I am a fan of Real Sports with Bryant Gumble on HBO. It really can be a fascinating show and some of the stories are AWESOME! But this month it just flat out ticked me off.
If you haven't seen it yet, and you get HBO you need to stalk for it. There is a story about The Banning of Dodgeball in schools. Yes, I know. Out of 33 followers and random readers from around the blogosphere, at least one of you has a horrible memory of dodgeball. Some of you have horrible memories of gym class and middle school in general. See a therapist. I'm not your go to on this one.
My problem wasn't so much the banning of dodgeball but the reasoning behind it. We don't want children to be scarred by losing. They need to participate in activities that will help them feel successful. Seriously? You can't let children lose at a gym activity?
But it gets worse. They showed further footage of a PE teacher training in which they were...Wait for it! Jumping rope. WITHOUT A ROPE!
Pick your jaws up people. It is real and I watched it twice just to be sure. They encourage children to use their imaginations for how many times the rope can pass under them. And why don't we use a real rope? Because we could trip ourselves and get hurt.
Which leads me to indignation #3. A school has also banned tag. They can only play "Shadow Tag" (step on the person's shadow to freeze/unfreeze them) because too many children were falling down and getting bruises and scrapes. In this economy you want to go a step further and put Band-Aid out of business? That's just wrong!
But no touch tag wasn't enough. Because things were so delightful (please pardon my sarcasm), they decided to ban touching at all. Air high fives. Air hugs. And no patting a friend on the back.
Wait. I'll be right back after I brush the vomit taste out of my mouth.
Who wants to make the first prediction as to what happens to these "Chronic Winners" when they don't get the job on the first job interview? What happens when they get dumped? What happens when they don't get into the school they want because their test scores aren't good enough?
And if we are eliminating everything that could cause injury, does that mean we are banishing all organized sports? No more Tee Ball. No more soccer. Do you have any ideas how many times I stopped a soccer ball with my face in gym class? My sister wore hockey ball badges on her shins for crying out loud! And that was only practice!
Why can't children learn dissapointment? Isn't it more important to teach them to handle losing with grace and sportsmanship than to pamper their egos and give them a false sense of self? Competition is real people. And some people win. And some people lose. It's how the losers handle it that determines their character. The same can be said of winners.
So suck it up. Take a ball to the head or the small of your back. Shake it off and be graceful about it.
If you can see through your swollen eye.