What a game! For those of you who have never heard or experienced the game, here is a little run down of how to play, how to win and how to make a decent living if you fancy turning professional. These are the rules that we played this weekend:
Step 1 – Stick selection
We made our way to the river at the weekend and selected our sticks. Although seemingly insignificant, it is an enormous part of the game and one that my 2 year old son has to learn. He was quite happy finding the nearest, stubby sticks that were so short that you could barely call them sticks. I meanwhile spent several minutes testing the buoyancy, flexibility and scent of the wood to find the perfect vessel.
Step 2 – The launch
Depending on the age of the participants this can either be a timed or spontaneous event. With a 2 year old, everything is spontaneous so my 3 second countdown became useless as he launched his sticks from the bank before I had even said “2”. I quickly threw mine in afterwards.
Step 3 – The chase
What followed was initial excitement as the sticks begin to move downstream and then boredom as my son could no longer be bothered to keep track of his stick and was more intent on finding stones to throw into the river. The game of pooh sticks then became even more exciting as I tried to keep track of 2 sticks whilst ensuring that my son wasn’t going to kill himself or throw stones that could alter the natural outcome of the game.
Step 4 – The result
By this time, any interest in the result had long gone and so it was left to me to watch his initial stubby stick float to victory. What made defeat even more painful was that the victory was not acknowledged. Still, it’s only a game and a very good one at that.
Overall: A brilliantly simple game that will never ever get tiring. I envisage playing this for years to come. There is no limit on age although younger players will find that older players are far too competitive over what at the end of the day is a stick in water. 9/10
So get out to a river near you, find some sticks and get poohing!