Appalachia Through My Eyes - Combed Your Hair Or Washed Your Face

Crack The Whip

Crack The Whip Game

Ed Ammons left the following comment on one of the recent game posts:

We used to play a game where a line of kids would hold hands and the run in a circle. The first kid would just spin around the next would run around him. The third around him and so on. The farther out in the line the faster you had to run. If the kid in the middle was strong enough and the line held, the kid on the end would be moving so fast that he would go flying off. Then the next kid until only the kid in the middle was left. I don't remember what we called the game but it was actually fun.

I looked in my Foxfire 6 Book and found the game I think Ed is talking about-Cracking the Whip. This is what the book had to say about the game:

Cracking the Whip

Ernest Franklin: Everyone would join hands and form a long line with the biggest man in front as the anchorman, and the smallest man on the end. Then we'd run together in a curved line and at some point the anchorman would stop and the rest of the line would keep going around in a curve just like cracking a whip. If you went fast enough, that little one on the end would almost be airborne when he came around.

Sounds like fun-especially for the person on the tail end of the line-that's the spot I would have wanted. Have you ever played crack the whip?


*Source Foxfire 6

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I remember our playground was at the bottom of a steep hill from the school buildings. We loved to play crack the whip on that hill. The 45 degree angle made it even more fun and unpredictable. It was always spoiled when the teachers caught us and broke it up. Someone always would up in the office having "green soap" antiseptic applied. I still remember that smell :)

We played this on skates - both ice and roller. The one on the end did go flying, usually into a wall and getting hurt, but we played it anyway. LOL

It was interesting to learn, as our Mother often went with me on skating trips, that our Mother had played that game as a child and teen too, in spite of the fact someone usually got hurt. And our Dad told me a story of flying off the end of the "Whip" at the same skating rink I did, hitting an emergency exit door instead of the wall, flying out the door, down the slope and almost into the lake behind the rink. Wooo Hooo!!!

Can you imagine a skating rink allowing kids to do this nowadays? Parents would have a royal conniption, not seeming to understand nowadays that sometimes you have to take some knocks to learn things while growing up, and a parent's duty is to watch and make sure the "knock" isn't life threatening, not to wrap their kids in cotton batting so they never take a "knock" at all, cause then they never learn things for themselves.

God bless.


We played it a lot. But only out of mom's sight, cuz you know, "you're gonna crack yer head 'fore you crack any whip!" So if we got hurt playing any of those "dangerous" games we just stayed hurt and dealt with it on our own.

Yep,, actually played this one and man,, you better expect to take a ride cause you were about to leave the ground, if you were the end person.. This one is the kinda game you played and your Mother would say when you came in the back door " what happen to your clothes", you'd have as much dirt in your hair as you would on your clothes..

When our daughter was about 6 or 7 she came in all upset because, "Leon don't love me any more." After a few questions and answers we learned they were playing crack the whip and she swung him into a tree and knocked out a tooth. She lost several 'boyfriends' by playing too rough for them and/or winning every game they played. As her dad and feeling I needed to help her solve this problem, I told her if she found a guy she wanted to keep she needed to let him win most of the time. That worked for awhile with the next few fellows until she couldn't stand losing and became too competive again. She was in her mid 20s the last time I reminded her of this rule.

We played Crack the Whip, only at the skating rink. Broke my wrist when the tail knocked me down.

I don't seem to remember this game,
but it sounds like oodles of fun.
When I was a boy, we use to ride
down young trees, but my favorite
thing was swinging out over our
twin falls way up in the holler
on grapevines. A couple of us boys
would run down the branch, jump as
high as we could so everyone would
have something to hold on to, and
swing out over the falls. What a
thrill to look down that 30 foot
drop off...Ken

Here is a link to the Winslow Homer painting Bradley mentioned. It is one of my favorites.

I played Crack-the-Whip and a game called Red Rover when I was little. Someone always got hurt but we sure had fun! Our favorites were Blind Man's Bluff and Hide and Seek - there are lots of great places to hide on a farm! We played a game of tag that we called "Got'ca Last" I think it was one we created ourselves while waiting for the grown ups to say their final goodbyes - you know "we're leaving now" means they are going to tell a few more stories. We would see who could tag each other last before loading up to head down the Mountain Road from Grandma's. With each tag you would shout "Got'ca Last"! Anyone else play something similar?

I thought of this as soon as I saw Ed's post, and yes, we played it. I think it was discouraged at school.

Oh yeah, do I ever remember this game! So boring! Ho, hum! On the ground so to speak!
Sorry! You know I am kiddin' I have played the version in your post,
BUUTTTTT, If you ever did play the game in the yard...
The music would stop and the announcer would call out on the intercom, "CRACK THE WHIP"...everyone would skate to the center to get position. If I was doddleing around and didn't get a front spot, ("her Mama didn't raise no fool")I would not play, I'd grab my CHERRY-COKE" (with the straw in the glass bottle) at the sitdown area and watch the fun..The music started slow and then faster and faster as the whip increased in motion and speed. "OH YEAH" HOLD ON PEGGY SUE!!
There were "THOSE BOYS" you know the "TOUGH GUYS, GOOD SKATERS," with the turned up collars and "DUCK-TAILED HAIRCUTS" that thouroughly enjoyed being the end of the whip to "SHOW-OFF" their "CUTESY SELVES" and "DYNAMIC" skating skills?
I guess it WAS/IS sort of like the boys today with their "SKATE BOARDS" and "TRAIL BIKE TRICKS"!!
"OH THOSE WERE THE DAYS"!! Eventhough, my parents couldn't afford to drive me and pay my way to many "rinks" when I was little, but when I made my own money I spent many a Friday and Saturday night at the rink...
How I wish I could skate now, sometimes I dream about skating!
Weird huh...and "CRACKING THE WHIP" was one of my favorite games at the ring, either joining in or just sipping my coke and watching! Wait a minute, when I was in High School, I did love when suddenly they dimmed the lights and yelled "SLOW DANCE", but only if one of my favorite boy skaters was there...If it were just girl chums not so much fun!
Thanks for the memories Tipper,

I was a GREAT end-of-line flyer!! Made some spectacular splats.

I do remember playing that game in school but I don't think we called it crack the whip. My older cousin will remember what we called it. "Kill The Cat" comes to mind.

I know this game well. In spite of friends earning broken arms and cracked collar bones from it, I always wanted to be the outside flyer but I was always in or near the middle. Maybe that's why I always loved to swing as high as I could, then jump out of the swing! - also loved that point at each end of the pendulum swing where I felt like I was suspended in air.

Back to Crack the Whip: even most of those recovering from broken bones couldn't wait to get back to the game. Our churchyard was the safest place to play the game - lots of space and lots of bushes to soften the landings. Funny - I don't recall any adults cautioning against it!


Sounds like an interesting game; I think as a very young child I tried it once. I was small so I was the one on the end. I never did it again since it scared me when my feet weren't on the ground. I decided to watch others do the feat.

This one is another vague memory. I'm thinking I may have seen or played it a time or two.
I just didn't do a lot of kids games.

I've seen this game played years ago. It is a little dangerous. The kid at the end of the line needs to be light weight if possible. When they are finally thrown off, better hope there is nothing in the way cause they will wind up in the next county and (most likely) most of their hyde peeled off! LOL. Winslow Homer the American landscape painter painted a painting of this game back in the 1800's.

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