Saturday, December 15, 2007

We're Told That:
Obesity is Rampant, World-Wide,
Putting Our Children's Health in Peril.
Traditional Games are Banned in Recess

What is wrong with this picture?!

I'm not making this up. "USA Today's" " 'Not it!' More schools ban games at recess" tells about the latest thing in education: getting rid of dangerous things like "tag" and touch football.

This year, playing tag at recess was banned at elementary schools in Cheyenne, WY, and Spokane, WA. Soccer and touch football are verboten at other schools. They're following the lead of schools in
  • Wichita, KS
  • San Jose, CA
  • Beaverton, OR
  • Rancho Santa Fe, CA
Years ago, dodge ball was too rough and dangerous.

Now it's tag that's too risky.

This does not make sense.
  • Obesity is a Global Crisis!
  • Our Children's health is in peril!
  • We must encourage our children to exercise!
  • Don't play tag, touch football, soccer, or dodge ball at recess!
If this keeps up, kids will be required to line up during recess, do isometric exercises, and close their eyes tight - so that the weaker kids aren't traumatized by seeing others doing better.

This isn't an issue here in Sauk Centre, yet. Tucked away here in central Minnesota, we aren't at the cutting edge of crazy ideas.

Playing football and dodge ball aren't among my precious childhood memories. Being a cripple took the edge off my appreciation of these games. On the other hand, I wasn't particularly traumatized. My classmates were quite willing to let me opt out of the games - and I found a work-around for Phy Ed's dodge ball requirement.

I dodged until I was in a corner or against the wall, turned, and let the ball bounce off me. Hitting a stationary target that's waiting patiently to get hit isn't much fun, so I didn't have to worry about more than about one bounce-off.

Of course, American culture wasn't as nervously risk-averse then.

The idea that tag is too dangerous for kids to play brings up an interesting question: What kind of world do educators think they're preparing kids for?

If you live in one of the more cautious parts of the world, and think there's something crazy about banning children's games, you're not alone. The American Association for the Child's Right to Play (IPA USA) is the USA affiliate of International Play Association promoting the child's right to play.

It's nice to know that America isn't the only place with crazy people making decisions for the rest of us.

My rant's over. If you're still reading, thanks for indulging me.

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