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Gee Whillickers

School banning soccer balls and footballs - deemed "too dangerous"

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It's kind of funny I came across this today. I was just ruminating in another thread on the forums about some of the negative results of overactive attempts to make schools safe without actually making schools any safer.

A school in Toronto has banned the use of soccer balls and footballs. Because an adult accidentally got hit with one and was injured. Part of their explanation is that the school's field is apparently quite small, but still.

Here's the article. As always, we're only seeing one side of the issue, so take it accordingly. http://www.cp24.com/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20111116/111116_Hard_Ball_Ban/20111116/?hub=CP24Home

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You know, I'll give you points on, "football is hazardous" for all the injuries.

Soccer balls? Aw, c'mon, duck already. Or y'know, cover if you're afraid you'll get racked.

Yeah, let's ban all physical activity and wrap up those boys in cotton wool. They might bump their widdle noses or get hit in their weenies. -- Yeah, that from a guy who was never much good at sports. But come on, even the less athletic guys (like me) still want to have some fun and do something a little more physical. Soccer's fine. Swimming's great! (Woo-hoo!)

What's the matter? Junior might get hurt? Or daddy and mommy might get hurt? Getting hurt and recovering, taking risks to reach what you want, and playing fair with others are all parts of everyday life. What is wrong with people these days? No, I wouldn't want to get hit in the head or racked in the balls or break something either. But I still have to do lots of things by myself, for myself. Sheesh. I'm not the most macho guy in the universe, but I've got more common sense than that.

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Reading between the lines on this, I expect the principal's heart isn't in the decision. She emphasized the ruling is temporary. I think that she had an irate parent to deal with and told the parent she'd stop the use of the object that caused the injury. She probably didn't want a lawsuit or complaint to the district superintendent.

I wonder about the 'serious injury' caused by an errant football or soccer ball thrown or kicked by a youngster. What I can come up with is an adult was hit in the face and was wearing glasses. The person, probably a woman, received a cut on the face as a result, and was storming mad about it.

I think the balls will be allowed back within the month. Of course, we'll never hear about that.

C

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Reading between the lines on this, I expect the principal's heart isn't in the decision. She emphasized the ruling is temporary. I think that she had an irate parent to deal with and told the parent she'd stop the use of the object that caused the injury. She probably didn't want a lawsuit or complaint to the district superintendent.

I wonder about the 'serious injury' caused by an errant football or soccer ball thrown or kicked by a youngster. What I can come up with is an adult was hit in the face and was wearing glasses. The person, probably a woman, received a cut on the face as a result, and was storming mad about it.

I think the balls will be allowed back within the month. Of course, we'll never hear about that.

C

Yeah, that was pretty much my reaction too when I read it. It's funny though how schools feel they must respond to complaints like this. They feel their hands are tied. As for the injury, it's hard to imagine how a bystander being hit with a soccer ball could be deemed "serious" but I'll bet Cole is right.

I hope temporary is actually temporary. But I too suspect we won't hear a peep once they're allowed again.

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It's possible that a bystander could be hit hard enough by a soccer ball to cause some sort of injury. It'd be far more likely to cause injury if it were an errant baseball.

Yes, it sounds like someone got hurt and got irate, got their pride and feelings hurt more than any actual physical injury (which might be non-trivial, I grant), and so bang, let's blow up at the school and threaten to sue and see if we can't get the school administration to put a stop to this horrendous playing with balls.... (Uh, wait, that wasn't quite what....) I do think it could just as easily be some irate man as some irate woman.

So...let's just go ahead and ban baseball. Or all sports. Shouldn't those kids be studying? How dare they do something so dangerous!

Or, I know, let's just all stay home and chain the kids to their computers all day and night. But we'd better make sure what they're looking at on that interwebz thing. Wouldn't want to rot their brains with that, now would we?

Sigh. It's getting harder to satirize and parody these days, the real news is so wacky.

Yes, if I'd gotten hit with a ball, I probably wouldn't be too happy either. But neither would I want to sue the kid or the coach or the school over it. -- But in order to get hit with a ball, you have to be in the reasonable proximity of a ball game, don't you? Doesn't that mean you chose to be there? Hmm....

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Or, I know, let's just all stay home and chain the kids to their computers all day and night. But we'd better make sure what they're looking at on that interwebz thing. Wouldn't want to rot their brains with that, now would we?

Gotta be careful with that interwebz thing. I've heard that kids can actually access stories there. About GAY kids. Gasp!

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How about banning bystanders? Sure, let's tear down the bleachers and not allow anyone to attend football or soccer games. There you go, that should solve the problem! Imagine how well the kids will play when no one is allowed to watch. Might keep all those unruly parents away, you know, the ones who yell "Kill that little F**k" or "Get off your F**king ass, Umpire." Yeah, those are the people all kids should be exposed to...NOT!

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So...let's just go ahead and ban baseball. Or all sports. Shouldn't those kids be studying? How dare they do something so dangerous!

Ben is right. Stop this exercise nonsense, stop the horrendous injuries suffered by parents who were walking on the kid's playground. Let the kids get fat and slow and uninterested in playing games of any kind. Then they won't bring more of these malevolent balls to school. They'll just sit around and get fatter. Problem solved!

Colin :icon_thumleft:

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Eww, dodge ball. A game invented by phys ed teachers to keep the students amused in the gym on rainy days. It allows the testosterone laden teenage male to assert that budding manhood over those less fortunate, and thus hone their bullying skills. I understand that in primitive times they just threw rocks...guess we should just be happy that we have become civilized.

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Dodge ball was obviously invented by a coach who hated the kids in his PE classes and found a way to have them inflict pain and suffering on each other while he could watch and laugh his ass off.

Colin :icon_thumleft:

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As a teacher whose job description has, in the past, included recess duty, I've been hit with every piece of playground equipment imaginable. Even the occasional errant shoe. I've climbed trees and jumped fences to retrieve said equipment (and shoes). I've torn dress clothes in rough games of tag. I've had one kid distract me by asking me about books while another kid snuck up behind me and climbed up my back like I was a jungle gym. I've seen it all, done it all, and have written it all on 3x5 index cards for quick reference. And I would never in a million years consider banning balls from recess.

The other day, one of our school buses broke down, leaving some kids stranded at the school. Another teacher and I quickly organized a football game on the back parking lot (we don't have a field or a playground or anything - just concrete), with the two of us on opposite teams. We played our hearts out, regardless of age or ability. It was a chance for the kids to work together as teams and learn good sportsmanship, as well as an opportunity to see their teachers in a different light (gasp - we took off our neckties!).

This kind of activity is important. Especially in a time when most schools are cutting gym and recess to cram in more test-prep so that they can be in compliance with NCLB.

I'm of the opinion that if you're so concerned about bumps and scrapes that you take away a kid's balls...you should probably be more concerned about your own. They seem to have come up missing.

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Why the dodgeball hate? Maybe I'm a masochist, but getting tagged by a high-speed ball in any kind of sport was kind of a part of the thrill. As Alfred Hitchcock says it's about the enjoyment of fear. There's no adrenaline if they're throwing feathers. And if it left a mark that stayed all day (or sometimes even half a week), then that was a badge of honor.

Of course, I went to a school without much of a bullying culture, so it was all in good fun and no one ever got picked on for being bad at things (unless they were jerks of some kind, then they were fair game.)

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When I went to intermediate school (6th through 8th grades) we were a very competitive lot, both in academics and in play. When it rained we played volleyball, badminton, and dodgeball, depending on the mood of the coach. We wore jock straps, not cups. So our objective was to try to get our immediate opponent in the gonads. Every once in a while someone wouldn't turn quite fast enough, or wouldn't realize that he was in the sights of a vicuous dodgeball enthusiast who knew how to put enough spin on the ball that it seemed like it wasn't aimed at his privates until it was too late. Of course, the throwers would also be targets so revenge could sometimes be meted out. But just sometimes.

When I went to high school there was no dodgeball. Thank god!

Colin :icon_thumleft:

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It may sound weird, coming from me, but I didn't mind dodgeball. I actually kinda liked it sometimes. Give me a ball I might actually (maybe) catch? Or throw with a chance of someone else catching...or well, it was dodgeball, maybe a leeetle bit of revenge.... If I got hit, I took it in good spirits, it wasn't usually too bad. That comment about the thrill of risk, either being hit or hitting with a big ol' loose ball? Yeah, that makes sense to me. And y'know, I was nearly always the kid they picked last for the team. (Eyesight, not good. Not good at most sports.) But hey, some things, I could have some fun with. -- A baseball? Forget it, I'm lucky to punt or hit it at all, or catch either. A basketball, soccer ball, volleyball, dodgeball? Now those, I could handle. Football? Hahaha, not so much. (Someone really should've explained why wrestling with guys might be sorta fun....) Swimming was great, except for, er, getting out of the pool in 6th grade's swim class. (That was one of those big clues.)

But even a skinny, pale kid with glasses wants and needs to play some with other guys and girls. Cooperation, being included in a group, compromise, fair play, all sorts of things. Plain old exercise. Seeing that just maybe you aren't as different as the other kids, even if the differences are pretty apparent or bothersome, finding common ground is important. Even if, y'know, that common ground gets all over ya and you spit it out, heheh.

I'm a guy, what do you want? There's something genetic and biochemical about it. Being a guy means some things just are in there.

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Why the dodgeball hate? Maybe I'm a masochist, but getting tagged by a high-speed ball in any kind of sport was kind of a part of the thrill.

OK, I can take a stab at explaining this. And of course this doesn't describe the way it is for everyone. Some kids love dodgeball. But those kids probably have a different mental makeup from the kids who don’t, from some of the ones I am going to describe here. Here's the way the game affects those kids.

They're in gym class and already don't feel they fit in. The majority of the boys like rough stuff, stuff that often goes on in gym. They can play basketball and get under the boards and bump and thump and get it on with each other, and if they get bruises and jammed fingers and an elbow in the ribs, well, they can give it back, too; it's all part of the fun. Or they can wrestle on mats and go after each other and try to slam their opponents down on the mats and get them in holds that really hurt and make them scream. Then they come up smiling. They love that crap!

There is another group of boys, however, that doesn't like things rough. They don't much want to admit that because they know it separates their kind from the other kind, and that separation puts them in a world no self-respecting member of the herd wants be culled to. It comes with disparaging names, with being left out of the groups of popular kids, it comes with dismissive glances and sometimes being bumped in the hallways or against lockers. Sometimes the disparaging names become ugly names, too. But, still, they don't like things rough and so don't participate fully in those rougher gym activities, and try not to be noticed when they don't.

But they do get noticed. It's inevitable. A school society is a closed one; everyone gets to know everyone else, gets a nickname, and gets slotted into a stereotype. So the less tough kids, the less willing to mix it up kids, are known and relegated to a secondary position in school, and especially in gym.

Then the teacher says they're going to play dodgeball. Most of the kids yell YAY! They grab balls and get ready to start. The other, fewer kids move as subtly as possible into the background.

So the game begins, and kids start being knocked out. And pretty soon, the kids who've avoided the fray as much as they could are left, just a few of them, and they're facing a bunch of overhyped jocks, red-faced and sweating but looking as eager as male dogs sitting on the lawn of cute bitch cocker spaniel in heat, all holding balls and looking at them. And it becomes so easy at that point to feel the paranoia building, the feeling these guys are all looking to get you, all of them against just you, that it's them personally against you personally, that they're going to delight in all bashing you down with a flurry of balls coming at you from all sides, and they're doing it because it's a personal thing with them. And with that thought, the little bit of self-confidence and esteem you have simply departs, and you feel alone, empty, scared and useless.

Dodgeball exacerbates the feeling a softer kid has that he's alone and defenseless against the bigger, stronger, more violent, more bullying type kids. Seeing the looks of glee on their faces as they move in for the kill, seeing how happy they are to be heaving their missiles at kids who are cowering in front of them, just adds to the self-defeating realization that these kids enjoy hurting other kids, and the knowledge that if they ever get around to bashing him for real, not with soft balls but with fists and feet, they won't stop just because he's pleading with them or already hurt and crying. Seeing them throwing those balls as viciously as they can at a helpless victim makes it clear they enjoy what they're doing, they enjoy it even more if they're in a pack doing it and egging each other on, and weighs of the feelings of helplessness the softer kid already has.

And he knows how he looks to the pack. He knows they see his fear. And he’s afraid they’ll remember it, and know if they meet him after school, walking home, he’ll react the same way. He knows his whole personality will be open for review on that court, facing those boys with balls in their hands and murder in their eyes, and he knows he’ll come up wanting.

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Cole's right. I was one of the nerdy, geeky kids: pale, skinny, shorter until around 13 or 14 when I began catching up a little, not the athletic type, glasses (vision impaired, handicapped), brainy, and oh yeah, uh, somehow the other guys knew (even more than I did) that I was gay. Or at least, hey, that was among the name-calling. Yup, got the pushing and shoving in the hallways, playground, sometimes the gym. The whole bit. That mostly quieted down by high school, but not entirely. Yup, I was one of those boys who never quite got what was so "fun" about playing rough. (And no, it never occurred to me wrestling and roughhousing might be a fun way to get close to a guy.) I get what he's saying there.

Yet I'd also say that while being the geeky, brainy, handicapped kid was often no fun in elementary and junior high, there were times I could be an equal and belong, and times I could shine. Oddly enough, dodgeball didn't bug me. It might be that the guys and girls went easier on me, or that I was willing to be a good sport and sort of have some fun with it too. Or maybe I just didn't get one of the bullies who would've cheerfully slammed me or some other boy. What I'm trying to say is, it's important that we remember that those gentler boys aren't as weak or wimpy as the bullies and snobs would like to think. I was not the only boy in gym who was not much on gym class.

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I was more with blue than Cole on this one. I too was a geeky, bespectacled, non-athletic kid in junior high. I generally hated gym because of what it did for my psyche, for my self-esteem, and for my social standing. Such as it was. Not to mention the wrath of one particular gym coach. He and I never did see eye to eye, especially after one particular day, but that's another story.

However. I liked dodgeball. I don't know why. But I did. It was one of the few games we engaged in that I felt like I could actually enjoy, and hold my own, and getting to throw balls as hard as I could at some of the other teams' bully types was just a bonus. As a result, it was one of the few times in gym where, when team captains were choosing players, I wasn't picked last. I didn't mind getting hit with the balls, they really didn't hurt all that much. And the fact I could catch them more often than have them bounce off of me was a small measure of revenge. The look in a bully's eye when he launched a missile at me, fully sanctioned by the coach, the administration, and the school board, and when instead of me cowering in fear I'd run towards it, catch it, and launch it right back at him was worth a thousand pathetic baseball games or volleyball games.

Another sport I didn't mind so much was wrestling. Aside from the obvious opportunities, I actually got to be able to hold my own in it, and so was able to enjoy it. That was one that changed from hate to semi-enjoyment though. Originally, I felt about wrestling pretty much the same as I felt about most other gym activities. One particular day went a bit of the way to changing that. We had learned a bunch of theory that day, holds and counters and such, then were being asked to put them to the test. Unfortunately, in front of the whole class. The coach would pick two victims..errr...students, have them square off on the mats with the rest of the class watching, and then be asked to demonstrate the skills that were just taught. Naturally, I was picked and was squared off against a boy who was probably near the bottom of the list for boys who I'd want to face. At least the coach made sure he was roughly my size. Aside from that, he was, quite simply, an asshole.

So as we stood there looking at each other, his buddies began "encouraging" him. Telling him to essentially turn me into a pile of quivering entrails on the mat. As usual, the coach let this go, because they were careful to keep the statements more or less in line with the activity, and were smart enough to not actually swear. I remember looking into his narrowed dark brown eyes, seeing him look me up and down, evaluate just how he was going to squeeze my internal organs out through my nostrils. And I remember feeling fear and panic turn into righteous anger and determination. And yeah, it did happen just like that. Like a story. One minute I was, "Oh, crap!" and the next I was, "Screw this, just try it you sonofabitch."

Of course, if this was a story, I would've beaten him soundly, the cute boy I'd had an eye on would have come up to me in the locker room afterwards and by the next day we'd be boyfriends and all the bullies would have left me alone out of respect. In real life, that's not quite what happened. We wrestled, and struggled, and ignored all the moves were were supposed to be working on and instead just went at it, though both being careful to keep more or less within the rules. The coach, for whatever reason, just let us go. And it took some time, as such things go. But, he eventually pinned me, after a considerable struggle, and that was the end of it and the coach moved on to two other kids.

But, though not much changed externally, it did change how I thought about wrestling. I realized maybe I cold hold my own. And yes, that particular kid didn't bully me much anymore, though it didn't change anything about his buddies. So there was that.

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Beautiful description, Cole, you brought it alive for me (never experienced Dodgeball myself). Write a story around it?

I think GW just did. More of a flash than a short story.

I don't recall playing dodgeball in school. In junior high we did jazz dance for some reason. It wasn't boring.

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I think GW just did. More of a flash than a short story.

I don't recall playing dodgeball in school. In junior high we did jazz dance for some reason. It wasn't boring.

Jazz dance? Oh hell, we had square dancing with the girls gym class...let me tell you how uncomfortable that was. I preferred dodge ball.

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