Where did hopscotch come from? - Kyle

PICTURE: Adrian (www.sxc.hu)

"Some of the original hopscotch courses were more than 30 metres long and Roman soldiers would apparently complete them in full kit - that’s carrying armour, weapons and field packs."

Hopscotch is a childrens' game based on people hopping and jumping their way through a “court” which consists of lines drawn or scratched on the ground, often with chalk and often in a pattern of adjoining squares (although the pattern can vary widely).

Participants throw a stone or marker of some sort onto the court's first square and then hop their way through it without touching lines and avoiding the marker square. They then must travel in reverse, stopping to pick up the stone before finishing.

The marker is then thrown onto the next square and the person continues. Losing their balance, stepping on a line or completing the sequence out of order forfeits the turn.

Hopscotch apparently began life in Roman Britain when it was used by Roman footsoldiers as a training exercise, in an idea similar to that of the tyre courses we see used by soldiers in training today.

Some of the original hopscotch courses were more than 30 metres long and Roman soldiers would apparently complete them in full kit - that’s carrying armour, weapons and packs.

Children, seeing the activity, imitated what the soldiers were doing, created a scoring system and so the game of hopscotch was born.

The word itself comes from “hop” meaning to jump” and escocher, an Old French word meaning ”to cut” or “scratch” (as in “scotch a rumour”).

The game, and variations of it, is known by different names around the world, including “marelles” in France, “pico” in Vietnam and “rayuela” in Argentina.

SOURCES AND FOR MORE:

~ www.streetplay.com/thegames/hopscotch.htm

~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hopscotch

~ www-cs.canisius.edu/~salley/Articles/hopscotch.html

If you have a word you'd like to know the origins of, simply send an email to [email protected].

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