Free-Range Kids

City Makes Family Destroy Homemade Hockey Rink, Because Fun Is Hazardous

The kids will just stay inside playing XBox all day instead.


ABC 27

Because kids should be inside with their videogames, not outside on skates, South Middleton Township, Pennsylvania, has told a family it must tear down its backyard skating rink.

Of course, the rationale given is safety, not, Get those kids back inside where there's plenty of screens, sofas, and junk food. The Beam family was told that their temporary rink—same as the one they built last year with zero complaints—is a drainage violation.

Fox News reports that the Beams received a letter stating:

"A drainage easement is located on your property," the letter noted. "By placing objects and fences that block the water, such as the skating rink constructed on your property, the amount of storage available is reduced, and the basin will not function as designed."

And yet the family has lived at that location for 14 years, and only two or three times—always in the summer—has any "substantial water" accumulated, the dad, Terry Beam, told the authorities.

Tough turtlenecks, pops. The authorities want the rink down, and his appeal did not melt their hearts.

Nor did this little interview on ABC 27, where one of the Beam boys, Aron, admitted that he loves playing hockey, but without the rink he'll just play on XBox all day.

His dad added that when the boys are inside, they are always "driving us crazy, fighting with each other."

But fighting with each other outside is… hockey.

So here's to another couple of kids sitting on the couch, swilling hot chocolate. The outdoors, after all, is no place for children.