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By Dan Beard

" Whole Fist or Four Fingers?" shouts one of the boys, as he grasps with his right hand the middle of a baseball bat or broomstick. Immediately the other boys fall in line and the lad with the stick tosses it to the first boy in such a manner that the stick does not lose its upright position. The first boy must catch it with his left hand, and be is not allowed to move his hand after catching it until the test is over, or until his turn comes around again and he puts his other hand on.

Number two in the line now grasps the stick with his right hand just above and close against number one's hand. Number three does the same with his left hand and so on until the first boy's turn again comes. Then this boy puts one hand on and number one puts his right hand on the stick until at last one boy is unable to get his whole fist or four fingers on the stick. When that happens, the boy that fails is "It."

This is a poor method where there are four or more boys in the game, but for any game where the captains choose their sides it is a very popular method of deciding between the two captains which shall have first choice. When only two are choosing, the first tosses the bat, as described, the second catches it with his left hand, then the first puts his right hand on top of the second's left, the second places his right hand on top of the first boy's right; and in this manner the hands climb to the top of the bat or stick until the time comes when one is unable to get four fingers on the bat.

When this occurs the other boy has first choice of his playmates for the game that is to follow, which is usually a game of ball. While evidently not invented for that purpose, still the author has often seen "Whole fist or four fingers used to decide who should be "It."

OHB

 

 

   

 

 


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Last modified: October 15, 2016.