There was a time, in the deep and distant past, where kids actually played out in the streets.
You came home from school, changed out of your uniform and headed outside, usually with a football in tow.
Given that we have basically no urban green space – and signs saying “no ball games” on the bits that do exist – most of us played headers and volleys against walls, while avoiding traffic, trying not to put windows through and doing that weird thing when you have to crab the ball out from behind a car wheel.
In fact, I’d hazard a guess that if they gave up the World Cup and replaced it with competitive headers and volleys, then England would be basically invincible.
Now one of the interesting bits of this great unorganised sport is the regional variations in the rules.
This isn’t a new thing. We only decided on the rules of proper football about 120 years ago and before that there were hundreds of regional footballs around.
One of the upshots of this is that nobody really knows the unified rules of headers and volleys. What we can all agree on, however, is how it ends.
The loser, whoever it may be, would find themselves with their hands around their ankles while all other players took turns to ping footballs off their arse.
But what is this peculiar childhood favourite called? Well, prior to this morning, I thought it was called Red Arse, as everyone where I grew up called it that.
Social media, however, is in uproar about the correct naming of it. Apparently, there are weirdos out there who think that it’s called Bums. And then there are even weirder folks who apparently call it Bum Whack. Or Stingers.
Now I’m sure we can all get on and play nice, but real talk: this is called Red Arse.
And don’t even start me on Wembley Knockout: the every kid for themselves free for all where you all shoot at the one net.
Apparently, Scottish people call it World Cuppie. Admittedly, that sounds better than calling it Hampden Knockout, and might legitimately be the closest that Scottish people get to the World Cup.
Irish people also call it World Cup, while I’ve even heard southern English people call it FA Cup, which is just plain confusing. Like isn’t there already a perfectly good FA Cup?
Kids are weird. And it’s called Red Arse.
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