Real Real Bajan Games

Over the years, Bar­ba­di­ans have adopted many games as their own. These include rounders, pitch­ing mar­bles, hop­scotch, and warri. How­ever, how many of the games cur­rently played across the island have actu­ally orig­i­nated in Bar­ba­dos? The answer is: not very many. In this arti­cle, we will fea­ture look at those pop­u­lar games with ori­gins in Barbados.

Strictly Bajan

Road Ten­nis

maxresdefault1This was invented in Bar­ba­dos in the 1930s. Road ten­nis is very sim­i­lar to reg­u­lar ten­nis, but played on a smaller court, usu­ally marked on the road, and with smaller rack­ets (the rack­ets are wooden pad­dles, slightly larger than a table ten­nis racket). This game is also referred to as a cross or blend between table and lawn ten­nis. It is played with a ten­nis ball, with its fur and the net (as dis­played in the image) is a long piece of wood. Road ten­nis has been rec­og­nized as a national sport since 1976, ad has its own asso­ci­a­tion: The Bar­ba­dos Road Ten­nis Asso­ci­a­tion, who arrange many com­pe­ti­tions through­out the year.

As the name implies, the objec­tive of this game is to “cork” a player. An indi­vid­ual throws a soft­ball ball high in the air (or “skies” it as the Bajans would say) and then as it falls, every­one scram­bles to retrieve it. The per­son who retrieves the ball must then attempt to cork a per­son with it, that is, they try to strike the per­son who is the eas­i­est tar­get. This game may sound dan­ger­ous, but there is always a ver­bal agree­ment that one should take care not to cork some­one in a sen­si­tive area of the body.

Hon­or­able Mention

The fol­low­ing game was not invented in Bar­ba­dos, but rather has its roots in Africa. How­ever it has a very pop­u­lar adap­ta­tion known as:

Bajan Stick Lick­ing

62934121This is an adap­ta­tion of Stick Fight­ing, a mar­tial art with roots in Africa. This was brought to Bar­ba­dos when the African slaves were imported to the island. When prac­ticed in Bar­ba­dos, stick lick­ing involved a straight, fire hard­ened stick made from hard­wood from trees such as the guava tree. Stick lick­ing con­tests in Bar­ba­dos are called sei­tus and were held on week­ends and Bank Hol­i­days in the island.

While many of the games played in Bar­ba­dos may not have orig­i­nated on the island, it is exam­ples such as Stick Lick­ing that show that Bajans have their own unique way of adapt­ing pop­u­lar games to their own styles based on their cul­ture. Exam­ples such as road ten­nis how­ever, and its grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity and recog­ni­tion across the island, exem­plify how tal­ented Bar­ba­di­ans are at cre­at­ing their own inventions.

© Photo 1 taken from Ytimg​.com
© Photo 2 taken from Panorami​.com
© Arti­cle of caribbe​an​dreams​magazine​.com

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