"Smear the Queer": What are your thoughts on this kids game?

Yeah, I’ve heard different versions of the name that weren’t homophobic. I can’t remember them, though…

That’s pretty much what I thought, but never could get a straight (ahem) definition. Thanks.

We had this “game” but it was called pile-on. Somebody would shout PILE ON <insert name of unpopular kid> and everyone in earshot would chase down the named child and hurl their bodies on them in a pile. Often the bully types would kick and punch the victim mercilessly in the chaos, but bruises and bloody noses would be explained to adults as “oh he took a bad fall while we were playing a game”.

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I remember a game called, “British Bulldog.” We would run from one side of the field to the other. One person was “it” and would try to tackle one of the kids. Then, they would be “it” and try to tackle the next round crossing the field. Eventually, you would have a crowd of kids on the field after one or two players. The last one would be “it” for the next game.

When I was in Boy Scouts we had teens vs tweens and the game was brutal. A kid got his collar bone bent. I switched to another troop after that.


You just reminded me of another shitty ‘game’; Red Rover.


Hopefully certain versions of Eeny, meeny, miny, mo have been burned out of playground memory.


I, too, apologise for asking the initial question which derailed the other thread. But I thank @Pensketch for starting this thread!

Maybe because I was always a big reader and never athletic, I truly never heard of this game (by this or any other name) or saw anything that resembled it in primary or high school. ‘Keeping off’ or ‘piggy in the middle’ involved two or more people throwing a ball while trying to prevent the central person from catching it. ‘Piling on’ sounds vaguely familiar but I don’t recall it involving intentional kicking or bruising. And certainly nothing like trying to wrest a ball from a particular person or chase them down.

Maybe it was because I’m Australian, born in '73, grew up in largely white suburbia? I don’t recall knowing about homosexuality until the final years of high school either, so possibly I was particularly sheltered. Dunno.


I added this recollection of ‘Smear the Queer’ at the ‘Skinny 70’s’ thread:

“In my schoolyard, it was like rugby, but with more chaos and violence. Someone got ahold of the ball, and EVERYONE either tackled that person, or tried to grab the ball away. The scrum would veer this way and that, but I don’t remember having goals or boundaries. I guess finishing the game with the same teeth you started with could be a ‘goal’.”

I must have played it at least once, but I was a GIRL, which in my rural sub-culture is far worse than being a gay male. Seriously. There were gay kids and effeminate guys, and any males and gay girls ranked higher than heterosexual girls, which were the absolute bottom of the pecking order. I was dead-average in size, and I got enough beatings from my older brother that I didn’t see the need to get some more at school.

Other games were w-a-y more popular, though. Four-square and just chasing each other were constant games, and Smear the Queer was a couple of times a year at the most.

Edit: I’m trying to remember if ‘Smear the Queer’ was more popular in our climate’s Ten Days of Near-Zero right after Christmas. Everyone would have been bundled up like Randy from ‘A Christmas Story’.


Growing up in the 80s and 90s I was aware that some people called it “smear the queer” but we just called it “fumbly wumbley.”

When I was in scouts we played it on a trip to Canada with some Canadian scouts and ended up calling it “kill the Canucks.” We played it in a large field after dusk, there might have been a glow-stick taped to the ball, it was insane.


The first time I played Smear the Queer was when I was in Cub Scouts. IIRC (which I likely don’t) it was set up by a couple of the Den Fathers who drank beer while shouting “encouragement” from the sidelines, as drunk fathers tend to do.


Same here. One of our Den Fathers would usually just tell us to go play Atari for a few hours, but once in awhile he’d get motivated to get us outdoors and we’d either play touch football or Smear the Queer depending on how organized things were. I think the former would devolve into the latter, typically.


Ha! Thanks for the link, it is relevant to my interests.

I dunno. In smear the queer you’re trying to strip the ball away, and in tackle football, you have to bring down the ball carrier by grasping and tackling them. In touch football, a straight punch to the base of the skull is an easier and more effective to stop the carrier. I played a game of touch football once where a guy got his femur snapped like a twig. Seriously. His femur. I have not played that game ever since, I stick to safer things (like full contact armored combat).


I never experienced a world where Smear the Queer was not a thinly veiled attempt to single out a lone target to target without facing retribution from adults. In both North Carolina and Ohio in the late 80s/early 90s that’s what the game was all about, mostly starting from one game on grass (usually tag or football) when a few kids hatched a scheme to dogpile on someone and then shouted “Smear the Queer” and pointed or got a ball into their hands and then pointed and shouted.

I was never a part of the group that did the planning, but I was definitely one that would participate once it was pointed out. The teachers eventually shut it down at my school, and after about a month of grumbling it wasn’t played again and there was replaced by other classic bullying tactics.


We played a variation of Butts Up called “War Ball” where you were allowed to punch the runner in the arm on their way to touch the wall.

So many bruises.


I have never heard of this game…?
Is it like Murder Ball?


I’m not sure… to me, this is Murder Ball (and what I imagined made @Melz2 's dodgeball so vicious before she answered) :

Image result for phantasm ball

ETA: I linked to the best description I could find quickly in the first post, although I disagree with the top definition’s “Note #2”: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=smear%20the%20queer


People always called me over during red rover, cause I couldn’t ever break through (I was very tiny as a kid), and then they always aimed at where I was during red rover, cause again… tiny.

I hated elementary school. And Middle school. High school mostly sucked too.



[ETA] off-topic here, but I wrote this last october:

It got a tweet from Don Coscarelli himself.


Same here; I have a petite frame and I was underweight pretty much up until college.

Holy fucksocks man, I said “vicious” not lethal.

I obviously survived to tell the tale.


Also, this thread needs more Kids in the Hall sketches, since they have lots of gay content!