2011-04-29 / Editorial/Opinion

Let Kids Be Kids

There was a time in Rockaway and other city neighborhoods when kids were allowed to leave home in the morning and stay out all day, pursuing their own brand of recreation, whether it be: on an empty lot temporarily converted to Ebbets Field, the Polo Grounds or Yankee Stadium; a day at the beach with no adult supervision; a bike ride to Playland; a day at the local playground – a place where there were no adults telling them what to do, and where they could play Dodge Ball, Stick Ball, Johnny on the Pony, Ring-a-levio and HORSE to their hearts’ content. We understand that those days are gone forever, pushed aside by worries of child abductions, drug crazies, speeding cars and litigations. We remember that one of our favorite playground games was a variant of Dodge Ball, called “Kill the Kid with the Ball.” You probably get the idea. When Dodge Ball was killed by the City Council two years ago, we winced, but moved on. After all, we do remember kids getting banged up at play, going home crying or slightly bloody. It was no big deal. Today, it means a probable lawsuit. Last week, the state, acting on the advice of the health commissioner, banned such games as Whiffle Ball, Red River, kickball and tag from all public summer programs because “they carry a significant risk of injury.” Whiffle Ball? Kickball? What are these people thinking. After the list of banned games was released, there was such a hue and cry that the state said it would rethink its order. They should rethink the list hard and then made a decision to allow kids to be kids. Remember, kids who exercise are less likely to become obese and kids who face some adversity are more likely to be better adults. As one daily paper said, “sometimes, minding one’s own business is the best policy.”

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