Adults today were kids once, too, and managed to survive the dangers of – THE PLAYGROUND!

They learned that climbing up the slide too close behind someone else is a good way to get kicked in the face.

They learned that dawdling at the bottom of the slide increases the temptation for the next kid to come plowing into you.

They learned that wooden seesaws sometimes splinter (ouch!) and that it isn't wise to be up in the air when the kid on the other side decides to get off.

The boys learned to stand clear of the swings and the girls learned to wear shorts under their skirts.

These valuable lessons, alas, are ones that today's kids are not likely to learn.

Kids today are supposed to be protected from all harm. If they have recess, if they're allowed to play at all, it has to be on soft and squishy equipment safely moored on trampoline-like ground surfaces with no rough or protruding edges anywhere.

Playgrounds need to be paved with marshmallows, and the slides, seesaws, and swings should be made of licorice sticks and fruit rollups to pacify the critics.

It makes fun-loving oldsters want to vomit.

Of course, with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission setting standards for playground equipment and overprotective parents suing for every scratch and scrape their kids incur, it's a wonder that schools dare to have playgrounds.

Debra Garboski is suing the Cabell County Board of Education for the head injury her daughter, Michela Marcum, allegedly received two years ago on a swing set at Alitzer Elementary.

Michela might not have been hurt if the pavement had been made of sponge rubber and a dozen teachers had hovered nearby with giant nets ready to catch her.

Win or lose, the school board is likely to conclude that playgrounds are more trouble than they're worth. Pretty soon, being a kid won't be any fun at all.

Maybe we'll need a federal agency to set mandatory fun standards for bored school kids.




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