Now America Has Started Its Final Days

October 18, 2006

You have to read this. I am not kidding. If you don’t read this article from Massachusetts you may miss out on reading the moment when our country finally went over the edge and qualified us for what Lewis Black calls “A National Aneurism waiting to happen”.

Here is the essence of the article:

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.

Recess is “a time when accidents can happen,” said Willett Elementary School Principal Gaylene Heppe, who approved the ban.

While there is no districtwide ban on contact sports during recess, local rules have been cropping up. Several school administrators around Attleboro, a city of about 45,000 residents, took aim at dodgeball a few years ago, saying it was exclusionary and dangerous.

Recess is a time when accidents can happen? Who let this woman out of her padded room? Of course recess is a time when accidents happen. So is 6 a.m. So is noon. So is that time on Sunday afternoon when you can’t stay awake any longer. Accidents happen all the time, doing any kind of activity.

A friend of mine got out of bed one morning and stepped on a toothpick that was laying in wait on the carpet. That seemingly benign event resulted in (and I am not kidding) 3 years of medical therapy! So what can we conclude from his ordeal? That we should not get out of bed in the morning.

Later in the article, another school official is quoted as saying, her son feels safer because of the rule. “I’ve witnessed enough near collisions,” she said”. We have a perfectly good word for near collisions in English – it’s called a “miss”. I have near collisions every time I go on the Freeway. I have thousands of near collisions every week going from my home to my office. In fact, the car that just drove past my house as I write this had a near collision with my house…and I am thankful he did. About the only thing we really ought to be concerned about in this country is when objects larger than my house have near collisions with each other. Like oil tankers and bridge abuttments, two random airplanes, and the egos of Hugo Chavez and anyone moronic enough to enter into a discussion with him.

In the article, they talk about banning tag, dodgeball and touch football. Think about it people. These games were developed so kids wouldn’t play some of the games I played as a kid, which included full-contact fighting, real football, hitting people with stick games and my son’s personal favorite “Smear the Idiot”. You play Smear the Idiot by placing a football in the middle of about 6-10 guys. The stupidest of them, also eroneously assumed to be the bravest, picks up the football and tries to survive all the others smearing him. Schools invented tag to avoid Smear the Idiot.

But really, what was this school thinking? Most school psychologists will tell you that fairly soon, school will only be for girls. For boys to learn most effectively, they need to be almost continuously active. ‘Four recesses a day’ is the bare minimum proposed by one of America’s most eminent educational psychologists and head of that department at Rosameade College. Boys do well at tests and competitions. So it really seems that someone’s goal is to make education more feminine; Look at it: we eliminate most testing, most competitions and all contact sports.

I used to count having a bloody nose from an actual collision the mark of a good day – not the basis of a lawsuit.



  1. Some of my best memories of childhood involve “running around, having near-misses” at recess at school. It was good to get outdoors, even on the coldest days. Fresh air, sunshine, exercise – we are turning our children into fat, diabetic, lethargic people who have no idea what they can attain with a little effort – so that’s what they do–use little effort. What a sad way to live.

  2. Unfortunately our country is becoming so paranoid that we can’t even let our children play games to give them the little exercise that they get in a day. Most of them will go home and sit in front of the TV or computer for the rest of the day. So now they will get no exercise at all. That’s a good plan!!!

  3. We don’t need less games at school, we need more. But I don’t think we need to be stupid. I agree with the elimination of the Monkey Bars, for instance. Do we really need that much steel at oblique angles, grabbing arms and legs as you fall to hard concrete?

    What we need instead of reforming playground games is Tort Reform to eliminate or discourage frivolous lawsuits. That would free people up to play again, and perhaps even to spill hot McDonalds coffee onto their lap and be able to say “That was stupid of me”.

  4. When I read this, I couldn’t believe it, yet at the same time, we should know that this is happening here in Sac too. At the kids’ old school, Bell Ave, they would get in trouble for ‘chasing’ other kids during recess. They couldn’t play tag, or anything else. If they wanted to run, they could do laps, play basket ball, or some other sport. I couldn’t believe it. At Witter, I don’t think they can play tag, but they play ‘wall-ball’. I’m not too sure what that is, but I think it’s kind of like dodge-ball. When did we stop letting our kids be kids?? Everyone is so sue happy, that people react out of fear vs faith. Though at the same time, I too am guilty of reacting out of fear vs faith. I think we should pray for our kids, teachers & the rest of leadership to dismiss the lawsuits to allow the kids to play. When did our desire to protect our interests change from our children to money?

  5. Once again Breanna, tort reform (laws setting limits on lawsuits) would go a long way to allowing our children to be children…especially boys.

  6. I would love to laugh, but sadly just on the news yesterday way up here in chilly Canada I heard three of the schools in my town are doing the same thing.
    I asked the principle of my children’s school if she would implement the same rule. The answer was a resounding NO. Thank God, literally.
    I would be tempted to move the boys out of the school if she did. All those years of me saying “Get up, you’re fine, go finish playing” would be out the window. It would be replaced with this attitude “You’re hurt! Oh my goodness, call a lawyer and when someone hurts my baby we’ll make them pay won’t we sweetie. There there Mommy will sue the bad child’s parents”. I would be powerless to say to them you get up and go again, it’s alright to get hurt sometimes. How do you teach a little patience goes a long ways when all the ways to teach them are banned.
    We think road rage is bad now wait. If we raise a generation of children who live with banned school games ……….. watch out. The roads will be a mess with trantruming 40 years olds and their lawyers.

  7. We already have 40 year olds down in Sacrmento throwing tantrums on the road and calling their lawyers. That is the fruit of so many years without tort reform in the States. At least there in the Frozen North there are limits on personal liability lawsuits.

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