An Offensive Game We Used to Play and How the Name Changed
- •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.
- •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.
- •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.
- •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.
- •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.
- •But other kids got hurt and cried and went to the office. Something had to be done.
- •One morning the principal got on the schoolwide loudspeaker and made an announcement.
- •He said, to the whole school...
- •"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."
- •I kid you not.
- •Can you imagine a schoolwide announcement like this today? Mercy. Luckily we've evolved a bit since then. At least I have.
- •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.
- •It was a fun game with a bad name.
- •I'm glad times have changed.