If you grew up in youth group, you know that generally the youth pastor took a lot of liberties when it came to game time. Realizing that this is the time to relive their competitive teenage years, they come up with a game that usually involves throwing things at each other, or battling in hand to hand combat with other youth groupers, sometimes even with leaders, making those injuries worse.
Here are the games where that definitely happened in your youth group, from least likely to cause injury, to most likely
The classic game goes like this: players take four cards, and pass cards around the circle. Once one player is able to make four of a kind, they grab a spoon from the middle of the table. Once one person take a spoon, anyone can try to grab one. Since there is one less spoon than there are people in the game, one player is eliminated each round until one player remains.
Yes, this game seems innocent, but imagine having 10 hands with fragile fingers all reaching for the same objects. Add on top of that the battle that can ensue when two people grab the same spoon an each pull for it in different directions.
Injuries: Broken fingers, bruised egos of first eliminated player
I will never understand why so many youth groups do this stunt as part of a game. However it is done, the youth pastor generally puts a burger, fries, and soda into a blender to make a smooth liquid and then has the players compete for who can finish it first.
The problem is, every time this game is played, one of the players is always that girl who didn’t want to be up there in the first place who has a weak stomach. She takes a few sips, and then every meal she had the entire day comes back up with it.
Injuries: Puke bombs, possible bruises from slipping on puke
Once most school districts banned dodgeball as being too intense for public schools, youth groups seemed to add dodgeball more and more. Usually, this isn’t an issue when you have the normal rules most people have when playing dodgeball with students, like no headshots for example.
However, what almost always ends up happening is the much larger, much less inhibited youth leaders want to join in as well, and I think I don’t have to say what can happen when you have a 23 year old man chucking old kickballs at a 14 year old.
Injuries: Bruises, Concussions when Kyle the youth leader lands a headshot
I’ve seen it all. Everywhere from basic musical chairs, to grabbing items thrown all over a gym, to extreme musical chairs with scattered chairs, something about this concept makes youth pastors tingle with excitement.
You know the scene all too well. There’s a few players left, they all want to win, so they walk slowly by the chairs eyeing their opponent. When they get the signal from the music stopping, they pull the chair away just as another player was about to sit down, causing them to fall hard onto the likely hardwood floor.
Injuries: Broken tailbone
A classic game that everyone loves to play. All you have to do is grab the other teams flag and get it back undetected. This usually becomes a sprinting match between players desperately trying to stop the player who has the flag, resulting in the chasing player taking a flying dive to stop them, landing on the hard ground.
Either that, or the absolute terrifying fear that the one player remaining on a team has when the other team is closing in on them, realizing they never wanted to play this in the first place.
Injuries: Broken ankles, head injuries from slipping while reaching for the flag.
This is a really creative game that I honestly have never seen outside of a youth group setting. This game is played in the dark, with one player being the “grog”, a creature that can freeze people in place by tagging them. The goal is to find scattered pieces of a flashlight, put it together, and shine the light on the “grog” before he can freeze everyone.
What could possibly go wrong with a group of teens running around scrambling to find pieces of a flashlight in the pitch black? Unfortunately, many youth groups have extremely competitive players, who feel the need to run as fast as they can to find the pieces, not thinking about who may be in their way.
Injuries: Black eyes from collisions, broken arms from tripping over frozen players.
This game goes by many names but if you’ve played it, its seared in your mind forever, mainly because you probably have a scar on your body because you’ve played. The game is played when all youth groupers make a circle around a large trash can and lock arms. Players then try and pull their opponents towards the trash can without touching the trash can themselves. If you touch the trash can in any way, you’re out. Play proceeds until there is one player remaining.
Is it possible that this game was ever played WITHOUT someone getting injured? From teens pulling the person next to them so hard that they pull their arm our of their socket, to broken bones from tripping over the trash can, to fractures from a 6’1 high school linebacker pulling the 5’2 quiet homeschool girl into a trash can, the possibilities are endless. (But let’s be very clear, this game is way too much fun to ever stop playing)
Injuries: All of them. Literally any injury is possible.