Street Hockey

Adults often underestimate the creative capacity of children, who can be just as inventive as their elders, if not more so. At play, young people are wonderfully adept at improvising.
2049

1913

Adults often underestimate the creative capacity of children, who can be just as inventive as their elders, if not more so. At play, young people are wonderfully adept at improvising. That appears to be the case in this circa-1913 photo, which shows a group of boys on an unidentified Detroit street engaged in shinny, a kind of poor man’s hockey that’s played on ice, turf, or the street. There are few rules, and equipment is extemporaneous. Sticks can be improvised from broom handles or tree branches; a ball, tin can, or chunk of ice may substitute for a puck; and goals might be constructed from rocks or garbage cans. The word “shinny” is likely a corruption of the Scottish game shinty, which is especially popular in the Highlands. Although automobiles were quickly replacing horses at the time of this picture, the man in the background seems content using the old mode of transportation.

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