Area Horse Girl Purposely Misses First Three Shots In P-I-G, Demands We Play H-O-R-S-E Instead

Okay there we were, St. Incitatus Elementary. Sarah’s got the ball. Right under the hoop, granny stance set. It’s gotta be the easiest shot of her life, and she has three chances.


That’s the name – er letters of the game. Invented by John Scarne in 1945, PIG has been a hallmark of PE fun ever since. Oddly enough, history purports Scarne and his gang of troubled youth would play the game with dice. That doesn’t make sense. We use basketballs, because we aren’t riff-raff and learned from the sins of our fathers who dared to roll the devil’s cubes.

Anyways, Sarah’s about to take her first shot. She takes a deep breath, steadies herself, and lowers her wrists.

Miss. She throws it just wide of the ring.

“P!” Ronny, a neighbor boy, shouts.

“Wait, what are we playing again?” she asks.

“PIG!” We all shout.

“I thought this was HORSE. I wanna play HORSE!” She shouted.

Her pupils went horse-shaped. She slipped into the memory of her magical summer with Seymour, the full-chested, ivory-maned chestnut stallion on her papa’s ranch. The one everyone said no one could tame. Except she did it. No matter how many times he bucked, no matter how many rainy days she had to spend with him, no matter how often Old Curly down the road told he was destined for the glue factory, she never gave up on him.

While she did that, Ronny took his shot from half court. Swish.

“No, we only have time for PIG!” Ronnie told her. It was true. Ever since Sarah’s Elmers-eating incident, Sister Bucephalus cut our recess down to 15 minutes.

Sarah let out a deep sigh and walked to half court. Ronnie passed her the ball, but Sarah didn’t even bother to pretend to shoot it. She just dropped it.


Virtually the same sequence occurred. Ronnie makes an incredible shot. Sarah makes no effort. We all just wish she’d go back to eating paste. 

“Fine, now let’s play HORSE!” she called out.

We told her, “No, it’s farmer’s choice.”

She just stands there. Staring.

“Farmers. Choice,” we repeated.

“I want to play HORSE,” she demanded.  

Evidently, she has not read the Wikipedia article on basketball variations. In letter-based basketball games, players often get a do-over on their last shot before they lose, called “farmer’s choice.” We explained this to her in vivid detail.

She looks at the basket. Then the ball. She slings it at Ronny.

The next summer, Sarah returned to her papa’s ranch. Seymour’s no longer there. Papa had to sell him to pay for the mortgage. The barn’s in disrepair. Everything’s covered in mold and splinters. Old Curly down the road has passed away. No one stays on dialysis forever. No one. Nothing will ever be the same.

Except P-I-G.

P-I-G never changes. Always three letters.

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