Please Don’t Play Tag. It’s Just Too Dangerous.

Do you ever just read something in the news that is so outrageous it makes you stop and question humanity as a whole?

Well, that happened to me. Because I found out that elementary schools are deciding to ban the classic game of slap and run away, Tag.  Shock. Horror. Confusion.  All these things. Plus hunger. But that’s a different story.

I know, I know, I’ll give you a moment to grieve… Okay, moment over.

If you haven’t read my previous posts, you should know that I got hurt quite a bit as a child.  From my brothers’ secret attacks, to a tree and bike collision, my childhood was far from band-aid and emergency room free.

But I like to think that despite all the cuts, bruises, and broken bones, I turned out to be a socially capable adult and functioning member of society (Please refrain from further investigating that statement).

I also like to think that playing (physical) games during recess in elementary and middle school are crucial to cognitively developing social skills with other people.  How is a kid going to grow up knowing he wants to play football if he never gets the chance to play it during school?  How is a child supposed to know what defeat is if everyone gets a trophy and there are no losers?

Newsflash:  The world is full of football and defeat. Life is tough, to ignore it is preposterous, and to ban it is blasphemous (big word usage, +100 points). Get a helmet and go back out there.

This one is about a trip down memory lane and paying tribute to the fallen soldiers of the recess game world.

Let’s take a look at the games considered too dangerous but I played them and turned out fine:

Red Rover: Ahh, Red Rover, Red Rover, send Pete on over! The classic game of death grips and running full speed ahead at the weakest pair in the line.  This is a game of strategy for both teams.  So while you’re over there picking the weakest kid on the opposing squad to run through your child chain linked fence, he or she is over there plotting the same revenge to be extracted.  And is there a better feeling than breaking through an elementary arm grip?  I don’t think so.

**Redeeming Value: Learn how to shake a hand.  Have you ever shook someone’s hand and it was like holding a dead fish?  Prescribe that kid a game of red rover and he or she will have the firmest handshake in town.

Tetherball: I’ll be honest.  I made my mom put a tether ball up on a tree in my front yard so I could practice daily.  There were lines out the playground to get a piece of the tether ball champion at recess.  The best was the momentum, once you got it, there was no stopping – and hearing the chain that connected the ball to the rope hit the pole to end the game was nothing short of a magical experience.  Short kids shouldn’t play this game. It’ll be an uphill battle from day one.  Sorry.

**Redeeming Value: Hand-Eye coordination.

Butts Up: Fifth grade aim is mediocre at best. Plus, if you were a girl lucky enough to survive three rounds of this game – you were pretty much guaranteed a prom date by age seven.

**Redeeming Value: Obtaining a prom date earlier than everyone else.  Avoiding that type of stress is seriously encouraged.

Freeze Tag: Survival of the Fittest.  Run or be frozen.  Don’t know how you can take that away from a kid. If you were the only kid to escape freeze tag without becoming a statue?  You’re a legend, and definitely a future Olympian.

**Redeeming Value:  Learn to be a statue.  If you’re good at freezing, you’re probably good at being one of those guards in front of the royal palace who don’t move at all. Or you could become a gargoyle or a garden gnome, depending on your level of ambition.

Dodgeball:  What were balls made for if not for dodging?  Get over yourself.  If you’re out, sit down. Hopefully there’s an athletic Joe out there who can catch a ball and you can learn how to shadow the good kids and not get out on the first throw.  If you don’t have athleticism, use your brain. Making the star baseball player become a human wall for you is probably the best advice I will ever give.

**Redeeming Value: Learning to sneak under the radar.  Shadowing the best player on the team will ensure you that you will at least not be the first one out, thus you’ve removed the brand on your face that says you suck at throwing and catching. CHA-CHING.

Rest In Peace, Recess Games.  You were always there when I needed an ego boost or stress relief.  Hope you’re up in activity heaven just hamming it up with banned books and platonic hugs from inspirational teachers.  There is now a thirty minute play period in schools where kids just kinda sit down and stare at things.  It’s apparently way more fun and a lot more safe.

PS – I challenge anyone to a game of tetherball. Anyone 5’4 and over 160lbs with extreme athleticism need not inquire.


Ear Candy

Let’s talk about something that girls absolutely love. Something that is a sort of coming of age activity in a young woman’s life. It’s something that involves thoughtful planning weeks in advance, consulting with friends for advice, all in preparation for this one moment.

The road trip.

The road trip is a chance for a girl to become a woman. To venture out into the great unknown, or let’s be honest, just to the next town over for some ice cream (girls will do anything to drive somewhere, alone, so they can sing, rap, and top-half dance all the way to retail therapy).

The build-up to the road trip is something that can only be described as sensational. You have to pack.  You have to find out where your GPS cord is located, which is probably in the same place as that quarter you lost two weeks ago in the eternal crevice between the driver’s seat and the center console.

But more importantly than knowing where you’re going, or what the hell you’re going to wear when you get there, you need some high quality sing-alongs that will make you feel like Mariah Carey until your lungs collapse from exhaustion.

But therein lies the biggest problem. With great gifts comes great responsibility. The road trip is a gift, a chance to unwind and be stripped down to your true self. The only ones who truly know how bad you sing are your car, your iPod and the JockJams cd you refuse to take out of your glove compartment – it’s for special occasions, duh.

Until you get a shitty string of songs that come on your playlist and just punches all your good vibrations square in the face.

One minute, you’re jamming out to Aaron’s party, Come Get It, reliving your childhood and all the zuba pants and pleather  wearing men of your dreams.  You’re deeply rooted in a sequence of songs that are so nostalgic, you can almost taste the vodka shots you took out of a water bottle while sitting in a grocery store parking lot junior year of high school.

Then, you’re slapped with a big fat dose of playlist reality.  There is inevitably, whether you want to admit it or not, songs on your playlist that you have no intention of ever listening to, they’re just on there cause you feel bad.

But once you realized you’ve been hit with one song bomb, the war has already begun.  It’s a string of songs you are just so not in the mood for that they completely change the way you’ve thought about this road trip entirely.

You try to skip, but one song after another, it’s just plain bad and it doesn’t fit your mood. Why doesn’t my iPod know what I’m thinking? You start cursing at all the technology in your car. Your radio is now a douchebag, your phone is a piece of shit, you just don’t know where it all went wrong. You’re helpless.

And just like that, your day is completely ruined.


xoxo Pete