School Bans Hard Balls and the Media Makes Jokes
I tune in to Saturday Night Live each week while my husband snores beside me just to catch Seth Myers on Weekend Update. (I know, we are a wild and crazy bunch!)
But this Saturday, through my sleepy haze, I heard Seth mention Toronto. He was taking a Toronto school to task for banning "hard balls" in the playground. He was wondering if the principal was going to put a hinge in the teeter-totter next. (Silly Seth, there hasn't been a see-saw in a school playground in years.)
In case you missed it, Earl Beatty Public School banned hard balls last week after a parent got a concussion from a flying soccer ball. They sent a letter home saying kids couldn't bring soccer, tennis or footballs to school and kids could only bring "soft" balls made from foam to play with. The story spread like wildfire, ending up on the Rush Limbaugh show, in American newspapers and on SNL.
A decision that (may have) made sense at the time has caught on to become an example of turning our kids into "wusses" according to Limbaugh. In a time when kids are turning to video games more and more, banning the simple playthings of childhood seems like the opposite of what should be happening on the schoolyard.
What's next? Jump ropes for possible strangulation? See-see my playmate for hand slapping?
This story has incensed us because balls are probably the one thing that every person, no matter what their background or skill level, has played with (and probably gotten hurt by, as well). And if the screen-obsessed generation wants to be active and play with balls, it seems silly to ban them. But I'm still wondering why this story has garnered all of the international attention that it has. Will it become the symbol of everything that is wrong with our kids and their level of physical activity? Or will it fade away when some other egregious example comes to our attention?
Do you think it deserves so much media attention? What do you think of the ban?
Want more chaos? Last year, I named some of our favourite kids books to read and I loved some of the suggestions I got in the comments.