Kids attending Earl Beatty Public School in Toronto are no longer allowed to play with balls in the schoolyard.

IN FACT, THEY’RE prohibited from bringing a soccer ball, football, volleyball, or even a tennis ball to school with them…only Nerf balls and sponge balls are acceptable. We might as well slap a “No Fun Allowed” sign somewhere and give them pogs to play with.

Apparently there have been a number of serious accidents where staff and students were struck by balls flying all over the place, and one parent even suffered a concussion. Dear god, the horror! A concussion!

I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but back in my day (i.e.10 years ago), balls were good. Physical activity was good, and taking away sports in a country that’s already suffering from high obesity rates is a big, big problem. I coached a summer softball team once, and accidentally knocked out a 7-year old girl running to first base. You know what happened? Nothing. She survived. She was terrified of me for a full month, and then she moved on.

I’m only 25 years old, but the kids I grew up with didn’t have cell phones on hand at all times, and yet we still had our freedom. I spent full days with my friends at swimming holes swinging from ropes into the water…unsupervised. We built beach fires and didn’t return home until after dark. Imagine that! We learned to take care of ourselves in a big scary world.

And for the most part, we turned out okay.

What values are we instilling in our children when we forbid them from doing the things they enjoy, especially if those things are healthy and foster valuable social skills from an early age?

Rex Murphy nails it:

“It’s one thing to protect children; it’s another thing to wrap them in regulatory gauze and smother them in utterly risk-free activities to protect them so that they never see life in the random and sometimes even hurtful manifestations it has. The world is not friction-free, and it never will be.”

The whole story even sparked a Twitter trend, #HowDidWeSurvive.

  • @CTVCanadaAM: It’s alarming how many of us remember playing with the mercury balls that came out of broken thermometres #howdidwesurvive
  • @ThatEricAlper: We rode our bikes, we had no helmets, we didn’t come home til after dark. #howdidwesurvive
  • @partylethbridge: I drank water out of a hose, ran barefoot down the sidewalk, rode a bike without a helmet, started campfires with gasoline. #howdidwesurvive
  • How did you survive?