The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Smattering of methods for youthful picking, choosing


September 9, 2018

Picking and choosing was always interesting as I grew up. Sometimes chance was my best bet at winning or getting on a good team.

I remember a variety of ways of picking and choosing we practiced in my youth. One of the oldest was Eeny, meeny, miny, mo, with a tune that went around the circle of fists or shoes until it stopped on one person who would be eliminated or sent to a specific team. Sometimes though we picked team captains this way and then the captains picked their team in rotation. Either way, I was usually last, or close to it.

We also drew straws, drew names out of a hat or were asked to count off with ones, twos, threes and fours becoming teams.

If we were playing baseball the popular way of determining the home team was to toss a bat in the air and have one of the captains catch it. The other captain placed his hand above the first then vice-versa until one had his hand atop the end of the bat. I got pretty good at catching the top of the bat in the air, a move always viewed as unfair.

Other times to see which team got the ball first we would have someone hold out two fists — one containing a pebble, one empty. Pick the pebble, get the ball.

There was also the old-fashioned coin toss, still used at the start of every football game. We took tossing coins to other extremes when it came time for someone to buy the pop, however.

Everyone involved tossed a coin and covered it with the catch hand on the back of the other hand. Everyone held their hands together as the coins were uncovered. Odd man was out until you got down to three. Then the odd man bought for everyone.

We also pitched pennies for cokes with the persons whose coins landed closest to the wall winning and the worst pitch buying.

We also “lagged” on the pool table to decide the break. This was done with both players banking a ball off the far rail to see who could leave it closest to the near rail.

If we were playing card games we cut cards to see who would be the dealer. I’ve also seen big poker pots decided with a cut of the cards.

Lest you begin to think my youth was totally misspent, I prefer to say that it was actually an innocent way of learning to share and take turns.

There was a golden rule in our household but not the one you’re thinking of. It was in play when sharing a candy bar, dividing a coke or any other similar dilemma. If one of us did the halving, the other always got to do the choosing. If that didn’t work, rock, paper, scissors or a wrestling match would quickly break out.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: [email protected]


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