Checkers: Harbinger of Summer

I have lived all of my 56 years on a street that borders a lovely park. On average I would imagine I have visited the park at least once a day. It plays a major role in my life. Smack in the centre of the park is a game area. After a couple of decades of disrepair it seems some signs of life have emerged.

As a boy a sure sign of the arrival of summer was the appearance of a green shack in the game area. This small wooden hut housed the equipment used in the various games. Horseshoes for tossing on the four sand-filled pits, shuffleboard discs and cue-sticks, large checkers made of wood, both red and black and the hooks used to move them on the big boards that were inlaid in the concrete.


There was a time when the pleasant summer evenings provided a perfect background for older men to engage in a ‘serious’ game of checkers. I never realized that there are competitive checker players, but now understand that several ‘ranked’ players played in the park. I met a man recently who used to play checkers in the park, but now laments the lack of players, claiming the Internet has killed the game.

An old checker board
An old checker board

The game area also provided a summer job for a local student. This person was responsible for maintaining the game equipment, cutting the peripheral grass and generally keeping the area clean. But their first job of the summer was to repaint the shuffleboard courts. Tape and a steady hand were required to redo the lines and numbers that had been lost to the snow over the long winter.


I was pleased to notice as I was passing through the park yesterday that a new ‘checker table’ and chairs have been installed, as was as a heavy-duty ping-pong table (table tennis if you must). It is not quite what it once was, but then what is. Any new players will have to provide their own checkers, and the ping-pong table is on what used to be the shuffleboard courts, but it is still nice to see some life in the old game area.

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+


3 thoughts on “Checkers: Harbinger of Summer

  1. Lots of memories there Deegan. You are right it is nice to see the old games area in use again, it used to be a perfect spot for young and old to enjoy and in many instances learn….just ask Mr Aspler and you will find just how complex checkers can be. Great blog Deegan.

  2. Reminds me of summer evenings in Washington Square in New York. Good times.

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