I’m a little behind the news these days, but I wanted to sound off regarding the issue of banning childhood games in the schools before the topic becomes more ancient than Beethoven’s powdered wig.
I am extremely disappointed in the continued movement away from ‘play’ in the schoolyards. When I heard that a Colorado school recently banned “tag”, I just about dropped my weed whacker I was shaving my legs with.
What now? Is Red Rover the new target?
Aside from the forced hand holding of children which could enforce homoerotic behavior, sexual harassment, abuse, or–heckola– fun, what happens when someone is not chosen to ‘come over’? Will the young, Asian child yell, “Racial profiling?” If an African American kid is called, will the white kids yell, “Objection! Reverse racial discrimination and affirmative action!
In tag, if a girl is tapped is it sexual harassment? If a boy is tagged, are you ‘sticking it to the man’?
What happened to the hippity hops of the 70’s? We drag raced across the field on hippity hops. We had hippity hop wars. We had hippity hop tag. Are hippity hops banned, too? Where are those? Did someone determine they were too much fun and recommended they be removed? It’s like taking away someone’s favorite mode of bouncing transportation. What? There were no seat belts on them? What? Kids sometimes fell off of them and skinned their knees? Guess what! They’re kids! You could put a kid into a room with padded walls and his finger will get stuck up their nose and they’ll still fall off of something and get a scratch.
Like trying to steer Rosie O’Donnell away from a badly-written haiku lamenting politicians, trying to convince school officials that games like dodge ball bolster what little eye-hand coordination used to exist before people planted their butts on their politically correct sofas playing video games as a positive is like trying to convince a football player to give up his coaching.
What happened to kickball? Are there not enough adults at recess to lead kids in a rousing game? Oh, that’s right. I forgot. Too many kids had the ball aimed at them to get them out, and now, tagging was no linger allowed. Either they were thrown out at first, or they were in like Ann Hathaway at an exclusive Hollywood night club.
What happened to duck duck goose? Oh, that’s right. Some PETA child of angst told her parents that geese were considered a problem, and in an effort to embrace all wildlife, the game was ended. Besides, that tap to the head made someone cry once, and the fat kid who didn’t quite make it around the circle before being tagged threatened to sue for ‘obesity insensitivity’.
The ability to play on a team and use teamwork without adult politics and involvement from the sidelines, high fee bills and uniforms is becoming as extinct in this society as Atari Pong. Play is becoming too dangerous. Too politically incorrect. Too exclusive.
Pogo sticks? What if the girl in the skirt flashed her underwear and gave another 5 year old unsavory thoughts? Or, worse yet, show what day of the week it was?
We used to play jacks. That was a good game for hand-eye coordination, timing, counting, and good sportsmanship. It was portable, didn’t require batteries, and was fun to watch. Now it’s a choking hazard, small pieces which could be stepped on and injurious. Someone could be upset because due to their dyslexia, they didn’t remember what came after four and sued the school for being prejudiced against kids who couldn’t win at jacks.
The only game on the playground now is victimization, with kids learning strategy as they swap their lawyer’s business cards, along with their therapist’s advice. Whining and victimization have replaced brushing yourself off and getting back in the game.
Most kids are being taught to sit on the sidelines and play their Game boys. Sit down, shut up, keep things simple.
There’s time enough to keep things simple. Let kids play. Let them learn those life lessons through play, through sometimes not being the one chosen, not being the fastest, strongest, the one with the best reflexes. Let them learn the joy of being on the winning team and the sportsmanship that comes from being on the losing team.
Bring back my hippity hop, ding dangit.