Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

"This Is Not A Safe Thing"

On the "Most Wanted" list!
Long gone are the "go outside and play" days; they have been replaced by supervised play dates and more adult oversight than the budgeting process for the U.S. government, it seems. We knew enough to keep ourselves occupied since our mothers would have found something to do...and it would not have been a pretty sight.
Most of our leisure time activity was taken up utilizing some sort of ball or board game; at least our mothers knew where we were and how we were doing. We were able to learn spatial and body awareness on the playground as we negotiated whatever space was allotted...always mindful of the older and bigger kids who might create an issue if we wandered too far astray. Now, it seems like everyone has a say in how we can spend what used to be unstructured playtime.
In San Francisco, officials recently declared the daily outdoor chess games to be a public nuisance, and the police appropriated the boards and pieces for the largely homeless population that gathered every day along Market Street to play...and, occasionally, scrounge a bit of money from tourists.
In Port Washington, New York, the students at Weber Middle School were told that their recesses of 20 minutes would now be taken without the usual accouterments: footballs, baseballs, soccer balls or lacrosse balls. The principal declared that the use of such objects constituted a safety hazard for students in the small activity area. really. Objects that helped us learn teamwork, running and dodging as well as a fair amount of skills and gave us an opportunity to release excess energy were now if cutting physical education classes weren't enough of a handicap!
Merchants in San Fran complained that illegal activities were taking place in the chess games' proximity, and even though the players were not suspected of being involved, general wisdom indicated that such game-playing needed to be halted...of course, the illegal drug sales that were happening went right on happening, but at least governing officials could say they had done something about the problem.
One might surmise the ban on balls at the school was the result of a threat of litigation because a child was hit with an errant throw or kick. The concern for head injuries is real and needs to be addressed, but taking balls out of play will not stop a child from flying off the merry-go-round or falling from the monkey bars, or getting pushed in a game of tag...which, by the way, can only be undertaken under adult supervision on the playground. wow.
Maybe the kids should take up chess.


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