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Dibble dabble

What it is: A pool game my siblings and I loved to play (my mom taught it to us; I think she used to play with her siblings when she was a kid).

Best for: Group of 3 to 8 players.

What you need: A pool, probably at least 4 players, and a small white whiffle ball (one the size of a golf ball).

How to play: All players stand outside the pool, with their backs turned towards it. One player takes the whiffle ball, places it somewhere on the bottom of the pool, and then resurfaces. As soon as the other players hear the player resurface, they turn around and start watching for the ball – the goal is to be the first to find and grab it. A small white whiffle ball floats, but slowly, so it will take a while for it to come up to the surface. The players on the side don’t know where the ball might be, so they all watch for it carefully. The first player to spot the whiffle ball jumps into the pool to grab it. But as soon as he or she jumps in, the other players can jump in, too, and then whoever grabs the white whiffle ball first and yells “dibble dabble” (no matter if it’s the person who first spotted it or not) wins. The winner gets to hide the whiffle ball for the next round.

If you’re playing with a big group, chances are more than one person will spot the whiffle ball at the same time, but that’s okay. The rule just says that players are allowed to jump in the pool either when they see the whiffle ball or when they see someone else jump in.

A small white whiffle ball is very hard to spot in a pool (especially if people are jumping in and splashing around), so a lot of the game is usually spent searching for the ball, but still splashing around a lot to keep others from finding it, too. And that’s all part of the fun. :-)

Strategies: If you’re the one to see the ball first and jump in, it could be smart to jump away from where the ball is (if you’re fairly certain you’re the only one who’s seen it), because most likely the other players will be watching to see where you jump so they can jump in after you and grab the ball. While they’re splashing and searching, you make a break for it, grab the ball, and yell “dibble dabble!” Or, if you’re the one hiding the ball, you can get sneaky and place it by an edge, or even on the surface of the pool, just to throw the other players for a loop. You could also, when all the players are in the pool looking for the ball, pretend to see it on the far side of the pool to distract your opponents while you’re still searching.

Variations: We always played with a whiffle ball, but you can play with anything small, hard to see, and buoyant-but-not-too-buoyant, like a toothpick, a popsicle stick, a golf tee, a toothpaste cap, or 2-liter soda bottle cap.

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