The Monetization of Hopscotch

Posted on April 1, 2011


Seriously.  Life in the Boomer Lane has never, even in a drug-induced Happyland stupor while seated in Dr Gerald’s dental chair, ever thought about blogging about Hopscotch.  Come on now.  Hopscotch?  Is there a more basic children’s game?  Yes, there is.  That one where you hide something in your hand and shove both fists in front of someone’s face and they have to pick which one has the stone or the penny or the marble or your grandmother’s false teeth or whatever.  So Hopscotch is the second most basic game.  LBL thinks it was invented about three weeks after fire.

Actually Hopscotch began in ancient Britain during the early Roman Empire. The original Hopscotch courts were over 100 feet long and were used for military training exercises. LBL is not making this up.  Roman foot soldiers ran the course in full armor and field packs, and it was thought that Hopscotch would improve their foot work.  The most successful of those went on later to become the first dancers on “Bandstand.”

Here’s how it goes: Steal a piece of chalk from the classroom (and an eraser if you are  especially slick), draw a Hopscotch on the pavement.  Throw something that won’t roll or crawl away into the first space. Hop over it on one foot into all the other squares.  Then come back and pick up whatever is in Square 1.  Then go to Square 2.   LBL won’t bore you with the rest of it.  That was Hopscotch in a working class neighborhood in Philly in the 1950s.  LBL really didn’t think it had changed much since then, with the exception that now, instead of moms opening the front doors and yelling, “Get yer butts in here for dinner!” they would, instead text, in a civilized manner, “Get yer butts in here for dinner!”

Stay with LBL now.  It does get better.  While LBL hadn’t been paying attention for the last 50 years, it appears that today’s children’s brain cavities no longer contain the information necessary to create a Hopscotch game all on their own.  Vital information (like how to steal your dad’s cigarettes while he is napping) that used to be passed down from older kids to younger ones while hanging out on stoops, steps, and street corners, has disappeared.  Today’s children are left clueless about the most basic of life’s joys.

All this started when someone told LBL yesterday that now kids have to buy Hopscotch games for $10 that come with a DVD showing how to create a Hopscotch and how to play.  LBL didn’t believe it.  So she Googled it.  Here’s what she found: People are freaking nuts. Back up.  LBL already knows people are freaking nuts.  She’ll start again: People are freaking nuts AND they spend $10 so that their kids can learn to play Hopscotch.

It gets worse:

LBL found this mat on Google.  It costs $219.99.  Let’s write that again and make it bold: $219.99.

OK, all you parents of young kids. Time to get sane.  Please don’t buy a Hopscotch game or DVD.  Instead, have your beloved tot learn from a real living legend of the game.  For only the cost of that $219.99 mat, plus first class airfare, hotel accommodations, and meals at 5 star restaurants, LBL will personally teach him or her the game.  And for another $219.99, LBL will teach him or her to jump rope and play jacks.   And she will even throw in a lesson on that other game where you hide something and the other person has to guess which hand it’s in.  And LBL gives a money back guarantee.  Operators are standing by.