While the few 'dada bees' were taking piano lessons, the rest were playing chaskele. Here are a few games that would have probably won Ghana some gold medals if the Olympic Games had them.
Team Ghana presented 16 athletes and despite them not being able to qualify for their respective next rounds, they made the nation proud by pushing harder.
Abeiku Jackson and Kaya Forson broke their personal best records showing progress. Szandra Szogedi and Abdul Wahid Omar showed emotions to show how hard they were willing to work and make Ghana proud. Ghana is proud.
But maybe, just maybe, Ghana would have been prouder if these games were part of the Olympic Games.
Almost every Ghanaian kid starts life by playing one of these games but the ‘cool kids’ who do piano lessons and equestrian during their free time.
The not so cool kids are the majority. So let’s talk about the majority who would have gained enough experience to win Ghana gold at the Olympics.
Here are 10 games that would’ve probably won Team Ghana gold at the Olympics (if they were included):
All you need for this game is some jumping skills and a pair of hands to clap for flair. Some Ampe formats don’t even need the clapping.
The leader and the other player jump at the same time and thrust one leg forward while clapping. If the leader and other player show the same foot, leader gains a point and vice versa.
It is mostly a female sport and about 99 percent of females in Ghana have played it.
No special pitch or field. All you need is a place to jump and clap.
Chaskele is Ghana’s version of what cricket is all about. A player prevents another player from throwing an object into a container.
The ‘defender’ who kicks the dropping objects away has the chance to send the player trying to drop the objects far away from the container with how hard he kicks.
The objects being dropped are mostly empty tins. Any wood that can hit those cans hard enough is good for the defender.
Four corners is just football with a different format. Four small posts with four players making sure the ball does not get through their side of the post. No hands, just legs.
Refree hides a number of objects at one place depending on the number of players. Players search and run to a marked point after finding an objects. First person who finds the hidden objects usually gets a head start but running to the marked point is key. Good searching and good running makes you win in the game of Pilolo.
Ludo is a board game for two or four people in which players race their four tokens from start to finish. The game of Ludo is popular in Ghanaian homes. So much practice to probably win Team Ghana gold if it were in the Olympics.
Oware is an Ashanti abstract strategy game. It’s in the family of board games with pit and pebbles. The game of Oware has serious self-acclaimed experts in Ghana.
‘Your mum send you, you no go. Your dad send you, you no go. Stay send you, you dey run,’ that’s the song to dishearten a player losing in the game of stay.
A football is kicked around for the defending player to catch. He says ‘stay’ when he catches the ball and throws for the attacker to play. If the defender catches the ball from the attacker before it hits the ground, he joins the group of attackers and that attacker becomes the defender.
Defending in the game of stay can be frustrating. Ghanaians can relate.
This is a game of strategy and brains. Legend has it that the big trees under which these Dame games are normally played hold the best gossips in the area. And it's mostly played by men. Also losers are told all kinds of things in the bragging words of battle that comes as a side attraction to the extent of telling their opponents the kind of fish they'll go home to meet on their bowl of fufu. Dame, bloody hell.
Just don't look back! And it's fun.
These games are never getting to the Olympics. We all know this. But so are we never going to stop playing them. Just in case they make it, Ghana is winning all the medals. Go Team Ghana!