Put 'em in the pit was a game we played back in my old neighborhood, when I was a kid. You could say it was a cross between full-contact tag, wrestling, and smear the queer. You could also say it was a bunch of little kids beating the bejeesus out of eachother and laughing about it. I think most every neighborhood in America with a bunch of kids in it has a game like this; the rules are never quite the same, but the end result, grass stains and twisted ankles, always are.

First thing you need is a put 'em in the pit field. You won't be spoiled for choice here, there's only one in the entire world. It's also the front yard of the house that the Healy brothers used to live in, in Vienna, VA. My advice is to just knock on the door, I hear the people that live there now are pretty nice. Your regulation put 'em in the pit field has a nice gentle incline that drops off suddenly to a drainage ditch at the bottom, a nice big front porch off to one side when you get the wind knocked out of you, and a big attention-starved black lab that'll come bounding onto the field every so often and start jumping on top of people and causing mass chaos.

The rules of put 'em in the pit are pretty simple. To play, you need more than four or five, but less than maybe twelve or fifteen, 12-year olds. One of them, the one that's It, stands in the ditch, and the rest are all up on the hill above it. The object of the game is that everybody tries to push everybody else into the ditch, except of course for whoever's It; instead, he tries to pull whoever he can into the ditch.

Eye-jabs and kicks to the groin were fouls. Usually, if you committed a foul, the penalty was whoever you fouled trying to kick your ass, and maybe a few other people joining in on you if he was a lot smaller than you were. There was no score, and games continued until somebody got hurt pretty bad, or everybody got tired and went inside for Doritos and video games.

It was safe to say our parents dissaproved; it was a miracle that nobody ever broke any bones, like occasionally happenned with the pick-up games of football or street hockey we had. We stopped playing put 'em in the pit around when Brendan Callahan hit his first big growth spurt. He's a lineman for U. Penn now, and he would always "win" even before then, but after that it just wasn't fair.

A bunch of us from the old neighborhood still get together every so often when school's out, and when we sit around drinking beer and reminiscing, somebody always eventually brings up put 'em in the pit. We've got tentative plans to head over to that house where the Healys used to live one dark night and play one more game. It hasn't happened yet.

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