Saturday, July 02, 2005

A sunny quagnog day

It’s a beautiful day at the North Pole today.

The sun is breaking through the few clouds and the temperature is in the low 40s (F). Of course, at this time of the year, we have sunlight 24-hours a day.

It’s Saturday, a day to close the workshops and have some fun.

When the weather is like this, the elves like to play sports. Oh, they play all sorts of sports that I’ve encountered around the world – soccer, lacrosse, hockey, American football, cricket, baseball, and so on.

But the favorite game is quagnog.

I discovered quagnog about a century ago while visiting a fishing village in northern Russia. The fisherman there says they learned from Norwegian fisherman, who says they learned it from Canadian fisherman, who says they learned it from Native Americans.

Wherever it started, I taught it to the elves.

The game is simple.

There are two teams of usually 7, 9 or 11 players – fewer players and scoring becomes too easy, more and it becomes hard to score. (I do remember one marathon game that involved two teams of 37 players. It took two days for one team to win. Good thing we have long days in the summer!)

There are two goals, one for each team. The goals are round in shape about two feet across. They sit on a pole about three or four feet off the ground. They look like hand-held fishing nets with the handles stuck in the ground– which, in fact, what the first ones were.

There is one ball, just a little smaller than a basketball.

Players advance the ball by throwing it to a teammate. Once a player catches the ball, he or she is allowed to take two steps, but then has to stand still. Opponents can surround the player with the ball. They can try to bat the ball away or can try to block it when it is thrown. But they can’t touch the player with the ball. (Not that it doesn’t happen. A few elves have ended up in the infirmary because of intense games!)

Opponents can also try to catch the ball in mid-air when it is thrown, sometimes colliding with other players trying to catch the ball. Ever see a dozen elves lying on the ground in a heap?!

The teams score by throwing the ball through the goal. The first team to score 21 points wins.

There were several games today because of the nice weather. I watched the stable elves play the doll house elves. Cupid, who was feeling better, and Randall sat with me (he was feeling better, too), rooting for the stable elves.

I rooted for both sides (I can’t play favorites!), and the contest ended with both teams winning two games.


They would have played a tie-breaker, but the dinner bell rang.

We have priorities here!


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