Ringplay… Is it extinct?

If your girlfriend doesn’t know about playing ringplay when she was younger, she’s probably too young for you (lol). Seriously though, I can not remember the last time I saw children playing ringplay.

I’m trying to think of a most appropriate way to describe what a ringplay is… It was what kids, mostly young girls from the neighborhood or in the school yards did before the days of CD players, cellphones and all of that. We stood in a circle and sang traditional ringplay songs. “There’s a brown girl in the ring…sha-la-la-la-la”, “Show me your motion…tra-la-la-la-la”, “Naughty Johnny” and so many others. Sometimes a person would get in the middle of the circle and whine up and then got to pick the next person in the middle. I can even recall playing this in junior high during physical education class.

I wonder if my little sister plays this in school. Kids nowadays grow up too fast and speed through their childhood. I was one of those that couldn’t wait to become an adult too, but, I still enjoyed being a kid. Being able to play hide and seek, catch and freezes, porkin’ and breaktime was actually fun time.

It may seem like it’s a bit vulgar, but it was all in due fun and sometimes even adults would join in. There was also some ringplay songs that required no dancing but were more so a fun game like “Down by the river, down by the sea. Johnny break the bottle and blame it on me. I told ma, ma told pa. Johnny get a lickin’ with a ha ha ha.”

Thinking about these games brings back good memories but I wonder if in a few years, it’ll become a lost aspect of Bahamian culture and something that we talk about and tell our kids like the days of playing hop-scotch and jacks (which I did too, and enjoyed). We have to preserve our culture and not allow it to water down and waste away.

2 thoughts on “Ringplay… Is it extinct?

  1. I’ve never heard of Ringplay but the way you described it sounds like what I’d call a Line Game. I’ve seen it before, just didn’t know the name. I’d like to know more about it. I might be able to use it in my camps for when the kids are standing in lines waiting for the bus or to get into an activity. What do you think?

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