How to Play Ball-Tig

This is a game Alex devised to add a bit of spice to the otherwise somewhat monotonous routine of jumping up and down on a trampoline. Here’s what you need:

  • One trampoline – the bigger the better. You need one with a net around the edge. Safety-obsessed Britain is a good place to get one of these.
  • At least one ball, but two works better. If there is more than one ball, they need to be identifiably different. We’ve had green and red tennis balls before (both long lost), and we currently have a mini soccer ball (named ‘White’) and a small coloured ball with numbers on it (named ‘Numbers’). Experienced players looking for some hard-core ball-tig action can try three balls.
  • At least two people, but less than five. Any more than four leads to the trampoline being a somewhat hazardous playground. And safety-obsessed Britain frowns upon those.

The last person on to the trampoline is ‘it’. This is key, because it’s usually always me – I’m too dignified to join in the mad rush.  So to start off, the ‘it’ person will be White and Numbers. Or Red and Green, or whatever your balls are called. 

Then, with all participants jumping about, the ‘it’ person tries to touch the others by kicking the ball that he’s it with towards them. If the ball touches them, they’re it with that ball. This applies whether or not the touch was as a result of a kick, or whether the ball just happened to touch you. This is the benefit of two balls – it’s a lot harder to stay away from both of them simultaneously.

At any point in time, you could be it with one, the other, or both balls – and at least one person needs to keep track of who is it with each of the balls.

Other rules:

  • No using the hands to throw, knock or otherwise propel any of the balls. Ever.
  • No pushing, shoving, or double-jumping. Much.
  • The game is over when a) all participants agree that they’ve had enough, or b) someone cries.

We tend not to have a winner, but if you’re the sort of person that requires that sort of thing, it’s easy enough to tally up the number of times each person was it. Add a bit of complexity by assigning different values to each ball (1 point for White, 2 points for Numbers – least points at the end of the game wins). 

If you’re still reading this, and are wondering what this has to do with England at all – here’s the deal. If you’re in the South of England, you refer to the game as ‘Tag’. If you grew up in the North, you refer to it as ‘Tig’. I grew up with it as ‘Catch catch’. I’m not sure where the borderline between North and South is in this instance (it’s usually somewhere in the Midlands) but we’re southish Midlands, and it’s a firmly Tig area. There’s a lot of things that differentiate Southerners from Northerners – many of which cause a fair bit of argument and horseplay – but this little one is probably the least significant of them all.

I’ve just googled ball tig to see if it’s an already established term, and I’d advise you not to do the same. In particular, stay away from the Urban Dictionary link that comes up…
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