So, it’s come to this. More and more school systems are banning games, and activities at recess that involve contact. Schools systems propped up by “playground consultants,” and endorsed by hysterical parents are doing away with activities at class break that MIGHT cause injury. At some schools, there no longer will be the game of tag, or soccer, or if they still know how, Red Rover. “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Zulu right over!” This was a game that involved 2 literally opposing teams making human chains to prevent the called out name from breaking the chain, and hopefully being caught “in the web,” and forced to join the “other side.” The memories bring such joy!
Yes, there is a chance of injury, but if the game is played by kids in the smaller grades, while hopefully age, and size common sense prevails (unlike my picture), the benefits of recess games far outweigh the risks. Some early education experts will even agree that “skills” learned on the playground are not only beneficial, but paramount in developing fundamental evolutionary tools for human success and survival; coping skills, conflict resolution, an idea of fair play, abilities to follow rules, and guidelines. While some “experts” are too busy with their educational psycho-babble to admit it, the kids might even have some fun, which also goes a long way to promote happiness, well-being, and a sense of inclusion.
Let’s make up a town; lets call it Harwich. Supposed there was a story from the “alleged town” told to me by some children at one of the elementary schools. They told me at recess, they played a game called Virtual Tag. Immediately, when they told me about the game, I was so shocked into silence, that the kids took my dumbfounded stare as confusion, and proceeded to explain the rules of a game where nobody is allowed to touch each other, hence the name, virtual.
When kids around the world played this game as it should be played, were there times when the tag became a slap or a push? Of course. The “funniest” part were games when a kid had tripped from running , and would be laying on the ground with a red welt on their face from the “tag.” Does the kid yell out “I’m going to sue you!” Well today, the kids may say that, but the majority of the kids just screamed out; “NO TAG, YOU MISSED ME!” This happened so often, most of the kids quit the game not out of distress, but other kids unwillingness to obliged by the rule; when your tagged, you’re IT!
As if all this isn’t perplexing enough, and with the benefits of recess described here, contact games will continue to be banned on playgrounds, but nobody seems overly worried about excessive amounts of time kids spend lying around damp basements, stuffing their faces with junk food, all the while playing overly violent video games.
Outside playing Kick The Can, Leap Frog, and Dodgeball, sounds much better.