modern game of quoits, played with the sharp-edged, concave iron
rings, is peculiarly adapted to wider use in country and
town. It is a friendly game, free from too intense
strivings and the ill feeling of doubtful decisions, yet
affording attractive test of muscle and nerve. This inherent
friendliness cannot well be appreciated by one who has never
taken memorable part, or been much in the groups of onlookers.
It is told that men who play together at quoits cannot long hold
grudges or unsettled disputes. It seems to breed fairness and
social equality, comradeship and laughter, and a strain of clean
and wholesome thought and talk. Many a neighborhood dates a
distinct betterment from the time of its introduction.
family containing boys and an old man usually starts it in the
place. The peculiar clinking sound of the rings in play, or
struck as they are for a special gathering call, may be heard on
a quiet summer evening for a long distance.
four playing, and a half dozen looking critically on, the game
is at its best. Almost anyone possessing one hand and from nine
to ninety years of age may play well at quoits. Girls enjoy it,
especially with the lighter weights. It is one of the too few
outdoor games in which middle-aged and old men may join on equal
footing with the youths and keep alive the play-spirit that
holds back decrepitude.
times the game may take on even the larger group significance.
At a county fair, after two days of ‘‘pitching,’’ the
championship hung between a boy of sixteen and a veteran of
sixty. It worked out to be one of the best events of the fair,
and surely a character-building test for that youngster from the
hills. Hundreds of people tried to see the finish, where, with
five points apiece in the “rubber” game, the boy dared too
much and the old man, to the accompaniment of cheers for both,
won with a
well-judged safety throw.
quoits of good weight should he provided, and metal hubs with
slight if any heads, kept driven rather low. The pitching
distance should be short - from sixteen to twenty feet - and
always the same for any group. This gives the player clear view
of the minute and changing conditions about the objective point
and makes the game one of testing nerve and muscle control
rather than strength, as in the old far-casting play. The
frequent bending to pick up and the throw of the heavy rings
give healthful, moderate exercise.
best pitching ground is usually the firm, level border of a dirt
road, or a well-packed yard free from stones; but one of the
main advantages of the game is that it can be played almost
anywhere on land, and that every new location, even in the same
area, brings different problems. A youth once practising alone
on hard ground developed the sliding and jumping trick with the
inverted quoit, and, coming out quietly, defeated all his
elders, until they insisted on playing half the time on soft
turf, while they learned his tricks.
remarkable skill is soon developed, and the game, like golf,
‘takes hold.’ It is not uncommon in a contest of experts to
see a player by a single throw, on firm ground, displace his
opponent’s 'ringer' and slide his own on in its stead, maybe
to have this lifted away at the next throw. Now and then a game
of eleven points is won in four tosses, to be long replayed by
the shortening autumn evenings, with the stress of work abated,
lanterns are often brought out and placed at either hub, and the
game goes on with un-slackened interest, while the children play
in and out of the light circles and the women come together and
chat, or listen from their homes with contentment to the
intermittent clinking and the explosions of cheerful voices and
laughter. People driving by pause a while to watch, and all know
that the day is ending neighborly and well.