An Offensive Game We Used to Play and How the Name Changed

I'm sorry.
  1. Warning. I used to play a game with a very offensive name. Please forgive me. I didn't realize how offensive it was at the time, and as soon as I figured out that it was offensive, I quit using the word.
    I grew up in a small, rural town that was pretty much full of hicks. I didn't know better, but eventually figured it out.
  2. When I was in 8th grade we used to play a game that was a sort of free for all tackle football game. Whomever had the football was it and got tackled by anyone and everyone.
  3. Before getting tackled you could run around crazily or toss the ball to a friend or just toss it up in the air, then you weren't it. But if you had the ball, you were it, and fair game for hardcore tackling.
  4. The game was called Smear The Queer. While I understood that queer meant homosexual, I didn't think that the use of queer in this setting was referring to a homosexual. Keep in mind, this was the brain of a 13 year old in 1977.
  5. So anyway, kids kept getting hurt, and crying. I remember crying one time, but passed it off as just pain tears, which was fairly true. I got slammed hard and had a headache for days. I probably had a concussion, really. But I didn't want people to think I was a wuss, so I just kept playing anyway.
  6. But other kids got hurt and cried and went to the office. Something had to be done.
  7. One morning the principal got on the schoolwide loudspeaker and made an announcement.
  8. He said, to the whole school...
  9. "Too many kids are getting hurt at recess. From now on, no more playing Smear The Queer. From now on you can only play Tag The Fag."
  10. I kid you not.
  11. Can you imagine a schoolwide announcement like this today? Mercy. Luckily we've evolved a bit since then. At least I have.
  12. Sadly the game had a very offensive name. I don't think any of us knew that it was anything more than mildly offensive at the time. To me, queer was basically just a cuss word. Like if you said The F Word, it didn't mean intercourse. It was just cussing. And Smear The Queer rhymed.
  13. It was a fun game with a bad name.
  14. I'm glad times have changed.