THE San Francisco Giants Blog

How We Used to Play “Kick the Can”

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on December 30, 2012

When we were kids we played a game called *kick the can*. While I know we didn’t invent the game, I assume our rules were unique to the way we played it on our street growing up in Portola Valley. Basically, 1 person was *It* and his job was to remain at home base (a big tree) and protect a coveted nearby can that the kids hiding were supposed to try to kick to win the game. To start the game, he had to cover his eyes and count to 20 while all the other players  hid. He was allowed call out, tag out or throw out a player. If he could see you from the tree and call out your name you were out. Poorly hidden players were often picked off early with this tactic. You could also get tagged out but *It* would obviously have to leave the base in order to do that. If he couldn’t tag you before you kicked the can, he was allowed to try to peg you with a dodge ball (he was allowed to carry 2 per game as his fire power) as a last ditch attempt to knock you out of the game. Face shots were not only legal but encouraged. And there was no greater indignation than losing the game by getting hit in the face with a fuckin’ dodge ball, lol.

The key to the game was to stay hidden well and to wait him out.  The game had a time limit of 5 minutes so he couldn’t just sit there hugging the base of the tree. At some point, he would have to leave his precious base and try to come find his prey. To signal to the hidden players that he was about to leave the base to come get you, he would have to yell out at the top of his lungs, “I’M GOING ON A JOURNEY!!!!!!!” When that happened, our peaceful little neighborhood would turn into a chaotic, disorganized mad dash to the can. All players revealed themselves and took off from all directions with a single destination in mind. You prayed that you (or one of your comrades) could get to that goddamn can before  you were tagged (or hit with a dodge ball). After he yelled *I’m going on a journey!!’ he was allowed to, at any time, return to base and begin trying to call out hidden kids once again. But he had to declare it by saying “I’m back from my journey!” to indicate to the other players that they must return to their hiding places. If you didn’t get hidden in time, he could call you out that way, too.

Anyway, that’s the childhood game that popped into my head when I heard about Blade’s *Around the World* trip that he’s leaving for on January 17th. He’s *going on a journey!!!!!*. And  he’s going to be writing a blog about it. I won’t detail it here, you have to go to his blog if you want to read more about it. I encourage you to bookmark it but I will also have a link to it in the blogroll to the right………

Steve, we are all looking forward to following along with you on your trip and I speak for everyone when I say that I’m looking forward to the day you say “I’m back from my journey.” Safe travels, my man…….


53 Responses

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  1. ewisco said, on December 30, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    we didn’t play kick the can but i used to walk to school and i often kicked a can or a rock all the way there and all the way back. it made the walk a bit more interesting.

  2. willedav said, on December 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    another of the signs kids spend too much time inside and on computers would be their reactions to this game, which I’m sure they find neanderthal.
    My 3 HS buddies and I used to play 2 on 2 everything–football on a short (maybe 60 yrd) field 3 complete passes for a first down, baseball with invisible runners and closed half of diamond/pticher’s mound =first base for an out, and b-ball 2 on 2 games to 100 points. Board games too, but there were also great wiffle ball games in the street, often 2 on 2 or with 3 guys –one P, one fielder, with distance markers for length of hits. Night football under street lights with a little ball you could catch with one hand if there was a sleepover planned.
    No one was afraid of riding a bike somewhere you could play, or just walking. And zero adults were involved in any of the planning or playing of any of the above, except to complain if you got hurt or were late to dinner.

  3. blade3colorado said, on December 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Flav, thank you very much for publicizing my blog. No idea if it will get any traffic, but regardless – I have a place to let my friends and family know what I am up to, while being out of the country.

    Regarding the Flap, I didn’t want to sully these sacred pages (seriously) with my travelogue. Also, thank you for the link shout out in the “Blogroll.” Much appreciated!

    • Flavor said, on December 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      yeah, well it’s Winter and your upcoming trip is about the most interesting thing we’ve got going these days. Tip: Upload a bunch of photos. They speak volumes.
      Can’t wait to follow your blog.

      • blade3colorado said, on December 30, 2012 at 3:06 pm

        Question – walk me through the linking of my blog and facebook and twitter. Do I have to do something every time I post a thread or can I set this up automatically?

        I wasted about an hour trying to upload a New Zealand map picture via my MacPro laptop this morning . . . Fast forward to moving over to my PC – mission accomplished in less than the proverbial nano second. Who said Apples are easy to use? I should practice posting on my Samsung Tablet, which is what I will have on my trip.

      • Flavor said, on December 30, 2012 at 6:24 pm

        I only have PC’s so I don’t know how to upload anything with a Mac.
        If you want to have it link to facebook I THINK you have to do it manually every time. I don’t know for sure. I rarely post my threads to my facebook page, maybe 1 in 20……….

  4. Bozo said, on December 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    That may have been the first time that I’ve ever rooted for the Vikings.

    Week off, enough time for Justin Smith to be able to go?

    • Flavor said, on December 30, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      no way. He’d be playing with one arm. I’d rather take Rickey-Jean and his 2 good ones…….

    • chipower9 said, on December 31, 2012 at 9:09 am

      All indications (from this article in today’s Chron) are that Smith will play (he says so in the second paragraph). If he can be effective then hell yes. Maybe he and RJ tag-team the game. Will be interesting to see what happens there.

  5. willedav said, on December 30, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    I heard this one today watching raiders/chargers—Jets would be very interested in Norv for the offensive co job. What are the odds he gets reunited with Alex Smith, who looked pretty damn good right before Norv left SF O co job….

  6. pawliekokonuts said, on December 30, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Looking fwd to Blade’s Around the World Adventure. Today in Conn. — again — I showed my ailing mom pics from my WS adventure and came upon pics of the chicks at Aunt Mary’s. Yummy. I will email Blade and Magnus, maybe Ted if he behaves.

    • blade3colorado said, on December 30, 2012 at 6:52 pm

      I was floored when I saw them . . . Another reason/reminder you gave me for self-recrimination in not making the trip. Sigh.

      • pawliekokonuts said, on December 30, 2012 at 7:24 pm

        . . .and imagine my self-recrimination for not approaching them for…. NEVER MIND. A non-starter for 10,000 reasons.

    • blade3colorado said, on December 30, 2012 at 6:55 pm

      . . . Not only would I have gone out there had I known you were going to write a book about this trip, I would have been outrageous and wild to score a bigger starring role in your book. 😉

    • chipower9 said, on December 31, 2012 at 9:12 am

      Would love to see those pictures. I think you should have my email from “stable boy” emails. If not, I will shoot you an email. Tried like hell to finish your book last night…long weekend of agility with the dogs…and I was just too dog-tired. Will certainly finish it today and will post a review on Amazon. Thoroughly enjoying it so far…it has been a fun little read, and I am so happy you had the opportunity to make the trek both in 2010 and this year.

  7. pawliekokonuts said, on December 30, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Magnus, I’m trying to collate my haiku entries here. Doing a search fromm the upper-right corner search bar yielded very little. Do you know a better way. BTW, were YOU annoyed by one of the Longhorns’ coaches’ antics? Maybe the D coach. Sheeesh.

    • ewisco said, on December 30, 2012 at 7:37 pm

      I was annoyed. right, i’m a “dad” coach and all that but there are standards. and jumping around like a lunatic isn’t one of them. How are you going to impress your players with the need to stay focused and only celebrate when the game is over if you’re jumping around chest bumping people? When we won the city flag football championship, granted not a bowl game, my guys shook hands with the officials, shook hands with the other team and then came off the field. sure we were excited. i had tears in my eyes because that’s the last game i will coach. but i also could not have been prouder of who we were and how we won and how we conducted ourselves. they ARE a reflection of me and was i extremely proud.

      • chipower9 said, on December 31, 2012 at 9:14 am

        Good on you (and your players, Eric). The way it should be!

  8. paulinasia said, on December 30, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Happy new year to all Flappers everywhere (it’s new year’s eve morning here). Hope you enjoyed 2012 (I know you did, for at least one reason) and hope 2013 is even better for even more reasons. And Steve, you bet we’ll be checking out your blog. And baseball season starts while you’re “on the road”, so I’m guessing you’ll find a time or two to appear here. Flappers, I’m going to try to get to Bangkok to meet up with Steve for an evening or two, my work schedule permitting, sometime in February. Should be a hoot and a holler. Whatever that means. Enjoy!

    • chipower9 said, on December 31, 2012 at 9:15 am

      Hoot and Holler? The names of two Bangkok hotties? Insert gay-assed smiley face, here.

      • blade3colorado said, on December 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm

        lol . . . I just read this. Funny Chi.

    • twinfan1 said, on December 31, 2012 at 9:31 am


  9. snarkk said, on December 30, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Blade – I shot you a comment on your new travel blog, I think on the third entry you have. I was in NZ over 20 years ago. Both islands for a good 6-7 weeks, after I had been in Oz for 2 months. What I remember about NZ:
    1. 70 million sheep. I’m sure you’ll do better, you won’t be lonely. Pubs in Auukland should offer you good “hunting”.
    2. Steinlager. Local Brown Ales.
    3. Rotorua. Touristy, but the volcanic/mudpots/hot pools areas are worth a visit. Definitely DO go to one of the Maori “hangis”, I think they call them. It’s a show. Multiple ones in Rotorua, kind of like the Hawaiian luau with a show, but more authentic. Ask around for the least touristy one. You’ll enjoy it, really.
    4. Great trout fishing. I fish, so I enjoyed it. ALL rainbow trout in NZ are descendants of California rainbows. CA fingerling rainbows were brought over in barrels in the late 1800s, I believe. Trout heaven.
    5. North of Auckland is an area often overlooked. Whangarei and Bay of Islands. Nice, warm. Snorkel/sail/dive. There was a Vietnamese restaurant on the waterfront in Whangarei — best I’ve ever had.
    6. South Island is unbelievably gorgeous, mountainous, and beaches great, too. But, water colder than up North, naturally.
    7. Did I say Steinlager, and local Brown Ales? (although, I’m trying to remember, you may not be a drinker?).
    8. Marlborough Sound areas. Wine heaven, gorgeous even if you don’t want to taste.
    9. Abel Tasman area hiking. Overlooked, beautiful.
    10. I know you said it looks like you won’t do Milford track, but even if not, go down there and check out the Sound. Breathtaking, just to take a boat trip out on the Sound. Like Norway fjords, maybe better. Pet a Kiwi bird for me (watch it, they can be tricky and pick your pocket or your lunch)….

    Have a great trip. Jealous here…

    • blade3colorado said, on December 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      I just read it and all of it is great information . . . Along with Italy and France, I have 3 weeks in New Zealand, so I will refer back to your list and try to hit as many of your suggestions as possible. Also, I read your email regarding Oz. Only two weeks there, but I will be flying into Sydney and make my way down to Brisbane, where I catch a flight to Thailand and hopefully meet Paul for a 2-3 days. Paul will be my . . . umm, “Spiritual Mentor” so to speak. Grin.

      I have plenty of questions for you snarkk, but getting late here in Colorado, so will touch base with you tomorrow.

  10. gianthead said, on December 31, 2012 at 8:43 am

    OK, Happy New Year everyone and hopefully you all had a great christmas…DC is a mess with these politicians royally mucking everything up…

    But the game we grew up playing at elementary school was a game called Nation Ball. We always thought our elementary school was the only place on the face of the earth that played the game. Has anyone heard of it?

    It is basically a modified dodge ball game played on a court of two large squares. One team occupied one square and the other team the other square while there was a “goalie” for each team at the end of square box. The goal of the game would be to knock out every player on the other team with a dodge ball and you would be knocked out if the ball hit any part of your body. The one caveat was that you were allowed to catch the ball and if you did you could then run up to the edge of your box and fire a shot at an opposing player.

    You would use your goalie to catch a missed shot aimed at one of the other teams and then the goalie then could fire a shot as well. If you got knocked out, then you would stand at the end of the box with your team’s goalie and you could still catch the ball and try and kncok someone out. The first person who started as goalie could enter the game at any time after another person on their team got knocked out. It was always a dramatic moment when the original goalie (who usually was one of the better jocks) entered the game and the bigger the jock the longer they would wait to enter the game….

    There would be great battles where one player would be left on each team and as one player had the ball and fire it at the other as the opponent fled as far back in the box as they could get and either dodge the shot or try to catch it and then race up to the edge of their box to get as best a shot as possible at the remaining player. The mark of honor was when you could inflict some pain on your shot with a head shot or even better try and time your shot as your opponent was leaping in the air and try and knock them off their feet and they would land with a nice thud on the ground.

    There would be games during recess where there would be 30 kids on each team running around their respective boxes as chickens with their heads cut off. Best memory of elementary school besides our touch football games with our old principle and the one or two male teachers that existed.

  11. twinfan1 said, on December 31, 2012 at 9:12 am


  12. chipower9 said, on December 31, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Cool thread, Flavor. It is fun to reflect on those times and all the games we played as kids. Fun stuff.

    Here are some of the games we played as kids (not an extensive list – we played LOTS of games…all outdoors)…

    We never played “kick the can” as kids, but played damned near every other game under the sun. We did play versions of “hide and seek” and this was popular, as it was one of the games we played with the girls in the neighborhood.

    We played a version of baseball with a kick ball. You either threw/kicked the ball to a baseman to tag the runner out, or you could take them out on the basepaths by either kicking or throwing the ball to hit them. Otherwise…the rules of baseball applied.

    We played touch football on the street under the street lights. Basketball (with whatever number we could get to play). We also used to have some great wiffle ball games. And since we often did not have enough to field a team to cover all the positions/baserunners, we played with ghost runners.

    And we also played tackle football games in the mud. It is amazing that no one ever got seriously hurt or broke any bones. (It wasn’t until I was an adult, playing tackle on New Year’s Day in 1983 that I broke a collar bone playing tackle football. My son had been born in December, and needless to say, my wife was not amused with me having only one functioning wing.)

    And we used to have sandlot games where we would have full teams. We played games sun-up until sun-down. Damn those were fun times.

    Similar to Eric, a friend and I used to kick rocks along the road between our houses and the bus stop. The goal was to kick the rock as far as you could without it going “out of bounds” (off the road). The road was asphalt without curbs. When your rock went OB, you placed it at the spot where it went out, and kicked it again. First to the bus stop won.

    I will be looking forward to following Steve’s blog. We’ve swapped a few notes on FB. Make sure you post lots of pictures, Blade…especially those couple of days in Thailand with Paul. 😉

    • blade3colorado said, on December 31, 2012 at 11:04 am

      I will Chi. In fact, I just threw up a new thread where I answer the question, “Why are you going alone?” I included three lovely reasons that are stated in a picture. Ha.

      Anywho, check it out if you get a chance

  13. twinfan1 said, on December 31, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Never played “kick the can”. We had a perfect ball field where I grew up and lots of kids to play. 0ur season roughly mirrored the pro one but we played dawn to dusk and often beyond in the summer. I played Little League too, but this pick up game was far more fun. Probably more fun than anything ever. Rivaled my first kiss…Winter fun was cardboarding down the snowy hills.

  14. unca_chuck said, on December 31, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Jailbreak was the game that was epic. And we’d have 8-12 kids per side. No one’s backyard was out of bounds. Except for the ones with dogs. The games would last a couple three hours easy.

    Kick the can, 3 flies up, 3 on 3 (or 2 on 2) football, bike riding for miles and miles.

    • unca_chuck said, on December 31, 2012 at 6:52 pm

      Then, of course, smoking and drinking.

  15. zumiee said, on December 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Have a safe World Tour, Blade. We look forward to hearing about your travels. Flappers are out there getting things done. Writing books, traveling the world. An ambitious lot!

    • blade3colorado said, on December 31, 2012 at 7:45 pm

      Thank you Zum . . . Getting quite a bit of good info from Snarkk with regard to NZ and Oz. However, the real important stuff will come from Paul in Thailand. HEHEHE 😉

  16. unca_chuck said, on December 31, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    That sounds awesome, Blade. Have a great time.

    • blade3colorado said, on December 31, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      Thanks Chuck . . . Appreciate it. By the by, I went to your Facebook page and saw all the pictures you and your son took at the Niner game yesterday or at least I think they were pics from yesterday. You have an excellent eye (or did he take the pics?). Regardless, one of you should be working the sidelines taking pictures for the Chronicle. Oh, one question – how in the fuck did you score those seats? It looks like you guys are right on the 50 yard line and up close with good sight lines. Must be inheritance, huh?

  17. twinfan1 said, on December 31, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I don’t know if he paid full price, but if ever a guy had a Million Dollar Smile, it’s Joe Biden.

  18. twinfan1 said, on December 31, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    I was more intrigued by Blade’s “around the world” tour before I realized he was leaving home for it…
    Have a good time anyway..

    • blade3colorado said, on December 31, 2012 at 8:15 pm

      Grin. I will Twin. Right now my biggest concern is trying to cram all the shit snarkk has suggested I see in Oz in a two week period. Almost like stuffing 50lbs of shit in a 25lb capacity bag.

      • snarkk said, on December 31, 2012 at 8:45 pm

        I forgot to give you the other suggestion.
        Find one awesome Sheila in the Sydney airport arrivals lounge. Do that for two weeks… 😉

      • blade3colorado said, on December 31, 2012 at 9:11 pm

        Does Sheila have a number or do I have to do the foot work on that?

  19. Bozo said, on December 31, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Although an entertaining game, IMO, LSU just got robbed, lubed and fucked by some escaped zebras.

    • willedav said, on January 1, 2013 at 8:01 am

      agreed, but their last drive goes running play for good yardage and then, with the lead and the clock running, two consecutive passing plays both of which fell incomplete that forced punt to give clemson the ball back…very suspect play calling by Miles and obviously poor execution of same.

  20. Bozo said, on December 31, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Paulinasia and my main guy, Edd are probably drunk right now. I’m not sure about mac, GH. Pawlie or even Mr. Loo, but from my little wet spot on the East Coast, I’d like to send out a very HNY to all of Flap Nation. Although I live in Hurricane Alley and a Giants fan for many years, my biggest hopes for this year are – 1) Water and flood muck do not enter my house and 2) The Giants win another one!!!
    Keep Flapping and cheers all.

  21. snarkk said, on December 31, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Second that motion, Clown.
    May 2013 be another great year for the Giants and their fans around the world.
    Happy New Year! to Flappers, all their loved ones, and to All…

  22. paulinasia said, on December 31, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Bozo, when you wrote that, I was still sipping my morning coffee on new year’s morning here…. 🙂 yes, keep on flappin’ in the new year……. I’m sure Neil Young won’t mind.

  23. eddacker said, on January 1, 2013 at 1:18 am

    Bozo, when I read that, I was still sipping my morning coffee on new year’s morning here…. it is very continental 🙂
    Thanks to all of you who share my winter suffering with no baseball, may we all engage 2013 in a Flap-Happy way.


  24. willedav said, on January 1, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Hey Boz, I was listening to live NPR broadcast of Wynton Marsalis and his group playing trad stuff last night, really nice, ended with “St. James” Infirmary”. Then they went to Chicago for a set by a gal Ive never heard of, Dee alexander. Her band is piano, cello, guitar and two bassists, and they do Hendrix music–“I don’t know” “purple haze”, “hey joe” “fire”…really different arrangements, and the songs all flowed into each other.

    • blade3colorado said, on January 1, 2013 at 7:59 am

      There was a bar in Mountain View that I always went to back in the 1980s called St. James Infirmary. No idea if it’s still there. Wild and eclectic place, plenty of fights, with all sorts of things hanging from the ceiling and hung on the walls. If you spilled a beer, no biggie because the entire floor had peanut shells and sand spread on it.

      • willedav said, on January 1, 2013 at 8:07 am

        oh yeah, I remember that dump, classic dive bar in its day. From what I understand, the roots of that song go back to England, and there never was such a place actually in Nawlins.

      • eddacker said, on January 1, 2013 at 8:19 am

        from wiki:
        “St. James Infirmary Blues” is based on an 18th century traditional English folk song called “The Unfortunate Rake” (also known as “The Unfortunate Lad” or “The Young Man Cut Down in His Prime”), about a soldier who uses his money on prostitutes, and then dies of a venereal disease. Variations typically feature a narrator telling the story of a young man “cut down in his prime” (occasionally, a young woman “cut down in her prime”) as a result of morally questionable behaviour. For example, when the song moved to America, gambling and alcohol became common causes of the youth’s death. There are numerous versions of the song throughout the English-speaking world. It evolved into other American standards such as “The Streets of Laredo.”

        The title is derived from St. James Hospital in London, a religious foundation for the treatment of leprosy. It was closed in 1532 when Henry VIII acquired the land to build St. James Palace.

        The song was first collected in England in its version as “The Unfortunate Rake” by Henry Hammond by a Mr. William Cutis at Lyme Regis, Dorset in March 1906.

      • Bozo said, on January 1, 2013 at 8:32 am

        I’ve also heard that the song was a variation of the song “The Unfortunate Rake” and that it originated in Edd’s wet spot of the world.
        There was a Saint James hotel in NOLA that became a hospital for the Union during the Civil War but it went back to being a hotel after the war (or so I’ve read).

  25. Bozo said, on January 1, 2013 at 8:24 am

    HNY willie. Dee Alexander’s name sounds familiar but I’d think I’d remember her with that instrumentation. I’ll check her out.
    Although technically a great horn player, I’ve never really warmed up to Wynton. I’ve seen his dad a bunch of times and his brother Delfeayo Marsalis is a huge favorite of mine but for some reason Wynton’s live show has never done it for me (although I’ve seen some footage of him teaching kids and it was great). Now Dizzy, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown and Lester Bowie kill me, cracked/missed notes and all (in Lester’s case some of that is on purpose).

  26. Bozo said, on January 1, 2013 at 9:11 am

    So speaking of St James Infirmary and trumpet players, how about some Kermit?

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