By DARREN HANDSCHUH
Growing up in a rural area meant, as a community, we had to find our own fun and one way we did that was through the Cubs
The Cubs would hold weekly meetings at a school near my home where we would learn such vital things as how to tie a knot 1,467 different ways.
In the years since – which are many – I have had a need for about three different types of knots and they are all a variation of the same method.
But I guess it is better safe than sorry, so if the need arises where I must use a double-twist-super-grab-upside down-inverted-bow knot with a full locking mechanism I am prepared.
Actually I am not prepared, because all I can remember is the three knots I use to this day – the bow is not among those claimed fastening systems because I learned that before I entered the Cubs.
The Cubs also instilled such life skills as helping little old ladies across the street – which is something I never did – but they did teach us to be good citizens. Well, as good as a group of young boys can be.
We also played a variety of games to help burn off some of our youthful energy.
One of the games involved a Scout leader kneeling in the centre of a circle of uniform-clad kids while swinging a rope several inches off the ground with a bean bag attached to the end of it.
The idea was to jump over the rope as it came around. The problem was if you didn’t jump in time the rope would wrap around your ankles like a bolo and you would go crashing to the ground.
Once in a while someone’s head would bounce off the varnished hardwood floor with a splat. The game would stop until that person regained consciousness and then it was back to the fun.
We would also play dodge ball – a game the token fat kid hated because he presented a bigger target than the rest of us.
It was a game that I was quite good at, and is yet another skill I possess that is completely useless in the real world.
The object of the game is simple – don’t get hit by the ball.
I could duck and dodge and twist and was often the winner.
There is not a lot of need for skilled dodge ball players out there so I knew I would never go pro, but I will always be comforted by the knowledge I could have.
Cubs were also big on badges. Some of the veterans – Scouts who were at least 15 – had more badges than Hugh Heffner had pick up lines.
There were badges for community service, sporting events, model building and, of course, for tying knots.
You even got a badge after getting a certain number of badges. The badges were worn with pride and there was one keener who had more than the rest of us and made it his life mission to collect all of them
He had so many he had to wear two shirts just to fit them all on.
I had a few badges, but I can not remember what they were for. I think one was for not setting anything on fire which is another story.
They did not have a dodge ball badge, which I harbour bitter feelings about to this day.
Overall, the Cubs were a positive experience and I will likely write more about my time with the intrepid organization that is not afraid to get a group of boys with pocket knives together.
Until then, does anybody know how to tie a sheep-shank?