Too Frustrated To Come Up With A Quirky Title

Hi Joe,

I read this today. I hope to write on it myself as to the implications of such systematic eradication of physical activity in our children’s lives. I wanted to hear your thoughts because I greatly value your opinion. Thank you Joe.

Bobby F.
Age 25

***** ***** ***** ***** *****


Thanks for alerting me to the story… As I read this article, my first instinct was to bang my head against a wall (or a fully loaded squat bar).

Now that I’m thinking (only slightly) more clearly, I’ll try to reason out a coherent response…

Should we blame the fear of physical activity on an out of control legal system? It seems like everybody’s looking for an easy payout due to “overwhelming physical and emotional trauma” attributed to childhood injuries (or the POTENTIAL of such injuries).

Or do we blame the liberal wacko movement that says we’re supposed to go out of our way to avoid ANY words/actions/thoughts that might be construed as “offensive”? (has anyone seen Jimmy Carter lately?)

If parents/administrators can’t understand that kids need to be kids, I suspect normal, healthy/active childhood games such as tag, touch football and the like will have to go ‘underground’.

Since dog fights are apparently on the list of things not-to-do, maybe we can start gambling on which kid will win at dodge-ball in an old warehouse. (Michael Vick called, he said he wants to put $400 on a kid called “Johnny Slaughter” in the 3rd round.)

There are any number of clichés/lessons one could learn from playing kids games.

  • Life isn’t fair
  • Cream always rises to the top
  • Lose graciously
  • Win with dignity
  • If you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig (I don’t know how this one fits in, but I love the saying!)

Back when I was a kid (I could’ve sworn I said I’d never start a sentence with those words), I tore holes in the knees of my pants by playing aggressively on the playground. I had fun playing with my friends. Sometimes I’d lose. Sometimes I’d get bumped, bruised or bloody. But I always got back up.

The more I learned how NOT to lose/fall/etc, the faster my athletic skills developed.  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have developed those skills by just reading about ’em.  In fact, we used to play a game called “Keep-away” where it was ONE kid against everybody else.   (kind of like football, but there was no goal line, boundary lines or referee)

In fitness, it’s all about the SAID Principle: Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands.

If schools refuse to impose any challenges more demanding than tiddlywinks, what the hell are the kids going to adapt TO? And maybe if there was more physical activity on the playground, there wouldn’t be such a problem with teen-pregnancy?

The more I get to know the human race, the less I want to be part of it.

Now who’s ready for a game of full-contact Twister?



  1. I can remember back in junior high on rainy days we’d have the option of doing gym outside or inside. If you opted to go outside in the rain it was usually something like football or soccer. Something physical and guaranteed to get you muddy.

    I only have one memory of these activities. I was in 7th grade and on that particular rainy day those who went outside played full-contact rugby (yup, rugby!). On one play, I was making a break down the field when one kid grabbed my shirt from behind. He didn’t take me down but slowed me considerably (I was average size and strength). A moment later the biggest kid in class, who was on my team, got in under me to help keep me on my feet as another player from the opposite team jumped on top of me.

    Complete chaos ensued. The big kid who was supporting me knocked his head into my nose causing it to bleed, the other team literally ripped the shirt off my back and some other kid scratched the hell out of my forearm trying to rip the ball from me.

    I was battered, bleeding and bruised when it was all said and done, and I loved every moment of it. Hell, 30 years later the memory still brings a smile to my face. It’s a shame my kids will not get the same opportunity.


  2. AMEN!!! I have so many wonderful memories from when I was young and it didn’t always involve a “win”. I remember when my dad coached my softball team when I was little. Back then if you missed a ball you got hollered at. My dad was the best at hollering. He expected at least 100% out of us and wouldn’t accept nothing less. Anytime one of his “girls” messed up he would always call out, “Get your skirts down!” The parents cheered him on! If he were to say that now he would probably be run off the field!

    Life isn’t always fair, you don’t always win, and sometimes you simply fail. (Speaking of fail. Our school system now requires teachers to grade papers with pens that are pink, purple, green or blue. Red is to harsh a color!)


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