Football Games for Kids – Who Plays Them?

Surprise, surprise. Football games for kids are no longer just for kids as older folks get on the online football bandwagon. What is it about football games that has caught the attention of grandkids and grandparents alike?

Playing Safe

Football games for kids are safe and easy to play, offering the excitement of the game while keeping aside the physicality of the game. This is good news for young children who are too young to play the rough game on field and older folk who cannot afford to risk injury.

The Tech Factor

The rise of interest in online games is also because more and more people own mobile phones, tablets and computers. Hence, the games are easily accessible. Factors that hamper going out like weather and distance don’t come into play when one is playing football games online. Technology also benefits folks who may be homebound due to health reasons.

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Owen teaching Dad…” by Jordan Brock is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The Social Angle

There was a time when online gaming was considered a solitary activity. But this really depends on the choice of games. Many seniors play football games online on multiplayer platforms as it allows them to connect with other people across the world from the confines of their home.

This is also a great way for grandparents to bond with their grandkids who may not be living nearby. Kids can actually show them how to play and turn playing online games into a shared experience that strengthens their relationship with their grandparents.

Time to Play

Seniors have more time in hand. Due to their accessibility and easy controls, online games are a convenient option and a fun way to spend time. They are more interactive than reading books or watching telly.

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computers” by Jody Morris is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Health Kick

Kids aren’t the only ones who benefit from playing online games. Older folk also reap many benefits from playing games like football. Regular social interaction even if it is via games can boost the happiness quotient.  Online football games can improve executive functions, cognitive skills, memory, coordination, quick response and also offer mental stimulation.

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More talking with Grandma” by Lisa.B is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Apart from these football games for kids, for those grandparents who are looking for something more cerebral, there are plenty of puzzles to explore. They can also challenge their grandchildren to a game of Scrabble, DrawSomething and other games. Technology, once again, has emerged to bridge rather than widen the generation gap with gaming.

Polo – an ancient team sport

Say ‘Polo’ and it brings to mind different things for different people. Some visualize the car, others the US Polo logo and yet others might think of designer Ralph Lauren’s ‘Polo Ralph Lauren’ luxury line. There will be those whose tongues will go cool with the memory of ‘Polo’ mints (not available in the US, but very similar to Lifesavers)

I can bet not many would think of the sport polo.

Polo – some history

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“Polo game from poem Guy u Chawgan”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Polo_game_from_poem_Guy_u_Chawgan.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Polo_game_from_poem_Guy_u_Chawgan.jpg

The image above is a Persian miniature from the poem Guy-o Chawgân (“the Ball and the Polo-mallet”) during Safavid dynasty of Persia, which shows Persian courtiers on horseback playing a game of polo, 1546 AD.

Sometimes it’s a great advantage to grow up in a household where people are well traveled. I grew up listening to my grandfather (whose namesake I am) speak of sports/games he had seen as he traveled the world on work. My grandfather had watched a polo match for the first time in Asia.

Polo has come from an old team sport called chovgan, whose origins are lost in the sands of time. Played by ancient kingdoms stretching from Constantinople to Japan, chovgan was an elite sport played by riders on specially trained horses. The sport was also very popular in the Mogul courts of India.  Stables belonging to Akbar the Great are still standing in Delhi, India. Today it is played in about 50 countries around the world. The dominant teams are from the US, Argentina, and the UK.

The game

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“Terrains de polo et de football (US compliant)” by Sébastien Santoro aka Dereckson – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Terrains_de_polo_et_de_football_(US_compliant).svg#mediaviewer/File:Terrains_de_polo_et_de_football_(US_compliant).svg

A polo ground is vast as the sport is played on horseback. The image above should give you an idea of how large. Two teams of 4 players in each play against each other. The riders use a long handled mallet(called a polo stick) to hit a ball into the opposing team’s goal. The team which scores the most, wins.

The game has multiple rounds of play called ‘chakkers’ of seven minutes each. The ‘chakkers’ and the breaks roughly add up to about 60-90 mins. This is a game where the rules ensure the safety of both the rider and the ‘pony’ (as the mount is traditionally called, in spite of the ‘pony’ being a full grown horse).

 Interesting trivia about Polo

The name ‘polo’ is supposed to come from the Tibetan word for ball ‘pulu’

In the Mameluke dynasty, playing cards features polo sticks.

The British picked up the game from Manipur in northeast India. From thereon it spread to the west. In the old game played in Manipur the teams were bigger and it was a much faster game.

Both Mogul kings and queens played this sport.

The rules of polo allow mixed teams of men and women.

All players have to hit the ball from their right side. Even the left-handers.

The Jodhpur breeches were introduced to the English in 1887 by Pratap Singh of the Jodhpur team who designed them.

Some variants of polo are ‘elephant polo’, ‘camel polo’, ‘segway polo’ and event eh ‘yak polo’!