Over the years, Barbadians have adopted many games as their own. These include rounders, pitching marbles, hopscotch, and warri. However, how many of the games currently played across the island have actually originated in Barbados? The answer is: not very many. In this article, we will feature look at those popular games with origins in Barbados.
This was invented in Barbados in the 1930s. Road tennis is very similar to regular tennis, but played on a smaller court, usually marked on the road, and with smaller rackets (the rackets are wooden paddles, slightly larger than a table tennis racket). This game is also referred to as a cross or blend between table and lawn tennis. It is played with a tennis ball, with its fur and the net (as displayed in the image) is a long piece of wood. Road tennis has been recognized as a national sport since 1976, ad has its own association: The Barbados Road Tennis Association, who arrange many competitions throughout the year.
As the name implies, the objective of this game is to “cork” a player. An individual throws a softball ball high in the air (or “skies” it as the Bajans would say) and then as it falls, everyone scrambles to retrieve it. The person who retrieves the ball must then attempt to cork a person with it, that is, they try to strike the person who is the easiest target. This game may sound dangerous, but there is always a verbal agreement that one should take care not to cork someone in a sensitive area of the body.
The following game was not invented in Barbados, but rather has its roots in Africa. However it has a very popular adaptation known as:
Bajan Stick Licking
This is an adaptation of Stick Fighting, a martial art with roots in Africa. This was brought to Barbados when the African slaves were imported to the island. When practiced in Barbados, stick licking involved a straight, fire hardened stick made from hardwood from trees such as the guava tree. Stick licking contests in Barbados are called seitus and were held on weekends and Bank Holidays in the island.
While many of the games played in Barbados may not have originated on the island, it is examples such as Stick Licking that show that Bajans have their own unique way of adapting popular games to their own styles based on their culture. Examples such as road tennis however, and its growing popularity and recognition across the island, exemplify how talented Barbadians are at creating their own inventions.