Rat Pucky Badge

Jolly in the Hair 12

Originally uploaded by nodigio

Step One: It’s an impossible shot. You know it. Your audience knows it. You look into your pucky bag: the willow “L” stick is short and flimsy, the maple “Y” is too thick, and still too short, but maybe that oak forked stick with the funny little stub on the side will do it. You pull it out of the bag to admiring gasps and a scattering of applause. You approach the dead rat, its seams are still intact, but it’s lost an ear and a beaded eye in this competition, and the tail will need restitching later. You survey the shot, looking to see how you’ll puck the rat through the “V” of the redbud tree without it landing in the pond and you think you see a way to do it. Instead of ceding the game, you position yourself and test the swing of your stick. More people gather to watch as you finally take your shot. The rat lofts high and clears the “V”, will it land safely? There’s a family of four with their back to the landing site, watching a juggler perform. The rat curves down, splats on the ground, causing three of the four people to jump and look around. One spots the rat and the cheering crowd as you walk up to claim it and tuck it in your belt with the other played-out stuffed rats you carry. You did it! You scored and rescored – through the “V” and you made people look. How cool is that?

Step Two: Rat Pucky may not on the same level as golf or Frisbee, but it’s a cracking good game to play, especially if you’re in a park. That’s pretty much it’s only redeeming feature, just how much fun a game can be.

Step Three: The only place you’re likely to encounter Rat Pucky is at a Renaissance Faire unless you know a Rennie (that’s the name for people who routinely attend Renaissance Faires or work at them) who plays it in their neighborhood park just to keep in practice. Some rules are listed at the following websites. Be aware there are rule variants depending upon the Faire.

Step Four: Once you’ve learned the rules of the game, you’ll need a stuffed rat and a stick, so gather your equipment. You may buy “certified” rats from Emrys, or make your own. If you play Rat Pucky (or Rat Puck) at a Renaissance Faire, you should use the types of rats they recommend and play by their rules.

Step Five: Play a game.

Step Six: Claim your badge!