A game called Ring!
A game called Ring!
During my school life, because of my father's Army career, I had to change many schools. As luck would have it, my father served in Rawalpindi on multiple occasions and therefore with some breaks, I studied in Sir Syed School, from 1975 to 1977 and then from 1979 to 1981. I first joined the school when it was still called CB SirSyed School in 1975. I was in the Girls' section as class 5th used to be 'over there'. Soon after I joined, the school was taken over by the Federal Government and was renamed FG SirSyed School. After passing class 5th, I was promoted to the Boys' section in March 1976. School uniform was white shirt and khaki trousers. The playground had not been encroached upon by the College library building and there used to be a college cafeteria here only.
Our class was in the same building which housed Hobby centre and principal's office. It was located at the back, facing the ground which backed on the little 'nala' that I believe still runs (behind the school tuck shop and book / stationery shop. Incidentally, that stationery shop also opened for the first time in 1976 and we were some of its first customers.
There was of course no building at the back of the school and where you see the newish L shaped block of classes (double story) there used to be badminton and basketball courts.
The reason of going in to this back ground is that out of all the schools up and down of Pakistan, that I had to attend, I never had seen the game that was played in our Sir Syed school. This game was 'Ring'.
Now this was a unique game. All it needed was some open space (around the size of basket ball court), two players and one special ring.
This ring was black in clour, had a diameter of around 6 cm and was made of some type of rubber. It had a rim of around 2.5 cm thickness and therefore had the shape of a flattened disc. Where this ring came from was always a mystery to me. It was not available in shops. Rumour was that it was used in some part of a railway carriage. Maybe some children whose fathers worked in carriage factory/ railways used to get them from their respective fathers' places of work and these children would supply rest of the school. For me its exact origin remains shrouded in secrecy to this day!
For this reason, I never owned a ring of my own. But as there were always a few rings floating around in possession of some class mates, playing the game was never a problem.
Now on to the game. The two players would draw two circles on ground around 20 yards apart and would stand in them facing each other. One player, who had the ring in his hand would throw it towards the other player's circle. The other player would kick the ring in such a manner that it lands outside his circle or 'goal'. You could kick the ring as long as it was still moving. Once it fell stationary, then the player who was defending initially would throw the ring towards the first player's goal from the spot where the ring fell still. If the ring fell in the circle of the opposite player and did not move, a goal/point would be scored. Please note that the point from where the ring could be thrown, after the first player's throw(which had to be from one's own goal), varied from point to point depending on where the ring became still after throwing and kicking. This point used to come closer and closer to the goal.
The technique of throwing the ring demanded a lot of skill. One could use in swing, out swing, spinning motion, flat throw, loopy throw..It was great fun. Shape of the ring allowed various curvy flight paths which had to be anticipated correctly for scoring and defending against goals.
How popular was this game? It was everywhere! The basketball court that I mentioned earlier was the most popular spot. Most 'official' inter class matches used to be played there. There were however countless rings flying around in the playground and in other nooks and corners of the school.
As I said earlier, I have not seen this game played anywhere else. This was therefore a unique tradition of FG SirSyed School, The Mall, Rawalpindi. What I would want to ask everybody is, who is the junior most person amongst us, who has played/seen this game?