In Far Rockaway, N.Y., Johnny on the Pony was played mostly on the beach. As described by others, one person would stand as what we called the pillow (as opposed to pillar). The rest of the team would line up crouched over head to butt with the pillow holding the head of the lead croucher. The other team would then run and jump leap-frog like to land stradled on the line of crouched kids. The object of the game was to support the weight of the entire team long enough to say; “Johnny on a Pony 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3”. Of course, the prevailing strategy would be to target one weak link (or unlikeable kid) in the chain and to have the entire team try to pile drive on that kid. More often than not, the pile would tip over sideways and fall off. Only brave and dopey kids played this game without shirts. The beach sand could file the skin off of your back when kids would leap as high as they could to crash down on you. In spite of the sand playing field, it’s a miracle that no one broke their back playing this game.
Original author: Albie Weiss [e-mail]