Friday, April 01, 2005

Recess in Pieces

If RedDirt were around today, he would undoubtedly bemoan this as further evidence of the disappearing Great American Childhood: Apparently, school recess is becoming a thing of the past.

In the St. Petersburg Times, writer Lane DeGregory reports that about 40 percent of schools nationwide have scrapped recess for a variety of reasons, including the rising costs of playground equipment and liability concerns.

DeGregory writes:

"Remember recess? Four-square, jump rope, hanging upside down on the jungle gym. Red Rover, stickball, climbing trees, hunting for caterpillars. Or just being by yourself.

"Recess meant diving into leaf piles, hurling snowballs, blowing dandelion tufts. Gossiping and freeze tag and getting dirty.

"Sure, recess could be a drag. Bullies and crybabies showed their true selves on the playground. You got skinned knees and bruises and sand in your eyes.
But good or bad, everyone over 30 remembers recess. It was a chance to run and swing and use your outside voice, to climb and jump and hang out without grownups butting in, to invent games and rules, to form your own teams and make your own choices."

With the exception of a few fond memories playing doctor with a girl named Lisa Farrington in a tucked-away corner of the schoolyard, my chief memories of recess are decidedly ambivalent. Being picked last for dodgeball, ducking bullies, being forced to eat a beetle, that sort of thing. As for me, I will shed no tears for the loss of recess.


At 12:59 PM, Blogger aka_monty said...

Recess was just as much fun when we had a swingset, a slide, and some metal bars to propell ourselves around. We din' need no steenkin' big wooden/plastic toys with ropes and ladders and tubes and steering wheels and tires to play on.
Damn spoiled brats. :)

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should Chase because its not just the loss of some bad memories for you, with the beetle and all, but the loss of memories for our children. I look at kids today and think that their memories will consist of that time they beat the high score in Grand Theft Auto, or became the all time champ of Tekken, and its just sad. I had a lot of bad playground experiences myself but those are not the ones that stand out.

At 7:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked to eat the gravel

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's ironic that just as progressive employers are creating fitness centers for their employees, or providing breaks during the day for brisk walks, recess is disappearing. Given that most kids watch TV or play video games after school, recess might be the only time of the day they're not sitting down.


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