn. Horseshoes consists of two pits, forty feet apart, each with a stake in the middle. On a turn, players alternate pitching one of their two horseshoes at the stake opposite them. They are trying to ring the stake, get their horseshoe around the stake (3 points), or be closest to the stake (one point). Games are played to 21 points. You can learn more here. Horseshoes sets can be found at most sporting goods stores for about $45.
Last up is Cornhole. Cornhole has become one of the most popular outdoor games in America. Its origin is shrouded in mystery. Many believe that it started with a German cabinetmaker. Others feel it began as a Native American game.
Wherever it started, it is so popular that you can find a cornhole tournament every weekend somewhere in the U.S. Why is it called ‘cornhole’? The name comes from the corn used to fill the bags. Most of us know about cornhole but here is a quick refresher. The game consists of two raised platforms with a hole (center 9” from top of the board and 12” from each side) set facing each other, twenty-seven feet apart. There are two teams (or individuals) that alternate taking
turns throwing the cornhole bags onto the opposite platform. A bag in the hole scores 3 points. A bag on the board scores 1 point. Cornhole uses a cancellation scoring system where the inning winner scores the difference between each team’s score each inning. A game is played to twenty-one. As I mentioned, cornhole is very popular in our country. There are several national organizations like the American Cornhole Association. And there are even professional cornhole players. You can find out more here. A cornhole set costs about $100.
There you have it, four outdoor games for you and your family to play when the weather turns nice. Whether you are tossing, batting, or whacking, get outside and have some fun.