Wednesday, January 10, 1990

I was really never that good at kugelach...

Most (Id believe a solid 99.999 percent of you) have never heard of kugelach (ku - gil - uch!) but for those that have, you will nod in agreement for most of this post. The simple concept of kugelach is a simple game of podular dexterity. Five square, metal cubes, roughly a half an inch to each side, are all that is necessary for the game. One must take the "kugs" and throw them, scattered, onto the elementary school classroom floor. The first round, or "onesies" if you will is rather simple. You pick up a single kug to be designated the game cube and keep it in your hand. You must then retrieve the other kugs in a specific manner. Firstly, you throw the game cube into the air. While this kug is airborne, you must snatch a single kug from the floor without disturbing the placement of any others, and catch the airborne kug before it lands. Perform this feat three more times (four cubes total) to move onto "twosies." Now twosies is a little more tricky, because you have to pick up two kugs at a time before the game cube lands. Threesies demands the snatching of three kugs simultaneously while foursies... Well you get it. This may seem simple, but also realize that skill is necessary even when scattering the kugs. If they are too close in onesies you may disturb the placement of one while reaching for another. In twosies you need to have two sets of twos, etc... The point is, it gets complicated and finger, wrist, and elbow dexterity are all necessary as well as proper planning skills and calloused palms to match the sharp-edged cubes.

Now I know what the girls are saying, "that game sounds exactly like jacks," to which I respond: "shut up! nu uh!" Jacks involves a rubber ball and weird shaped things. Kugelach has five bronze-colored cubes. There is a DISTINCT difference. Additionally, kugelach is not just a game of skill. In elementary school yeshiva it was a ranking system of one's placement in the hierarchy of coolness. If you could legitimately pass fifth level foursies and get through the finger-bridge you were given the key to the teachers lounge. This stuff was intense. Kids developed techniques ("shtick" we called it) like the SWEEP in foursies, or the backhand catch in which the game cube is caught on the backside of the palm. This was everything. This was real. This is where the boys were separated from the men... In 3rd grade. If you weren't good at kugelach you were nothing.

So I hear you, in the back, asking "but XVI you rock so hard, but you said you were never good at kugelach. So how can that be?" I will answer you, my good man, by informing you that I had the one skill that beat out even the top kugelach masters of Torah Temimah. The one true key to elementary school godliness:

I was unbeatable at Duck Hunt!


At 2:56 PM, Blogger BrownsvilleGirl said...

I'd just like to say for the record that my coolness came from my inability to pass foursies. Ever. Forget passing "fifth level foursies"...I couldn't even make it past that first level. And I was always allowed to cheat. Yes, that's right, my friends allowed me to use "garbagies" because I just sucked that bad. Which is strange, because I play piano so you'd think that I would have these fingers just dextrous enough for kugelach. But alas, it was not so. And anyway, as I was saying, I was still cool because I brought humor to the intensity of the game.

At 6:21 AM, Blogger bLuHeAvN7 said...

Oh boy! The complexity of this game!!! I just recently learned of it this year and it's harder than it looks. Just watching 5-10 year olds play this game just shows that one needs to really have skill to play this game. Props to those 'cool' kids.

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous montremulo said...

I was glad to find your posting as I was looking up stuff about "jacks"; I remember marveling at the skill of girls who were good at it.

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At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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its all about the business cards!


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