How to Spin




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How to Spin
Chip Stone
Shovels & Whips

Scout Books

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By Dan Beard

Fig. 24 shows the Wooden Chip Stone Shovel or spoon which each player should make for himself with his own pocketknife.  

Sweet smelling red cedar is the choice wood, but almost any other kind will answer.

Whip-Tops--Eel-Skin Whips the Best.

As a rule boys use old rags for their whips.  These soon become very much soiled and look untidy, but the real sportsman, be he man or boy, takes great pride in his guns, fish-rods, skates, golf-sticks, or top-whips; and such boys prefer for a top-whip an eel-skin fastened to a short wooden handle.

Country boys catch their own eels, city boys get the skins at the fish market.

A whip-top can be made of any sort of wood, and in place of a brass hollow-headed furniture-tack is driven into the point where the peg of an ordinary top is located.

To Spin the Top

Put your whip under your felt arm and take the top in your right hand, and grasping it with your thumb and second finger give it a smart twirl.  If this is skillfully done the top will spin long enough for you to grasp the handle of your eel-skin whip and give it a lash, striking outward and drawing the whip toward you at the end of the stroke.

Fighting Tops.

At the word "Go!" two boys spin their tops and then thrash the poor things until they bump together.  The top that knocks its opponent out of the bull ring in which they are spun is the King Top.  It is considered a foul for one boy to strike his opponent's top with his whip or in any way interfere with it except by guiding his own top in the path of the other.  A top that stops spinning is beaten, not with the whip, but by the other top that keeps alive.

Racing Tops.

Two taw lines are drawn on the hard ground or sidewalk, and at the word "Go!" all the boys in the game spin their tops and belabor them with might and main, endeavoring at the same time to compel them to travel over the space between the taw lines before their opponents can cover the distance.  It requires no little skill to drive a successful race.

Whipping tops, like most of the favorite games of boys, is a very old sport.  The little boys in Old Testament times played the game just as you are playing it now.  West of the Allegheny Mountains the whip-top is not as often seen as in the neighborhood of New York City.







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Last modified: October 15, 2016.