King of Shato

Friday, December 12, 2008

Let’s just sprint and run with wild abandon like we did when we were 10, racing toward the playground at recess. Just run and run fast!
The moment I read the quote above my wanderlust mind teleported to a childhood address: 15 Opal St, Umali Subdivision, Los Baños, Laguna. I was 10 and bursting with life. I was on Opal street in the heat of summer. I was running like mad while uttering a strange scream: Shhaaaaaaaaaa-to!!!!!!
Aahh. Shato. Our childhood game of sticks and dexterity. On the street curb we dig a hole the size of a small bowl, put a 6" short stick at 45-degree angle, hit the protruding end lightly with a long stick, wait for the short stick to sommersault in the air, and hit it once more with fury to let it fly as far as possible. Distance traveled is measured in units of the long stick. If you are skilled and lucky, you can hit the small stick twice while it is in the air and you get to measure the distance travelled in units of the shorter stick. The one with the most stick units wins the chance to torture the losers. With gusto, the winner positions himself at the ground hole and hits the small stick as hard and far as his young hands can muster, while the losers have to run from the stick landing point to the ground hole, shouting "Shato" in one continuous flow. If the loser can do this, he redeems himself. If he can't sustain the shout, he ends up twice the loser.
I hated running but I loved shato. Among my peers I was so good at it that I considered myself as King of Shato. At the tender age of 10 I was unknowingly applying physics and hitting those sticks with precision and strength. I normally won, and in those rare times I lost, I almost always redeemed myself by sustaining the Shato scream while running. And how I loved to run while I shouted Shato! I so loved the game that I enjoyed everything that went with it. Yes, fast running included.
I may not be the King of the Road now, but I was a King of Shato. This is an undeniable fact of my well-played childhood. Fartlek may not form part of my running consciousness, but shato will always be there in my psyche. And when I need and want to run fast, all I have to remember is that I was and would always be a Shato King. I can't wait to hit the road again so I can play shato. Shhaaaaaatooo!!!!!

5 comments:

sfrunner December 13, 2008 at 11:44 AM  

Hi Rico. What a great post. The next time I visit the Philippines (2009 hopefully), hopefully I can walk into a neighborhood and see Shato being played. It reminds me of when I was a kid, we would cut the straw off a used broom and play stickball.

Thanks for sharing this. Take care and have a good weekend!

Rico Villanueva December 13, 2008 at 12:55 PM  

Thanks, Wayne. Truth is, I owe it to those two runners who one day just decided to run like a 10-year old. Shato is my fartlek, my way of loving and enjoying something I am not yet good at. If in your next trip you don't see boys playing shato, the Shato King will gladly demonstrate it for you (I hope I am still good at it, haha).

cathletic December 17, 2008 at 5:39 PM  

How come I am all familiar with that childhood game too? T'was one of my faves along with the real "tuturubig" or patintero under the evening moonlight.

If and when possible, I shall challenge the Shato King. :)

Rico Villanueva December 17, 2008 at 6:57 PM  

Cat, natakot naman ako sa challenge mo. Pwede bang sabihin ko na lang na Hall of Famer na ako so outside na ako sa competition?

cathletic December 19, 2008 at 10:14 AM  

Ah NO, only a few people know how to play it so you must take up the challenge. LOL!

So did you keep the sticks? You know the kids of today should still play it, it's a funfun game.

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