Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
My name is Susan Mary Swan. I was born here in Logan, Utah in June of 1996, to Jamie and Jason Swan. I am the 2nd oldest of 5 siblings, 4 girls and 1 boy (the baby of the family). But my older sister passed away as a baby, so I was raised as the oldest. We lived here in Cache Valley until June 2007, when we moved to North Carolina. We lived there for nearly 5 years and then moved to Arlington, TX in January 2012. I came back to Logan in August 2014 to attend Utah State University. In August 2015, I left on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. After living in Australia for a year and a half, I returned home in February 2017 and worked for a few months in both Texas and Idaho, and then reenrolled in USU in August 2017. I am currently enrolled in USU as an Art major, with a minor in Folklore.
After graduating high school and turning 18 in June of 2014, I was finally allowed to attend church with the Young Single Adults (or “YSA”) in my local area. We would gather once or twice throughout the week to play games or get to know one another. Often the games we’d play would subtly encourage male/female interaction in close proximity. This is because within the church there is a strong push for YSAs to get married asap, and so activities often consisted of dating activities. This details one particular game we played during a Monday night activity.
As YSAs, we often gather together to play games and eat food. On one particular occasion, I arrived to the planned activity and was informed we would be playing a game called “YSA Roulette”. I wasn’t sure what this meant, so I asked for clarification. The YSA in charge had us all gather together so she could explain the rules. She explained that we all had to circle up, boys on the outside, girls on the inside. The boys should each kneel down on one knee and the girls should all go and sit cross-legged in front of each boy. All but one boy, one of the boys was to not have a girl in front of him so as to simulate the single bullet in the barrel of a gun used to play “Russian Roulette”. This of course is played oppositely, as there is one empty space rather that one filled space. After everyone was situated, our leader asked all the boys to close their eyes, EXCEPT for the boy with no girl. His objective then was to “steal” another man’s girl without him realizing she was gone. In order to do this the “single” guy would look around at the circle of girls and wink at one in particular. She then would acknowledge she’d been chosen. Her objective at this point is to crawl away from her current man, without him realizing, and make it across the circle to her awaiting new man. Of course, there is always an obstacle in games like this… because if by chance, her current man senses her leaving, he has until she reaches half way across the circle to “win her back”, or in other words wrestle her back into submission haha. She has 2mins to “break free” of her man in order to reach the half-way point and thus securing her way to her new man. If she succeeds then she sits in front of her new man and her previous man becomes the next one to wink at an unsuspecting female around the circle. BUT if she does not succeed and her current man retains her in his hold, her “summoner” would have to try again and then wink at a different girl. The game continues until time runs out of you get bored haha. A fun variation is to switch the men to the inside and the women to the outside and the game is played the same way. It’s super fun, and can get violent sometimes. But everything’s fair in love and war right? ;)
I am writing this game with fond memories and humorous recollection. On the day, we were all a little nervous to begin with. We weren’t sure what would be allowed or what wasn’t allowed. After a little bit of a practice round, we got the hang of it. Suddenly we all were holding back laughter and even sacrificing each other to the summoner. We had a blast with this game, most of us were friends to begin with and so it was definitely a relationship builder. And even those of us who didn’t know each other, sure got to know one another fast as one of us tackled the other. One girl in particular had the misfortune to sit in front of a man who happened to be in the National Guard and had super sensitive hearing and reflexes. She had no hope… every time someone winked at her the second she even moved her arm to get up, even though he had his eyes closed he would sense her movement and immediately bear hug her to keep her with him. She was small enough that it was no fight at all. Needless to say, he didn’t ever have to be the summoner haha and she never got away. I’ve only been able to play it that one time, since then we’ve never really had the opportunity to do it again. But if the opportunity arises, you better believe I’m going to suggest playing YSA Roulette.
ENGL 2210- Intro. to Folklore
Dr. Lynne S. McNeil
Semester and year
G6: Socializing Games
Swan, Susan, "YSA Roulette" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 588.