Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Red Rover

That's it. Our litigious society has gone too far. Attleboro, Massachusetts has banned games of tag on the playground.

Officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable.

Okay. Sure. Obesity is at an all-time high and you want to further discourage physical activity because the school district might get sued? All these public service announcements tell kids to go outside and play, yet we're telling them to sit down because they might pull a Jason Street and end up maimed?

Tag is just about the least deadly game that kids can play on the playground. I don't think I ever got hurt playing tag, and I loved tag and played often. Red Rover? That's a dangerous game. Have kids holding hands and send one kid careening into the arms of two other kids? I always feared my arms would be ripped out of my sockets playing Red Rover, but I loved it. I was also a swing-jumper. I'd get the swing going as high as possible, then take a gigantic leap off at the top of the arc. One time I did a full face plant into the sand, and was spitting out pebbles for the rest of the day. But I told everyone I nearly did a full rotation in the air, and it was awesome.

Kids are meant to get hurt. They are young and malleable and once you put a band-aid on them, they're fine 90% of the time. I've taken care of kids for over a decade, and the worst injuries I've had were one kid who broke his arm slamming into the padded wall while playing basketball, and when the boy I babysit fell off some playground equipment and bit through his lip. Nobody got sued because it was just kids being kids (though I was marginally at fault for the playground equipment injury). I'd much rather have a kid who breaks his arm playing basketball than a kid who never gets injured because he plays Playstation all day.

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