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Playing `Kick the Can'

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I HAVE to say it: If you haven't played ``Kick Can'' you haven't lived. You don't have to call it that. In some places it's called ``Kick the Can'' or ``Kick the Tin.'' In Sydney, Australia, there are kids who know it as ``I-acky.'' It's played all over the world in slightly different forms, in Germany, France, Holland. In Britain (where I live) it has been given all kinds of local names - things like ``Tin Can Tommy'' and ``Kicky-Off-Choff-Choff'' and ``Tin in t' Ring.''

I'd be surprised if you don't know the basic rules. But to remind you (if you're a 104 and it's slipped your memory for a moment):

You need ...

(1) An empty tin can.

(2) As many players as you can get together.

(3) A fine long summer evening.

(4) Bags of energy.

It also helps, if you happen to be the unfortunate Keeper of the Can or ``seeker'' (or ``canner,'' ``den keeper,'' ``slave,'' or just plain ``it'') to have a good loud voice, eyes on four sides of your head and a v-e-r-y sus-pi-cious na-ture. Also it's quite useful if you are not inclined to despair too easily, because your job is absolutely impossible. Well, difficult, anyway.

First you put your can in the middle of the largest open space you can find. You could draw a chalk circle around it. That's where it belongs. Next you put your right foot on it, close your eyes, and count a hundred. This is to give time for all the other players to disappear off the face of the earth. Depending on where you are playing, this means they hide behind garbage containers, cars, down alleyways, the other side of doors or walls, in the bushes, behind fat tree trunks, at the back of the house.

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