Appalachia Games

Totin Over The Mark


Totin Over The Mark is one of the oldest games known to mankind. You may wonder how I can make such a high falutin claim, but once you see the simplicity of the game I think you’ll agree with me.

Two or more people draw a line in the dirt and face each other. Each side grabs the other’s shoulders or a rope that’s held between the two and the game begins! Each side tries to pull the other over the mark or in other words tote them over the mark. Most of us call the game Tug of War, but you’ve got to admit totin over the mark has a nice ring to it.


*Source Foxfire 6

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  • Reply
    March 23, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    There was another name for the game you’re calling Tug of War or Totin over the Mark. I been trying to think of it all day and it’s gettin dark and I still ain’t thunk of it. But I will, sometime, if I live long enough.
    I can tell you about tote. I have heard that word a million times. It is a hard plastic container with interlocking folding lids. They will stack when they are full and lids are closed and nest inside each other when they are open and empty. You see them at flea markets a lot. We used them to pick stuff into to ship out to our customers. Part of my job for about 25 years was to make sure the ladies had clean totes to pick into. They were on production and would tell you right quick if they were about to run out. We even had a tote boy whose job was nothing but unloading, cleaning out and putting out totes to the picker ladies. Oh, and a tote has a handle on each end that is fitted to your fingers so they are easier to tote. Maybe that is why they call them totes.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    Yep tug of war was a game of skill believe it or not, if you were picked as captain and given a choice of the class well you build your team and always choose the biggest person first and use them as an anchor on the end, a lot of fun as kids.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    I plan to come to Paul’s school tomorrow to hear The Pressley Girls, we’ll see. Pap was a Good friend and I love to hear his music that his Family are carrying on.

    I made a big pot of homeade soup today and I put every kind of Vegetable I had, but celery. I remember playing “tug of war” when I was a little squirt, but I don’t guess I was much help. Whoever chose sides was crazy because the Big Boys were always on the other side. …Ken

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 23, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    We called it Tug o’ War here…one more thang besides “totin’ over the mark” was “Crossin’ the line” as in a dare. Maybe a spat between rascally boys or spiteful girls…or brothers and sisters. This was especially happening when I was groing up and riding a long ways in the old Packard backseat…An imaginary line was drawn down the middle from the back of the front seat all the way across the seat and up the back to the small luggage shelf of the car…If one dared cross the line they got smacked from an arm from the front…I hated it when my little brother would tippy-toe his fingers across it and grin, pull it back before I could grab him quick before the front seat patrol (Mom n’ Dad) would catch him pestering me….Of course, I never did such a pestering thing to him….lol
    Thanks Tipper, great post…been missing you all…

    • Reply
      March 23, 2018 at 6:36 pm

      We all been missin you too, B.Ruth. Thought we was gonna have to come lookin for you.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 23, 2018 at 9:30 am

    I’ve never heard of totin over the mark but I sure have heard of tug of war. Participated in that many times.
    The randomly selected picture above with the caption “Be My Sweet Heart” is my mother and her long time young love boy friend. It’s quite surprise to open the Blind Pig and see my mother pictured there!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2018 at 9:09 am

    “One tote over the line, Sweet Jesus, one tote over the line”. Now I know. After all these years…

  • Reply
    Ann Appplegarth
    March 23, 2018 at 9:06 am

    I agree that is a more colorful name. We always called it Tug O’ War. But I have always heard tote used in other ways, and still use it myself.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 23, 2018 at 8:06 am

    Never heard it called that. But I have heard “tote” and its variations. However it has been a great long while since I have. The meaning I know is “to carry a load”, as in, ‘Let me tote that youngin. You’ve got your hands full.’ Come to think of it though, I recall hearing it used as meaning “adding”; for example “He toted up what I owed on a poke.”

    Thanks for the reminder.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A. Paul
    March 23, 2018 at 7:03 am

    What a great name moo by

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