A "league" of our own
OK, so you just beat your pal in a game of boxball. All done? Hardly--this game was but a small part in life's larger drama.
Each competition added a piece to the puzzle of where you fit; how you perceived your skills and self worth in relation to the larger group. You'd keep unofficial tabs that ranked each played for the different "sports", but by organizing a makeshift league, you could formally determine exactly where everyone stood.
We could take just about any old game - boxball, box baseball, stoopball, Nok Hockey, you name it, and turn it into an official competition. "Official" meant that you had set players/teams a schedule of who was to play who, and most important of all, standings. Think of it like a "Punchball Little League", or a "Boxball US Open."
Koz usually set up the outdoor stuff like boxball and tried to keep it simple and fair. I still remember a box ball series where he and I played a really tough game for the finals and he just edged me out. Gluck set up the indoor games adding on all kinds of situations to make things difficult for the people he wanted to lose. For Nok Hockey, a game that I never mastered, he created 2 divisions, all of the good players (and me) in one division, all the poor to fair players in the other. I'd be knocked out of any competition early in the schedule, and he really enjoyed that.
To this day when I think back on that game with Koz it brings up a smile. Thirty years later, I'd still like to smack Gluck upside his head.
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