Games We Used To Play

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Shark & Bopp (Pool Games)
Date: August 13 2014

Shark is played in a larger pool (we used to play in the community outdoor pool in suburban Montreal).  The game can be played the width of the pool or the length if it is a small pool.  One person is "it" or the "shark" and goes to the center and the other game participants go to one side of the pool. 

Depending on the width of the pool, the age of the participants and their swimming ability the participants can start standing on the side of the pool or can start in the pool holding the side.  It is easier starting out of the pool so if there was a range of ages and swimming abilities we would usually have the more capable, older swimmers start in the water with the younger ones starting out of the pool.

The person in the center calls "shark" and all the players on the side start swimming across the pool.  The shark in the middle tries to tag the other players before they reach the other side of the pool.  If they are tagged they join the shark in the center of the pool.  Once all untagged players reach the other side the shark will call them to cross again.  The process repeats itself until everyone has been tagged.

The winner is the last person to be tagged.  The loser is the first person tagged who becomes the shark in the next game.

We played a variation on this game called Bopp.  This version of shark varied in that the players crossed the pool underwater.  They weren't tagged until they surfaced.  We usually played Bopp in the deep end of the pool.  Stronger swimmers could be quite hard to force to the surface. 

We used to play Bopp with a few folks that went on to swim in the olympic games.  Needless to say they were strong swimmers and were almost impossible to catch.  I recall scenes of one of these players dragging a half a dozen sharks across the pool underwater.

I have played these games with my kids in more recent days and they are as much fun now as they were then.  Sure beats just laying there tanning.