While mowing my lawn last month on a rare sunny day, I watched a neighbor and his family enjoy a game of cornhole in their backyard.
I couldn't help but chuckle. Times sure have changed, I thought to myself, as I watched this family take turns lobbing what was more-or-less bean bags (actually they're filled with corn) at a hole cut in a homemade wooden platform with an Ohio State logo painted on it.
Why did it strike me funny? Well, besides the fact that I can't decide which is sillier – the name 'cornhole' or the game itself – I was reminded of the fact that when I was a kid growing up on Skyline Drive in the 1960's, my siblings and I used to play a lawn game that was so dangerous that some children sadly got killed while playing it. Remember Jarts?
The game was simple and was a combination of darts and horseshoes. You assembled what looked like hula-hoops for a targets, placed them on the ground, and then tossed the large, heavy Jarts at them, competing to get inside or closest to the ring.
A game of Jarts looked like this (below) except that I don't think our shorts were that short.
|Image courtesy of www.retro-cafe.com|
I hadn't thought about Jarts for years until they were deemed dangerous and banned from manufacture and/or resale in the United States in 1988. There are quite a few articles and links online about the accidental deaths of a few children. This video story from Canadian TV (about one man's efforts to have the product banned due to his daughter's tragic death) is particularly heart-breaking.
Playing Jarts was just another one of those things – like riding our bikes without wearing helmets, or careening around on roller skates without wearing pads – that somehow we managed to do without seriously injuring ourselves.