Transcribed Text of Informant Telling me How the Game Works
“So, with Anti-I-Over (informant clears throat), you have two teams right? And you have to have a building. When we (in reference to her siblings) would play at the farm, we’d do it at the old white shed. You can do it with only two people…with one person on either side of the shed or building or whatever you’re using…or in teams with multiple people. But anyways, one team has a ball, like a tennis ball, and, um, you yell ‘Anti-I-Over’ right, and throw the ball over the roof from your side of the shed to the other side where the other team or person or whoever is…and so if the team catches the tennis ball you threw over, they run around the side of the shed and try to tag your team, either by throwing the tennis ball at you and hitting you…or you can tag them with the ball in your hands…and while they’re trying to get you with the tennis ball you and your team is trying to get to the other side of the shed where your opponents caught the ball. You’re, um, you’re trying to get there, uh, before the other team has the chance to get you with the ball. And you’re there you’re safe…oh, and if…if you throw the ball and the other team doesn’t catch it, you wait in anticipation and then they’re yell ‘anti-i-over’ and you’ll try and catch the ball. And…yeah…the game kind of just repeats like that…every time the ball is caught each person or team switches sides.”
My informant says this was a game that she learned about from her older siblings, and would play with both them and her younger siblings. While she says that this game was popular and known within the North Dakotan community she grew up in, she says she only played it with her siblings. When asked for an analysis of the game, she paused, squished her face into a pondering gaze, and eventually said “well I’m not sure there’s anything too deep with the game…it’s just something I played growing up. I’m not sure even why we say ‘anti-I-over…” it’s just what I learned and so how I played.”
Before having formally interviewed my informant about the North Dakotan German-Russian folklore and folk games she experienced growing up, I was aware of this particular game, as it had been taught to me by her and played with her years ago. It’s a very fun and aerobic game, and outside of North Dakota, I’ve never heard of anyone else mention it. While the history behind the game is unknown to my informant, I would guess that this game has been played by generations upon generations in North Dakota, since the game was familiar to my informant and her school friends at the time.