Lee Hawkers – A 1960s Cape Breton Adolescent Hide-‘n-Find Sport – A Precursor to Paint Ball?

There are segments of sociology, observed potentially only on Cape Breton Island, that need to be recorded, if not analyzed. The recreation of “Lee Hawkers” is these types of a segment a common summertime night cry of “1-2-3 Lee Hawkers” heard from the woods surrounding the New Waterford neighbourhood of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. This video game of modified disguise-and-seek out involving two teams was part of teenager decades in the mid-1960s. Lee Hawkers was a innovative disguise-and-search for sport played in the unique suburban location of New Waterford called River Ryan/Scotchtown.

The River Ryan/Scotchtown region was, and nonetheless is right now, a residential neighborhood. Compared with these days again then the neighbourhoods had been far more commonly interlaced with forests and fields. In the course of the 1960s, summertime times would see teenaged boys participating in baseball, pitching horseshoes, creating forts in the woods, taking pictures exercise rounds with BB guns, or biking out of town to Kilkenny Lake for a swim. But what would these commonly testosterone-driven males do for evening-time entertaining? What mischief could they come across cloaked in the darkness of sultry summer months nights?

The mischief arose when the kid’s recreation of Cover-and-Request morphed into a extra grownup oriented recreation involving two groups, a ‘jail’ and handful of, but unique, guidelines of engagement all-around being captured and remaining freed from jail. The finest recollection is that this after dim match was initially a male only activity. Two teams of male teenagers would consider turns being the captured (Hiders) or the captors (Seekers). To start, in a clearing, a discipline or in someone’s dirt driveway, employing a tree department or the heel of a player’s boot or sneaker, a huge circle (6-8 toes in diameter) would be roughly marked in the solar-baked ground. This would come to be the jail into which the captured Hiders would be thrown by the Seekers.

To capture or capture a hiding member of the opposing group, the Seekers would start their hunt in the dark wooded locations for any Hiders. It can be dim. It is really the forest. Seekers could jump out at a Hider… so commonly the hunt was carried out in pairs of Seekers. But why the identify Lee Hawkers? Go through on… the moment a Hider was isolated, according to the first policies of seek out and seize, a Seeker would be needed to spit (of course a hawker!) on the Hider, pound them on the back again even though yelling “1-2-3 Lee Hawkers”. This marked the Hider as a “catch” or “captured”. The Seekers would guide the captured Hider back to jail (the circle) for secure preserving. The “Lee” (limited for leeward) in “Lee Hawkers” was a obvious warning that you must spit, or hawk, in the path of the wind to keep away from receiving strike with your individual spit (ugh!). And so this spitting, or hawking – the “1-2-3 Lee Hawkers” seize sequence – would be repeated until eventually all the Hiders were caught and in jail. When all the Hiders ended up captured, the teams would swap roles – Seekers would grow to be Hiders and Hiders would become Seekers. Disguise. Capture. Jail. Switch. Have been that the sport was so simplistic. The game was a more challenging and a whole whole lot extra dynamic because jailed Hiders could be freed from “jail”. Say what!

The jail was guarded by a pair Seekers. These Guard Seekers remained on high inform to reduce Hider teammates from liberating their jailed buddies. If an uncaptured Hider ran as a result of the jail then all jailed Hiders were now technically freed from jail, absolutely free to run back again into the forest and conceal as soon as again. How could the Seekers halt these repeated breakouts?

The trick was to capture these rogue Hider breakout professionals just before they ran as a result of the jail. By working with the exact same capture 1-2-3 sequence (hawking, again pounding, yelling “1-2-3 Lee Hawkers”) it would not only end a breakout attempt but also end result in a fresh Hider capture. “Off to jail with ya!” At this stage in the evolution of Lee Hawkers you have a teenager male-dominated, hawkin’ ‘n hittin’, after dark, conceal ‘n find game. A little bit messy, to some degree primitive, but reasonably harmless.

Enter the teen ladies. They want to engage in. Co-ed Lee Hawkers. This experienced new alternatives, new guarantee. Hmmm, a believed. A assumed that met an age-outdated objective – have some entertaining while you find a mate. Just like the Stag Line (see the Ezine posting: “The “Stag Line” – A Cape Breton Dance Corridor Etiquette (Portion of Cape Breton Social Heritage)”), Lee Hawkers appears to be to have developed from an justification for a courting sport wrapped in the guise of staff sporting activities. Or was Lee Hawkers a primitive form of the video game now referred to as Paint Ball? Could Paint Ball splats of colour have changed the spit, or hawker, in the culturally historical Cape Breton video game of Lee Hawkers? Or was this recreation named Lee Hawkers basically a ruse by teenage boys to play with the women? Surely these are issues requiring more discussion.

The girls had been in the game. But initial the spitin’ and hawkin’ experienced to go! And so it did. Lee Hawkers became a more gentile sport for the merged sexes. Catching a Hider now concerned only “rapping” (lightly pounding) a female Hider on the again though yelling “1-2-3 Lee Hawkers”. Considering the fact that the new policies removed hawking, Hiders about to be captured, would no more time run to prevent the ‘guber’. As an alternative Hiders would resist capture by the Seeker by lying on their back again to protect against from becoming rapped. Based on the size/toughness ratio of Seeker-to-Hider, the attempt(s) to flip and “again rap” could change out to be fairly an extended tussle. From time to time it would involve the endeavours of 2 or much more Seekers to flip and rap a likely captured Hider.

Now enable your imaginations fill in the blanks in this article. Envision what took place when the Hider was a female, the Seeker was a male. Hider – feminine. Seeker – male. Tussle. If the Seeker was a male, and he learned a feminine Hider, he would never ever phone for assist from his Seeker teammates. This is the element wherever subtle improvements in the ‘unwritten’ regulations arrived into impact when the ladies joined the activity. The energy was generally different in these feminine-to-male capture encounters. There was an unspoken adjustment in the sport procedures and a rather neutralizing of male brute drive. The male Seeker would tussle gently with the female Hider right until she could be flipped or rolled off her back, and the male Seeker’s was in a position to faucet her again mixed with the cry “1-2-3 Lee Hawkers”. It was remarkable the duration of time it took for 1 powerful teenager male to complete a straightforward 45 to 90 degree roll of a female to achieve access to her back. It will have to that unexplainable physics of females!

Like the video game of Lee Hawkers so goes courting, and so goes like. The brute power in hormone-pushed online games is neutralized. It gets to be gentler. It emotes the chemistry of sexual attraction. And so goes lifestyle.

Lee Hawkers was 1 of those people 1960s Cape Breton (or at least a Scotchtown – River Ryan) phenomena that, maybe just like the Stag Line, was a dating sport ritual wrapped in the guise of team sporting activities. Or it’s possible it was the pre-cursor to present day Paint Ball. Whichever it was, it certain was unforgettable!

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