Choosing Up
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By Dan Beard

25 years ago a popular method of deciding which boy should be "It" was called "Which hand is it in?" A boy, in the party about to engage in some game, would pick up a pebble, and facing his companions he would put his hands behind him and place the stone in either hand to suit himself. Then extending his closed fists to a companion he would exclaim, "Which hand is it in?"

The companion, after due study and deliberation, would say, "Not that!" as he slapped one extended fist with his open hand. If the hand he chose was empty he would "go free;" if not, he would take the stone and go through the same performance with the next boy, and thus the process would continue. Each lad went free when he passed the stone on, and each lad who guessed the empty hand went free, until all had had a chance and one boy was left holding the stone in his hand.

The evident objection to this method is that the first boy has every chance to go free--that is, if there are six boys the first one has only one chance in six of being caught, and the next one one chance in five. But the last one has only one chance in two of going free. This does not appear to affect the popularity of this method, although the eagerness of the boys to hold the stone first, or to have first choice, plainly shows that they fully understand the importance of first choice.

Of course the last boy to hold the stone is "It."

See Also:

Counting Out

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Handy, Dandy ] Heads or Tails ] Last One Over ] Odd or Even ] Pick'er Up ] Short Straw ] Wet or Dry ] Whole Fist ]

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Games of Ball ] Bee Messengers ] Boat Plans ] Dead Bugs ] [ Choosing Up ] Counting Out ] Leap Frog ] Swimming ] Tag ] Water Periscope ] Circus in the Woods ] Boys' Vaulting-Poles ] Woodcraft Camps ] Deaf Scout Jamboree 2006 ] Do It Yourself Camps ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.