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ante-over / anti-over / anteover

A game with two teams, in which a ball is thrown over a building by one team and caught by the other, with various rules.

In the crisp, sunny weather the boys played ante-over and catch… -Little Town on the Prairie, Chapter 13, “School Days”

Ante-over is a children’s game in which a ball is thrown over a building to a player or players on the other side. The name of the game is usually shouted (“Ante over!”) as warning that the ball is being thrown; the receiving team shouts “ready” to show that they are ready to receive the ball. There were many variations of the game, including one where whoever caught the ball would run around to the other side and tag an opposing team member, who then had to join the other team.

In Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Pioneer Girl memoir, ante-over is included as one of the games played by the young children at the Walnut Grove school. Laura wrote that, being a tomboy, she often led the girls in playing boy’s games. The game isn’t mentioned in published On the Banks of Plum Creek, but Wilder writes that it is played by boys at the De Smet school in Little Town on the Prairie, with Laura sometimes joining in.

ante-over / anti-over / anteover (LTP 13; PG)