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Kabaddi, Dho-Dho-Dho: New Games Revealed

There's a game they play in India, a sport, really, called "Kabaddi." Here's a description:

The kabaddi playing area is 12.50m x 10m, divided by a line into two halves. The side winning the toss sends a 'raider', who enters the opponents' court chanting, 'kabaddi-kabaddi'. The raider's aim is to touch any or all players on the opposing side, and return to his court in one breath. The person, whom the raider touches, will then be out. The aim of the opposing team, will be to hold the raider, and stop him from returning to his own court, until he takes another breath. If the raider cannot return to his court in the same breath while chanting 'kabaddi', he will be declared out. Each team alternates in sending a player into the opponents' court. If a player goes out of the boundary line during the course of the play, or if any part of his body touches the ground outside the boundary, he will be out, except during a struggle.

Which, to the vast multitude of New Games aficionados, sounds suspiciously like the game we knew as "Dho-Dho-Dho" (warning before clicking - this is a Tripod, multiple-pop-up-launching site). The description of Dho-Dho-Dho:

A playing field is marked off. The field is not large (about the size of a large gym mat). The center of this field has a line down it. The players are in two teams, each team on one side of the line. One team chooses a player to make a foray into the other teams territory. The object is for that player to tag as many of the other team as he can, but he must return to his own team's area in the space of one breath. While on his foray he must say "dho-dho-dho-dho" continuously. The team into whose area he has gone will attempt to retain him in their area. If he is not back into his area before he runs out of breath, he joins the team who held him. He may only be restrained by being grasped above the waist. (Being held down bodily is encouraged.) He may not be touched until he has tagged a player. If he makes it back into his own area, all those he tagged become members of his team. The teams may alternate turns of sending out a player on a foray, or they send him out at their discretion.

Proving, once again, my central thesis - New Games were never that new. What was (and still is) new about them is a central subtlety. Note how, in the description of Dho-Dho-Dho, the tagged players become members of the attacking team. Note similarly how in the original game of Kabaddi, the tagged players are out. Here, in deed, the pivotal nuance is revealed. What made, and keeps New Games new is the practice of inclusion. A practice that we, as a society, have apparently yet to learn.

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