There was no adult supervision.
There were no arguments.
Rules were clear such as “Tie goes to the runner,” and if there was a dispute, “Call it, odds or evens…one, two, three…shoot.”
We kept score, but if a game was uneven we would switch players, or adjust the rules, “OK you guys get five downs, and we get only three.”
Most games came down to “Next touchdown wins” or “I call last licks.” Basketball was first one to twenty wins. When a game was over we would play one more game with player or rule changes to make the game equal. Baseball – “You have to bat lefty to make it even.”
Basketball – “You can’t shoot a layup, and we get winners outs.”
Football – “You have to run at least twice, and Jimmy can’t pass.”
We would play until mom rang a bell, or the street lights came on.
I never played a sport with adult supervision until the eighth grade.
Eighth grade is when I remember arguments and lopsided scores.
When my own children were growing up all the sports from soccer at five years old through twelve year old Little League baseball were supervised by adults. Fair play and good sportsmanship were stressed, and then the dads would choose up teams.
The dads would scout all the kids; ask their own kids who were the best players, and then plot to select the best team. I sat in on several of these team choosing sessions and I never heard one dad step up and say, “You know what Frank, you are weak on pitching, I’ll give you Jimmy Klein, for little Bobby Wagner, that should make the teams more fair.” NEVER HAPPENED!
Happened all the time when it was just us kids.
Adults mean well, but they just mess stuff up. I think that from five years old to eleven, adults should provide the fields, the equipment, and then get out of the way. Mix the ages up so there are some older kids to instruct the younger kids in rules and sportsmanship. Let the kids keep score. Let the kids pick the teams. Let the kids make the rules. Let the kids play.
I dislike watching a game and hearing a dad race out to an umpire screaming, “Are you crazy, he was safe by a mile,” or “You have got to be kidding he caught that ball out of bounds.”
I would love to hear once again disputes solved the way they should be resolved by kids:
“ODDS…one…two…three SHOOT! He’s safe…Let’s play.”