The "You've Got to Be $@*!ing Me" Files: No Tagbacks Edition

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Via Slashdot, it seems an elementary school near Boston is only the most recent to ban tag and other "contact" games. Money quote:

Another Willett parent, Celeste D'Elia, said her son feels safer because of the rule. "I've witnessed enough near collisions," she said.

Near. Collisions. I couldn't have made that one up. Our fearless leader, Freedom's Fonz, wrote about the quest to child-proof the world way back in nineteen-dickety-seven, while I considered the potential political fallout of being raised millennial in 'aught-three.

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  1. Hot diggity damn, another Kill the Man With the Ball thread!

  2. Shouldn’t that be “You’ve got to be $@*!ing kidding me”??

    And yes, this is completely ridiculous.

    I’ve always thought that this is why people are more inclined to be in favour of the state taking care of them. If you’ve been coddled your whole life, it’s tough out there on your own, and it’s nice to have someone holding your hand, even if they’re giving it to you from behind while they do so.

  3. What’s odder than a school not allowing kids to play “tag” is that this fact:

    a) is being treated by CNN as a national story
    b) appears to actually make some adults angry

  4. This is completely insane. Reminds me of an elementary school teacher of mine who wanted to change the school’s field days so that in each competition there would be no first or second place, just First Winner and Second Winner.

    I’m not making this up! (Props to Dave B.)

  5. Okay, Dan, I’ll bite: Gasp! What you said makes me upset, so let me explain why (blah blah blah). My goodness gracious, your unusual viewpoints make me view the world in a whole new way, rather than think of a four-year-old who just learned that grownups go bugshit when they hear him say words like “bugshit,” and tests this theory on a regular basis.

  6. CNN is treating it as a national story because most people remember playing tag at school, and remember it not being all that dangerous.

    Angry isn’t the right word, Dan. I think it’s closer to saddened that the fear of litigation and liability has turned us into such pussies that even childrens’ games are banned.

  7. Come on, Jen…you must confess that there is hilarity to be found in the idea that not allowing kids to play tag and dodgeball is going to ruin them for life.

  8. I like the fact that Dan T. continues to post here, but that I’ll never really know what sort of moronic bullshit he’s spewing.

    God, it’s just fantastic.

  9. Hey, I’m a living example of what tag and dodgeball can do to a kid.

  10. When tag is outlawed, only outlaws will play tag.

  11. BUGSHIT!

    POOP!

    PEE PEE!

    LOOK AT ME! PAY ATTENTION TO ME! I’M BOLD AND ICONOCLASTIC!

  12. As with airline passengers, I believe the solution to potential student violence is to place them in suspended animation for the duration of their visit.

    What? I’m not saying that their frozen bodies couldn’t be wheeled into class or anything. And I bet this would reduce disciplinary problems and drug use by, oh, 15%!

  13. Hey, I’m a living example of what tag and dodgeball can do to a kid.

    nice try, Dan 😉

    Jennifer you are cracking me up.

  14. you must confess that there is hilarity to be found in the idea that not allowing kids to play tag and dodgeball is going to ruin them for life.

    If it began and ended there I wouldn’t care one bit. But this reflects bigger problems.

    I’m reminded of a story a few years ago that ran in Salon.com. It was about an effort to get more kids to walk to school, instead of either getting rides from parents or taking the bus. Now, I don’t object in the least to such an effort. It might also have some beneficial side effects such as less money spent on school buses, more exercise for kids, maybe less crowded traffic around schools when parents are picking up or dropping off, etc.

    So it wouldn’t be so bad if somebody gave a talk at the PTA meeting on the benefits of walking to school, or whatever. Who could care?

    Well, an organization was formed. Committees were formed. Routes were mapped. Lawyers and insurance companies were consulted. Volunteers were recruited to act as escorts. In some cases private sponsors were found to cover part of the costs of what I just described.

    All in all, that’s quite a bit of effort for an activity that millions of people managed with no trouble at all. I couldn’t care less if the kids walk to school (in fact, I encourage it!). And on one level, hey, if people want to form committees and recruit volunteers and seek willing private sponsors, well, whatever floats your boat.

    But on another level, isn’t it kind of sad that it would come to that? That kids would be taught that even the simplest activities should only be conducted with careful coordination with authorities, sponsors, committees, lawyers, etc.?

  15. I object to you. I object to intellect without discipline. I object to power without constructive purpose.

  16. Come on, Jen…you must confess that there is hilarity to be found in the idea that not allowing kids to play tag and dodgeball is going to ruin them for life.

    Oh, it probably won’t ruin them for life, but then. neither will allowing them to eat a bowl of Cap’n Crunch, and wash it down with a coke. I seem to remember your having different opinions about the latter.

  17. Hey, how about we replace tag with . . .PRAYER! Can’t hurt, right?

    [Insert maniacal laughter]

  18. I seem to remember your having different opinions about the latter.

    Because his opinion is always the exact opposite of whatever’s being said here.

    BOOGER! UNDERPANTS!

  19. Dan, could you maybe expound on your previous post a bit? It was fascinating. I’d really like to know what you think.

  20. Christ, I’m using the wrong words to get the desired reaction from this crowd.

    GUN CONTROL!

    TAX INCREASE!

    SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!

  21. But on another level, isn’t it kind of sad that it would come to that? That kids would be taught that even the simplest activities should only be conducted with careful coordination with authorities, sponsors, committees, lawyers, etc.?

    I have no facts for this, so move along if so inclined…I wonder if this process approach to so many things is not the inevitable result of a society defined by process…due process, manufacturing processes, procedures for programming your remote, your computer…what we teach kids is very much that there is a process to follow for everything…when process is the glue that holds the entropy of society at bay (sorry, mixed metaphor), maybe it’s not all bad…though also certainly sad if you believe in the ideal of the self-determining individual. I dunno.

  22. I suppose a game of “smear the queer” is right out.

  23. I am reminded of something I heard in high school. In typical high school fashion, someone said of someone not present, “I heard he almost got his girlfriend pregnant.” A friend who was with me at the time said, “Isn’t ‘almost’ the same as ‘didn’t‘?”

  24. I wonder if this process approach to so many things is not the inevitable result of a society defined by process.

    That’s an interesting theory, but I actually think it has more to do with the idea that everything should be absolutely 100% risk-free and completely safe, and furthermore things CAN be risk-free and completely safe so long as we add enough rules to the mix.

    C’mon–we ban more and more physical activities for kids, while simultaneously wondering why so many kids today are fatasses. It’s because any activity that burns more than three calories per hour might–just might–result in someone getting hurt, and therefore must be outlawed.

    True fact: a couple of weeks ago I saw a kid in full safety gear–helmets and elbow and knee pads–while riding a TRICYCLE.

  25. Uh, actually the kid only wore one helmet. Oops.

  26. Uh, actually the kid only wore one helmet.

    Yet another example of negligent parenting.

    I’m curious: The article cites liability fears as being part of the reason for the decision. Has any school been successfully sued over a kid getting hurt playing tag? I’ve heard the stories of schools settling out of court because it’s cheaper, but has any school every let the case go before the jury and lost?

  27. Here’s a thought: The only way to stop the litigation and move on is to build an invulnerable person. I’m not entirely kidding. Improve the species to the point where we aren’t so vulnerable, then fear of pain, damage, loss, death and the resulting litigation goes away.

  28. If a parent in 1950s America called for a ban on tag due to potential damage to a child, that parent would have been taken forcably to an asylum, possibly subjected to electroshock, probably enrolled in some state-run anticommunist deprogramming class, and a judge certainly would have had ordered her tubes tied.

    Celeste D’Elia derserves no less.

  29. We just had pellet gun fights instead… what did you guys do?

  30. Guys, I’m not sure that’s our original, authentic Dan T. =)

    Anyway, if I were a parent in that district, I would instruct my child to go flagrantly disobey this rule by playing tag every recess.

  31. We had dirt-clod fights until one of my friends got pegged in the eye and we got a nice tongue-lashing from our folks. We also played smear the queer, but my mom got mad at that terminology, so my folks weren’t entirely un-PC.

    But my folks were also the kind of parents who wouldn’t let me have a bb or pellet gun because they thought it wouldn’t teach me proper respect for firearms. They bought me real guns instead.

    I also used to routinely go horseback riding from the time I was about 5 years old on some of the hairiest, back-woods high country you can imagine.

    They’d probably be locked up for child abuse these days.

  32. When I was a kid, we played a game called “the gun game”:

    One of us was the ‘shooter’ and the others were the ‘victims’. The kid who ‘died’ best got to be the ‘shooter’ in the next round. The shooter got to choose his weapon. (Up to grenades, as I recall – we didn’t use nukes, because how do you play being vaporized?)

    I would love to see the antics of the self-appointed ‘protectors of children’ – not to mention the PC police – if kids were to play that now.

  33. BB-gun fights, dirtclod fights, orange/grapefruit fights

    We made armor out of cardboard then beat the crap out of each other with construction stakes used as swords.

    All of the above sent somebody to the ER.

  34. “Improve the species to the point where we aren’t so vulnerable, then fear of pain, damage, loss, death and the resulting litigation goes away.”

    That, or the term “Extreme Sports” gets completely redefined. I’m thinking something along the lines of the Mountain Dew ad with the fellow riding a shark.

  35. In the late 50’s, early 60’s, there was no such thing as a bicycle helmet.
    We played tackle football without equipment, kids got hurt all the time. So what.
    Yes, Paul, we had pellet gun fights, too, except I had a BB gun which was a disadvantage.
    People didn’t chain-up their dogs, so there were certain streets you didn’t ride your bike down, or if you did you pedaled real fast.
    In the summer, our parents turned us loose and we came home before dark.
    The term “Soccer Mom” didn’t exist. Either did soccer (Thank you, Lord).
    We drank Kool-Aid and soft drinks, there was no such thing as a diet soda, we ate candy bars and other junk food, and fat kids were so rare it was acceptable, even noble, to call them fat kids.
    Fat kids beat up skinny kids for calling them fat.
    When you came home battered and bruised, nobody got sued.

  36. As I read this, I realize that my sons, who ski, bike, play soccer, ride horses, and generally behave in a thoroughly typical hyperactive kid fashion, have only injured themselves indoors, doing things that don’t require running. My older son had two emergency room visits from head injuries incurred while sitting on chairs. Seriously, he was goofing around at day camp and fell backwards off a bench (six stitches) and on another occasion got cold at a skating rink, pulled his arms and legs into his t-shirt, fell off the chair and gave himself a concussion. He got headlice from the CT scanner at the children’s hospital ER after that one. The younger one hasn’t required trauma care — yet — but he did manage to give himself a nasty cut by taking apart older son’s Lego sculpture, and a black eye from opening Christmas presents. (Just don’t ask.)

    Oh, and Jennifer, the boys’ favorite phrase is:

    YOU FARTED!!!!!

  37. As I read my previous post, that isn’t the most felicitous phrasing. I don’t mean to suggest that I’m directing my sons’ rather, er, direct form of address at Jennifer, only informing her that she missed one of the most popular elementary school shock words.

  38. It’s a dangerous world out there. My son got thirteen stitches once from playing at one of those inflatable domes filled with rubber balls.

  39. What you said, Buckshot. Dirtball fights, rockfights, fight fights. Bikes without armor! BBguns……but there was a line there. Kids who grew up properly socialized around guns were “wet blankets”- you didnt point them ar things you didnt want to hit. I was a wet blanket, and I wasnt alone.
    We worked, said “sir” and “maam” and managed to grow up on our own sweat & hook.
    Friggin whiney puff balls today? And the empty headed 10 year old porn stars of tommorrow?
    well, were just one in a long line of empires. Damn shame, tho: it dosnt have to be this way.
    Ive seen far better parenting in 3rd world backwaters.
    I dont think its lawyers, I think lawyers are just a symptom of people abrogating responsibility.

  40. Another Willett parent, Celeste D’Elia, said her son feels safer because of the rule. “I’ve witnessed enough near collisions,” she said.

    Congratulations, Ms. D’Elia. You are well on your way to raising a great big honking ginormous blubbering PUSSY.

    God help the kid if he actually runs around and engages in physical activity and ALMOST RUNS INTO ANOTHER KID. That might kill him.

    Tell you what, Ms. D’Elia. Why don’t you make sure that Fragile Porcelain Pussyboy wears a helmet EVERY TIME HE LEAVES THE HOUSE? He might trip and fall. Someone might throw a rock or a ball in his general direction. A hard-shelled nut might fall off a tree.

    Actually, Steuben Crystal Pussyboy is in danger JUST SITTING IN HIS ROOM. Something might fall off a shelf and hit his head. He could trip and fall. I’ve known kids who ran and jumped on their beds and hit their heads on the headboard and suffered semi-serious injuries. (I was one of them.) Better make Diaphanous Web of Spun Sugar Pussyboy wear a helmet AT ALL TIMES. Better yet, have it grafted RIGHT ONTO HIS SKULL. And to make sure he doesn’t run, jump or trip, why don’t you saw his limbs off too? You can’t be too safe. Especially when you’re Celeste D’Elia’s son, Ephemeral Winking Cloud of Short-Lived Unstable Pentaquarks Pussyboy.

  41. I don’t mean to suggest

    Too late. You’ll be hearing from our lawyers.

    Disclaimer: The forgoing quotation and commentary is intended only as humorous observation pertaining to general contemporary mores and bears no relation the motives or character of any person or class of person, living or dead.

  42. What’s odder than a school not allowing kids to play “tag” is that this fact:

    a) is being treated by CNN as a national story

    It is good that this is a national story. It has a chance of humiliating these wusses into repealing the ban.

  43. Buckshot,

    My childhood in the ’70s and early ’80s was exactly the same as your description, with the exception that neither I nor any of my friends had guns and we definitely did play soccer (I love soccer, still play today). I still think it’s funny that kids who go skiing wear helmets now.

  44. But without tag, how will the children be prepared for the rat-race, or for this:

    > http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2580664&page=1

    You think if they’re slow on the draw, they can sue the school for having banned tag? Y’know, the playing fields of Eaton and all that.

  45. I blame the fucking Ad Council. Those bastards have to be stopped!

  46. When I was a kid I wanted a helmet for my bike, but my parents wouldn’t let me have one. Maybe if I had called it a safety helmet instead of crash helmet they might have changed their minds.

  47. This just in: “The National Center for the protection of child welfare has discovered the danger of life. Yes, living leads to injury and then later death. ‘We’ve got to do something to stop people, especially young children from this thing, this awful thing called life…..they could get hurt,’ said child safety czar Frank Bipple. ‘It’s an epidemic of crisis proportions’ he said from inside the plastic bubble he’s lived in all his life.”

    First they came for tag….or maybe last…(but when childhood ends, one of the best things about life itself, I want to ask, ‘um, what’s the point in this whole adventure anyway?’)

    My childhood spanded the late 60’s and early 70’s and I’ll be the first to admit it was pretty crazy and possibly there were moments when just a little more adult supervision or intervention would have made sense. But I wouldn’t have traded it in, crazy risks and all, for one moment for the incredibly controlled childhood kids are subjected to today. Back then, we could still build bike jumps, play tag even in trees, jump out of trees into blackberry bushes wearing ski suits and motorcyle helmets, play hide and seek until dark, etc. Summers we roamed the neighborhood and local woods and had all sorts of adventures. Came up with one game or silly idea after another. On Halloween we trick or treated all over the neighborhood and into the next one without supervision once past the age of 7 or 8 or so. What’s next, they take away hide and seek? Blowing bubbles? Remove all the trees in cities so children don’t climb on them?

    Karen, be careful of letting those falling out of chair stories fall into the wrong hands. Next thing you know, chairs are going to be banned.

    Dan T.
    Adults are upset because ‘tag’ is sort of symbolic of childhood itself. Taking that away from children seems like one more sign that the nanny state is trying to slowly remove all the things that make childhood itself a wonderful adventure.

  48. Stevo Darkly,

    You owe me for the bottle of water that I just spewed out. Thanks, dude.

  49. We threw horse chestnuts at each other. They had spiky husks and hurt like hell. Oh yeah, hedge apples too, about the size of an orange, but more dense. Tried to learn how do standing front flips in a parking lot that we had to use for a playground when the tornado took out my school. Did anyone just wrestle and fight for the hell of it, or was that just weird small town kid stuff?

    Nick

  50. I’m laughing so hard I’ve got tears coming out!

  51. Hey, how about we replace tag with . . .PRAYER! Can’t hurt, right?

    [Insert maniacal laughter]

    Wow, you really are an evil one for that suggestion, Pro Lib.

    My son got thirteen stitches once from playing at one of those inflatable domes filled with rubber balls.

    Oy, tell me about it. Every time I went into one of those inflatable bouncy things, I was invariably stepped on or crushed by some clumsy, fat kids. There is no maintaining order in those things, that’s for sure! It’s a wonder kids come out alive.

    Yes, living leads to injury and then later death. ‘We’ve got to do something to stop people, especially young children from this thing, this awful thing called life…..they could get hurt,’

    How about abortion? It’s for the children!?

    (Paid for by the Ad Council)

  52. How long before the perceived threat of cooties is ranked as damaging and psychologically scarring as gun violence and grades based on actual comprehension?

    Laws have been passed with less science to back them up.

    I’m also picturing the D’Elia boy up on a stool wearing a dress while mom tells him to hold still as she finishes the hem…

  53. There were two kinds of kids in my neighborhood:
    Those who spent all day throwing slabs of raw red meat against the Peterson’s garage door and those who made little dresses for cats. Not that there’s anything wrong with the latter, but when the former becomes outlawed, then only outlaws will throw their raw meat, ahem, against garage doors.

  54. Those who spent all day throwing slabs of raw red meat against the Peterson’s garage door and those who made little dresses for cats.

    You mean “boys” and “girls”?

  55. I don’t know if anyone else played, but when I was a kid, we had a weird game called butts up, the object of which was to peg the other kid’s asses with a racquetball as they stood facing the cement wall of the school. I really have no idea how it began or really what the exact rules were, but I certainly remember the ass pain after recess.

  56. Just so everyone knows that at least some elementary schools are doing their proper job of messing with kids minds, I have to tell you about Andy’s elementary school’s “Fun Fridays.” Once each semester, they invite a local boy band called “Misspent Youth” to give a concert in the playground. (All the members went to Mills, and the drummer’s younger brother is in the third grade there. The drummer is 14.) This is your basic guitar-based power rock band, and their repertory includes the following: “Radar Love,” “Purple Haze,” “Sgt. Pepper’s,” and “Whole Lotta Love.” )They do the last one as an instrumental. Even liberal Austin would have a problem with kindergartner’s asking what “every inch of my love” means.) I laughed to my husband that listening to Jimi Hendrix and Led Zepplin would send you straight to Hell when we were in school, in the late 70’s. He replied that those songs are just about sex and drugs. Now, edgy music is about shooting the police and beating up on girlfriends.

  57. Regarding Mrs D’Elia…I’m reminded of what a friend of mine said after watching a small boy attempt to crawl out from under his crushing, officious mother at a shopping mall:

    “That poor kid will have a dick in his mouth before he’s fifteen.”

  58. The fact that Metafilter now beats Hit & Run to the punch depresses the holy fuck outta me.

  59. We used pounce on each other jump off roofs and out of second story windows, imitating various Hollywood nitwits we saw in movies and t.v.. Hey, Joe Mannix always jumped on the bad guys off of pallets stacked with crap in warehouses, so we figured it was good enough for us. By God, now those were some collisions!

  60. make that “pounce on each other, jumping….”

    …I never quite recovered….

  61. Karen,

    What, precisely, did Jimi mean when he said, “Oh move over, Rover, and let Jimi take over.” He suggests afterwards that I’d know what he was talking about, but I don’t.

  62. PL: I’ll follow that up with the obligatory Hendrix Mondegreen “‘Cuse me while I kiss this guy.”

  63. I never understood the lyrics to any Jimi Hendrix song, either. I think that’s because I never smoked marijuana. The smell of the stuff makes me vomit, which really does nothing for one’s social life. I do remember spending a number of wine-soaked evenings trying to figure out what the Don McLean was talking about in all the verses to “American Pie.” I’m saving for Andy and Aaron’s college just so that they can get drunk and argue about song lyrics. There are many days when I think that was the most valuable thing I did in college.

  64. I grew up in the ’50s and ’60s. I have no idea how I survived my childhood. By today’s standards I shouldn’t have made it to 6. Hell, I didn’t even have fireproof jammies.

    And when I was a teenager I had a (gasp!!!) gun. A real one.

  65. I don’t know if anyone else played, but when I was a kid, we had a weird game called butts up, the object of which was to peg the other kid’s asses with a racquetball as they stood facing the cement wall of the school. I really have no idea how it began or really what the exact rules were, but I certainly remember the ass pain after recess.

    BUTTBALL!

  66. “Butts Up.”

    At my school it was called ‘Booties.’ The losers of a basketball game would have to line up against the fence, booties arched and jutting out, while the winner got to slam the basketball as hard as he could against their backsides.

    On another note, one summer we hit on the idea to make catapults out of surgical rubber and a tin cup. We’d then shoot water balloons out of them. We would stand atop a hill and shoot at the tennis players playing in the parks below. Man, it was fun, but actually pretty freakin’ dangerous as well – for the players.

    We also played smear the queer on not only grass but concrete on occasion as well. Tackle football without any protection. Jumped off of roofs and out of trees and off of rope swings.

    Reading what kids today are protected from, I’m amazed we got away with what we did (if I were a a parent today I at least would have punished my kids more severely than we were punished for the catapult thing, seeing as how we could have caused other people some damage). But at the same time, I have to ask, at what price? On balance, I think kids today are losing out. They’re being coddled and then turned into superoeverachievement freaks where they take a million extra activities a day and then have to make ‘play dates’.

  67. Hee hee, are horse chestnuts what we called “gumballs” (those spiky things with the stems?)…cause goddamn we would get straight messed-up with those things…although not as bad as when we had neighborhood-wide rock fights, with people’s cars as the bases. Oh, and never forget, the “take the fort” game that required us to beat the hell out of each other with old curtain rods.

    Damn. Parents suck these days.

  68. Tag is banned at the school where I work. I never heard an official notice, but, it is. I was pretty shocked, honestly. The thing is, it really doesn’t mean much. Kids will still run everywhere and shove each other out of the way and yes, ram into each other at full speed because that’s how they are. And they’ll bounce and get back up.

    On an unrelated, but sort of related note, we had a lockdown drill today, which is fun because our doors don’t lock from the inside. But boy, that freaked out the kids. They weren’t supposed to know it was a drill, but… I think most of the teachers told them because some were rather scared as it was.

    I don’t have a problem with doing lockdown drills, except that I haven’t witnessed a single earthquake drill since I started working there. So they’ve stopped doing earthquake preparedness and instead prepare for school shootings. Now, this is southern California, which is more likely to happen?

  69. I had a pretty good childhood and I’ve got the scars to prove it!

    They are a hsitory of Firecracker explosions, bike collisions of all kinds, Projectile impacts, ‘sword’ fencing whacks and pokes, scrapes from climbing everything from rockpiles to trees to rickety fences.

    And I’ll tell you something else, about this tag ban. We played tag *with our bikes*. Spectacular things happen when you hit your front wheel into another kid’s rear wheel at high speed (to both of you.)
    ————————————

    Has anyone hear ever heard of private play groups for parents who want their kids to have normal fun? If not, I sense a market opportunity here.

  70. Jack Nicholson, Robert DeNiro and Al Pachino as kids at Willett Elementary

    Jack: I must be crazy to be in a loony school like this. I’m goin out of my mind here. You guys wanna play tag?
    Robert: You talking to me? You can’t be talking to me because you know teacher said it’s against the rules.
    Al: I’d like to take a flamethrower to this place. What’s goin’ on here?

    The three scowl and comptemplate the situation.

    Jack: You know, there not scared of what might happen to us, there scared of what tag represents.
    Robert: Teacher says all the animals come out at recess – dodgeball, tag, monkey bars, kickball, palms, gumballs, candy, first kisses, sick, venal. Someday a real Principal will come and wash all this scum off the playground.
    Al: Robert, you’re my best friend, and I love you. But don’t ever take sides with anyone against tag again. Ever.

  71. they’ve stopped doing earthquake preparedness and instead prepare for school shootings. Now, this is southern California, which is more likely to happen?

    Earthquakes, by a significant factor…

  72. ‘Those who spent all day throwing slabs of raw red meat against the Peterson’s garage door and those who made little dresses for cats.’

    I meant boys but I think girls who could hold their own meat were welcome….

    In my case, not only did we play tag in the trees, we played it on skiis…. Okay, I think I’m sensing a Dr. Seuss book here. Maybe we can draft him/it for the “Save Tag” campaign. Think of the power of the narrative all throughout history to change hearts and minds.

  73. When I was in high school we would play caveman basketball in gym….. under the basket was a gym mat to protect us from split skulls which is ok…. basicly all is fair I mean anything at all on the mat…. Funny… I dont feel like there were too many “near collisions”…. George CDarlin has a great rant on this on his “You are all diseased”disk….

  74. If we ban tag, the terrorists will win.

    ========================

    Thank God I was a kid in the 50’s. I surely would have been classified and on every available drug if I were a kid now.

    I say, give Dan the ball, and let’s play kill the man with the ball.

    The perfect kids game. Just take a ball, and ten kids kill the one with the ball until someone takes it away, then you kill that kid. Play for four hours, then go to someone’s house and drink three or four cans of real Coke with a couple of Malomars. Dispose of the cans by crushing them on your forehead.

    Grow up normal.

  75. 74 responses to a story about some school in some town somewhere that doesn’t let kids play tag?

    Yep, this confirms my earlier post on the matter – Reasonoids accuse parents and educators of “safety hysteria” while engaging in their own brand of hysteria themselves: the country is going to hades because we don’t like for kids to injure one another.

    Jennifer especially is amusing – thanks for letting me know how close to home I hit.

    Has anybody even hit on the real reason for all the concerns about safety? Namely, Americans have fewer kids and therefore are more protective of the ones they do have.

  76. “Has anybody even hit on the real reason for all the concerns about safety?”

    To sell safety equipment, of course.

  77. The “real” reasons are not that simple, of course. Fear of litigation is at the top of the list for the school in question. Young parents who were coddled as youngsters may tend to be overly protective of their own kids. Near-instantaneous, over-the-top news coverage of grisly accidents and abductions, rare as they may be, still make some parents inordinately paranoid. Then there’s peer pressure: “All the kids are wearing helmets. Why aren’t your kids wearing helmets? Are you a bad parent? Maybe we should call the authorities…”

    The wealthier a culture becomes, the more time it has to worry about scrapes and bruises. You won’t find the same attitude in sub-Sahara Africa.

  78. Because lots of replies=hysteria. Yep.

    I like how you waited until you could get the last word, Dan T, but what you just said is still a dumptruck load of shit.

    Yep, this confirms my earlier post on the matter – Reasonoids accuse parents and educators of “safety hysteria” while engaging in their own brand of hysteria themselves: the country is going to hades because we don’t like for kids to injure one another.

    Tag=injury, huh? Prove it.

    Has anybody even hit on the real reason for all the concerns about safety? Namely, Americans have fewer kids and therefore are more protective of the ones they do have.

    Just because nobody wants to breed with you doesn’t mean Americans aren’t procreating, Danny. Didn’t we just pass the 300 million mark not too long ago?

  79. Yet another point I don’t think anybody has addressed is that the parents of today are the very people who grew up in the rough and tumble we-beat-the-crap-out-of-each-other-and-we-loved-it America of yesteryear…so the very people who are screwing up today’s kids are products of that wonderful past, their safety-first mentalities developed back in the 60’s-80’s.

    Or was it so wonderful? Hmm…

  80. The “real reason”, Dan Twat, is that it’s Yet Another Symptom of agents of the state encouraging everyone to do as they do, and treat children like babies, and adults like children, for their entire fucking lives. And then everyone will continue to act surprised, when that’s exactly what they get.

    “Brother, you *asked* for it!”

  81. Mr T.,

    I grew up during the era you reference, as did the majority of commentors here. We think banning tag is silly. What does that show you?

    Regarding the number of comments on this thread, did you read them? Mostly reminiscing about crazy games folks played in their youth. Yes, people were peeved about the ban, but that doesn’t account for the volume of responses, does it?

  82. so the very people who are screwing up today’s kids are products of that wonderful past, their safety-first mentalities developed back in the 60’s-80’s.

    I don’t think it’s a majority of these parents. I think that if you coinducted a poll, most people would say “Tag, dangerous? WTF? I played tag.”

    Like most of these kinds of issues, it’s only a paranoid few who actively complain and claim(and believe)to represent the majority. The rest don’t argue because no one wants to be a bad parent and no one has come up with a shutdown line for “If it saves even one life…”. You know the saying about squeaky wheels getting the grease.

  83. I actually got a concussion from playing dodgeball in an elementary school gym (ball hits Ed’s head, Ed’s head hits brick wall, Ed is knocked silly.) I couldn’t read or walk straight for about 24 hours. I think my parents gave me an aspirin. The school was not sued. Nobody clamored for a law to ban dodgeball. From today’s perspective, 1971 seems more like 1871.

  84. Jennifer especially is amusing – thanks for letting me know how close to home I hit.

    No, Dan, you didn’t “hit close to home”; you “generated much annoyance.” Stop thinking that making someone roll their eyes is the same thing as challenging their world-view.
    Christ, you’re like the guy who picks his nose in public but insists it’s thought-provoking performance art.

  85. When I was in elementary school (1960-66) we used to throw snow on the slides and go down on our feet like a ski jumper. The object being to see hoe far you could slide on the snow covered asphalt playground. We wore leather shoes, not sneakers, so it’s not practical today. What a blast.

  86. Oh, hell, Jennifer, you just made my day, reading those comments above. Thank you! It reminded me of that Simpsons ep where Bart was allowed to cuss. Crap Boobs Crap! Hell Damn Fart!

    And now…now we get this latest nugget from Ol’ Dan, that the reason for safety-proofing our entire lives is somehow a product of couples having less offspring, which makes them more protective. As if, the more kids folks have, the more disposable they become. Holy shit…I’d love to have a news ticker with Dan’s thoughts scrolling on my desktop all day.

  87. scape:

    Cool comment.

    Dan T:

    Did you read those 74 responses? we aren’t engaged in hysteria, it’s more like hysterical. We’re reminiscing about crazy shit, like the time when I was about 14, two friends of mine though it would be interesting to play chicken on their bikes going at top speed. They hit each other head-on at what must have been a combined speed of at least 40 mph. No one who was there will ever forget it.

  88. “74 responses to a story about some school in some town somewhere that doesn’t let kids play tag?”

    It’s not just one town, it’s a trend, and a trend that extends beyond tag to a general mentality that all risk, no matter how minor, should be taken away from people, especially children; banning tag, basically a game that is symbolic of childhood itself, is just symbolic of that….but of course, pods don’t get symbols. That’s good in some ways as it’s at least one way we can tell you apart from real people.

    “Yep, this confirms my earlier post on the matter – Reasonoids accuse parents and educators of “safety hysteria” while engaging in their own brand of hysteria themselves: the country is going to hades because we don’t like for kids to injure one another.”

    Nope, what you nanny state pods don’t like is the possibility anyone could do something that involves risk greater than the risk involved in wiping one’s ass…but that’s probably next on your list of things to be banned.

    Man the potato guns, the nanny state pods are inside the gates!

  89. I gotta join in…

    My little brother and his same-aged friend thought that a good way to pass the time was to stand on opposite sides of the creek and lob rocks at each other, high in the air…with the sizes of the rocks getting bigger with each throw. You can still see the scar on his head today.

    Also, even better: we had a big treefort with 2 levels, a big gangplank 15 feet in the air, etc. So me and my friend, and my little brother and his friend, would team up against each other. We’d take some innocuous object, some little prism or something, and the goal of the “game” was like capture the flag…the raiding team had to storm the fort and steal the prism. The defending team had 15 or 20 minutes to set up defenses, booby traps, etc., while the raiders waiting where they couldn’t see. We set up some nasty shit…big holes in the ground, covered with sticks and leaves. Trip wires at the top of ladders, with sharp stakes stuck in the ground below…multiple brick “catapults” on the railings, and, of course, a massive stockpile of weapons…bats, sticks, rakes, whatever. It’s a miracle nobody was seriously injured or killed. But hot damn, was it fun.

  90. Nope, what you nanny state pods don’t like is the possibility anyone could do something that involves risk greater than the risk involved in wiping one’s ass…but that’s probably next on your list of things to be banned.

    “My poor sone was regularly complaining about the abrasiveness of the paper. If it prevents one hemorrhoid…” Said Celeste D’Elia regarding the proposed school bidet program.

  91. I’d love to have a news ticker with Dan’s thoughts scrolling on my desktop all day.

    As I’ve said before, all you have to do is read Hit and Run and say the exact opposite. Like so:

    KERRY HOWLEY: It’s funny how many people freak out over these overblown tales of teenage sexuality.

    DAN: Because you think teenage promiscuity is a good thing, right?

    JACOB SULLUM: These ridiculous ‘no-water-on-a-plane’ rules are just security theater.

    DAN: Because letting a plane explode in mid-air is better than not having shampoo in your carry-on, right?

    CATHY YOUNG: These ‘no-water-on-a-plane’ rules are fine because there’s no Constitutional right to carry-on luggage.

    DAN: Because the standard libertarian boilerplate is ‘if the Constitution doesn’t allow it the government can prohibit it,’ right?

    (Actually if he ever made a statement like the last one I’d develop a smidgen of respect for him.)

  92. Actually, Dan T.’s response to Cathy Young would be:

    What about people who have no hands? Aren’t you being insensitive to them with all of this “on the one hand…on the other hand” talk?

  93. Being contrary for contrary’s sake, just to get a rise out of some folks on a blog comment board.
    That’s what I call a meaningful existence.

  94. “you must confess that there is hilarity to be found in the idea that not allowing kids to play tag and dodgeball is going to ruin them for life.”

    Tag is the most developmentally appropriate games for this age group. Banning it might actually cause delays in social development and motor development…or would if you could actually stop children from playing tag. I have worked in schools with this type of ban. Teachers don’t enforce it, kids ignore it and tag goes on as always. These bans do teach kids problem solving. They figure out ways to play tag without the adults noticing… it will replace throwing rocks for this function (or, actually, be added to throwing rocks, punching games, rough housing, and other developmentally appropriate activities).

    The only thing strange about it making the national news is that there is nothing unique about the ban. It is common across the country. Parents should be up in arms. They should threatend to sue the schools for interferring with the normal developmental processes of childhood.

  95. ‘What about people who have no hands? Aren’t you being insensitive to them with all of this “on the one hand…on the other hand” talk?’

    And he might insist she add “On the third webbed hand…” just in case Patrick Duffy might be offended if that’s omitted.

  96. Our favorite danger game was to see who could do the diving head-first somersault off the highest launch site. I regularly used platforms in the 6 to 8 foot range (I was the king of this game). It really sucked when you discovered the sharp yard sprinkler hidden in the deep grass.

  97. I remember my parents sending me to a summer camp where the best times I had were on the man-or-mouse hikes where they would make us do stuff like jump off little 6′ high mini-bluffs to be a “man,” or scurry down a steep path to be a “mouse.” Wow, all sorts of problems there: sexism, risk of injury regardless of which path you took, not to mention the poison ivy I caught and the mud I brought home.
    The other highlight of summer camp was learning what the mafia was from the kids who assured me that their fathers could have my family killed if they wanted to.

    How has this thread gone so long with a mention of Jarts? Best Jarts game: throwing them straight up in the air and running.

  98. How has this thread gone so long with a mention of Jarts? Best Jarts game: throwing them straight up in the air and running.

    I used to play the “throwing them straight at your opponent” version.

  99. Reading this thread has been fun.

    If kids were as fragile as the nannies seem to think, none of us would be alive today.

  100. I used to play the “throwing them straight at your opponent” version.

    That reminds me of a teenage game:
    Bottle rocket/Roman candle wars.

    And that reminds me of my favorite Tom & Jerry cartoon. Anybody remember that one? Do you think they still show that one?

  101. The wealthier a culture becomes, the more time it has to worry about scrapes and bruises. You won’t find the same attitude in sub-Sahara Africa.

    Right-o, Ed!!! I think that sums it up perfectly. And the follow-up point is that such a wealthy risk-averse society rapidly loses that which made it wealthy in the first place. Which leaves the field open to others, say China and India for example.

  102. mongeese and/or someone else –

    What, in this context, is a pod? Google didn’t help.

    Thanks.

  103. “Right-o, Ed!!! I think that sums it up perfectly. And the follow-up point is that such a wealthy risk-averse society rapidly loses that which made it wealthy in the first place. Which leaves the field open to others, say China and India for example.”

    Interesting. Japan’s economy has been in the tank since about 88 or 89. It only started coming out of the doldrums a bit when Koizumi started injecting a little risk back into the economy through a few privatization schemes. And Japanese society is probably even nuttier and more controlling than ours is.

  104. Oh, I’m angry all right. Because tag is fun. And running around playing games outside is good for kids. On the one hand, people worry about obese kids, and the other hand, they want to encase them in amber because if they move around and act like kids they might get hurt. That’s just so stupid it’s criminal.

    Kids sometimes do get a little hurt; that’s part of growing up and making mistakes and learning. I get the impression, though, that parents like D’Elia don’t want to take the time to deal with tears or scrapes or bandaids, because they have more important things to do. Better to have the authorities ban all possibility of such things.

  105. Interesting. Japan’s economy has been in the tank since about 88 or 89. It only started coming out of the doldrums a bit when Koizumi started injecting a little risk back into the economy through a few privatization schemes. And Japanese society is probably even nuttier and more controlling than ours is.

    To anyone that’s ever looked into starting their own business, you know what a crazy-ass thing that is to do. To succeed, you have to be willing to do risk your entire future well-being on a venture that involves more than a little luck. By becoming increasingly risk-averse and raising our children that way, we shrink the pool of crazy-asses who are willing to do that and keep our civilization afloat. Impoverished or recently poor societies seem to have fewer qualms about it.

    I don’t see it as anybody’s intentional fault, but a civilizational movement that we are all subject to. And trust me, almost everyone on this board (including me) is probably a lot more risk-averse than we like to think.

  106. Ah –

    Wiki came through, though with slightly contradictory definitions; I take it mongeese meant the second. Gosh, I’m starting to sound like a pod myself.

    pod: a slang term for an entity living as a human, but unable and/or unwilling to conform to societal and cultural norms and mores. There are a disproportionate number of IT professionals and math teachers who live as pods. The first known use of the term was on the Seinfeld television show when Jerry Seinfeld told Cosmo Kramer that he (Kramer) was a pod.

    Pod: a slang term for people who appear normal and who in many respects function perfectly well within social and cultural norms, but who are capable neither of expansive feelings nor meaningful self-reflection. The term is inspired by the soulless beings of the 1950?s version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers who were hatched from pods. In this respect, Kramer of Seinfeld could not be described as a pod. But Putty could.

  107. Instead of whining, why don’t you guys look at this as a Free Market business opportunity?

    Start a for-profit school that openly allows tag, dodgeball, kill-the-man and other bully-sports while serving the kids loads of fast-food and foie gras?

    You’ll make a mint, parents who lament the good old days will pay top dollar to enroll their children.

  108. bully-sports

    What are those? Does that include football, soccer, lacrosse, basketball and any other sports that involve contact?

  109. Dan never gives up trying to get a reaction, does he? Too bad he can’t channel all that effort into something useful.

  110. I would say “bully-sports” (I term I just made up) would be any games where a larger group of kids gang up on a single person who usually happens to be the weakest, slowest, etc.

    So no, teams sports wouldn’t count really.

  111. You’ll make a mint, parents who lament the good old days will pay top dollar to enroll their children.

    Do those parents still have to pay taxes towards funding public schools?

  112. Do those parents still have to pay taxes towards funding public schools?

    Yes, being that they are still members of the public.

  113. That’s why we should call them “Government Schools.”

  114. Highnumber, the cartoon you mentioned was on TCM the other night, at the end of Annie Get Yor Gun.

    I Tivo’d it for the kids to watch the next day.

  115. Native NYer,

    Great to hear it!
    You Tivo’d it for the kids?
    You’re a sick fuck, but you probably knew that. ; )
    Thanks for the info. I’ll look out for it. (and for your kids)

  116. “Start a for-profit school that openly allows tag, dodgeball, kill-the-man and other bully-sports while serving the kids loads of fast-food and foie gras?”

    Tag is a ‘bully sport’? Dan, this ‘tag’ you played on your planet, did it involve knifing people, who were really vegetable matter under the skin, through the heart with dull forks? See, that’s different from the tag we play on our planet, where all you do is touch the other person on the back, shoulder, or stomach.

    Now, what does ‘fast food and fois gras’ have to do with tag or any other sports that kids naturally play? If someone offered me fois gras in the middle of a tag game I would have hurled it at the person who was it. You are supposing that because on the one hand, some of us think kids should be allowed to play games outside of a plastic bubble, learn to assess risks, play games where they might get a few bumps and bruises, that naturally all of us would want them to suffer from poor nutrition or to eat snob food. Do you see the fallacy in your reasoning here? No? Oh that’s right. You can lead a pod to the suburbs, but you can’t make him think.

    Speaking of so-called ‘bully sports’ school basically was a bully sport where I lived. “Let’s see who can shove who into a locker today, give ’em a whirly, a wedgie,” etc. Games like tag and other activities were one of the releases from dealing with bullies and with bullying teachers.

    Yes, M, I meant the second definition.

  117. It turns out that our inability to weed out the weak through our cruel and violent childhood games resulted in the fall of the United States to Ecuador in 2078.

  118. Late to the game, but I just wanted to share….

    I can remember in 5th grade (early 70’s), the class standing in the hall waiting for somthing, 4 or 5 of us decided that we should just start punching each other in the nuts until there was only one left standing. Embryonic Jackass I suppose…

    I don’t recall who won, but to a 9 year-old boy, that’s way fun.

    I can also recall us riding our bikes over desolate fields, far from home, strewn with jagged, broken rocks. No helmets. No pads. Good fun.

    I suspect Ms. D’Elia’s head would spontaniously explode if she ever saw that.

  119. The Mrs. D’Elias of the world have always been with us. What I’m trying to figure out is when and how they got so much damn power…

  120. Tree Bip!

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