All’s fair in love and thumb war. Once the battle cry of “One, two, three, four, I declare a Thumb War!” has been proclaimed and fingers have been interlaced…It’s ON. Your goal: pin your opponents thumb down for at least a second. There are no time limits, though tactics abound; you can either pin your enemy/friend right away, or hang back and let them struggle and tire themselves out before you go in for the final and sometimes brutal attack. Some legendary games have gone on for what seemed like days with the opponents waiting to seize the perfect opportunity to go in for the kill. This is thumb wrestling and it’s been a traditional childhood sparring activity since time immortal (or at least a few decades).
A few toys have shown up over the years, such as the Wham-O Thum wrasslin set of the 60s, which offered a plastic ring for which to wage your war of thumb-on-thumb. Needless to say, it didn’t catch on.
In the 1980s, the World Wrestling Federation teamed up with toymakers to capitalize on the growing craze of the WWF. Soon, action figures for the thumb in the shapes of wrestling stars of the day, such as the Incredible Hulk Hogan and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper were showing up on store shelves. They found a wanting audience, however the toys were disappointing and bulky. It was difficult to win when you could hardly even move your thumb, let alone outwit your opponent.
No, we tend to like our thumb wrestling the old fashioned way, sans accessories, just like our ancestors. It’s a simple test of skill and dexterity, a way to make decisions and earn bragging rights, and, dare we say, nary a thumb has ever made an emergency room visit as a result.
If you’ve waged a few thumb wars in your day, and are eager to share your battle stories, we invite you to tell us all about it in our comments section, as we tip our hats to this kid’s competition that never goes out of style.