Dangerous games: Tag? Wiffle Ball?

Wiffle Ball, tag, kickball and dodgeball are dangerous games with a “significant risk of injury,” according to New York day camp regulations. So are Capture the Flag, Steal the Bacon and Red Rover, reports the New York Daily News. But Frisbee, tug of war and sack races are considered safe.

“It looks like Albany bureaucrats are looking for kids to just sit in a corner in a house all day and not be outside,” said state Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-St. Lawrence County).

Under the new rules, any program that offers two or more recreational activities — with at least one on the risky list — is subject to state regulation as a day camp.  That means paying a $200 registration fee and providing medical staff, Ritchie said.

Deborah Graham, 51, a mother of two from Harlem, said moving around was less harmful than playing video games all summer.

“You could develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome,” she said. “And when (kids) eat, eat, and eat, they get diabetes. That’s dangerous.”

Regulators said not every program will need to hire medical staff. Some will get by with a plan to deal with medical emergencies.

Perhaps dodgeball risks “significant injury,” but Wiffle Ball? Tag?

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  1. Replace “injury” from “significant risk of injury” with “lawsuit,” and you have the real justification.

  2. Sean Mays says:

    Frisbee is SAFE? Get hit in the mouth by one of those, better have your mouth guard in. I guess it’s deemed “safe enough” for now.

    Remember, we live in a country where a certain fast food joint was compelled to put: “Caution! The beverage you are about to enjoy is extremely hot” after losing a lawsuit claiming the coffee was just too darn hot.

  3. E L Frederick says:

    Oh sure, we live in a nation of fat people, but you can’t play tag. What moron came up with this idea?

    No dodgeball, no whiffle ball, no tag; but hey… they hand out condoms for free at Planned Parenthood…

  4. That makes me sad; Capture the Flag was one of my favorite games when I was a kid. And I don’t see how it’s more unsafe than Frisbee…I’ve been conked by Frisbees a few times in my life and it’s not fun.

    I can see Dodge Ball being a problem, though. When I was in school they used to play it with VOLLEYBALLS. Those things hurt like anything. (However: I have since led games of Dodge Ball for a youth group using sponge balls – like Nerf – and that never hurt anyone. Harder to tell when you’re hit, but a lot less likely to knock teeth out)

  5. This sounds like an Onion article.

  6. Recent research suggests that staying inside playing video games is also hazardous to your health!

  7. Richard Aubrey says:

    In the sixth grade, we boys used to play Red Rover. Hardly anybody got crippled.
    The thing was, you had two lines facing each other, arms linked.
    “Red Rover, Red Rover, let Aubrey come over.”
    It was Aubrey’s task to run like hell and break through the opposing line. The opfor wanted to keep linked and throw me back.
    Kept score, of course.
    This what they’re talking about?
    Great fun.

  8. “To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they became the only ends, somehow, and the only basis of law—a perversion. Inevitably, then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security.”

    –Walter Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz

  9. April Fools Day has come and gone. You’ve got to be kidding on this one.

  10. Michael E. Lopez says:

    1. Games require community, meaning that they require a certain level of trust and cooperation. (Premise)
    2. Lawsuits are a substitute for the operational mechanics of open warfare within the context of a sovereign (Premise)
    3. Attitudes of hatred, distrust, jealousy, and/or contempt are incompatible with the presence of community bonds. (Premise)
    4. Open warfare finds its motivational bases in attitudes of hatred, distrust, jealousy, and contempt. (Premise)
    5. Widespread open warfare between people is caused by attitudes that are mutually exclusive with those required for genuine community between those same people. (3 and 4)
    6. Widespread lawsuits between people are caused by attitudes that are mutually exclusive with those required for genuine community between those same people. (2 and 6)
    7. Where widespread lawsuits are found, community will not be found. (6)
    8. Where widespread lawsuits are found, games will not be found. (1 and 7)
    9. We in this country have an increasing number of lawsuits. (Premise)
    10. We in this country will find fewer games. (8 and 9)

  11. Linked: Games, lawsuits, and community.

    Re the comment by Michael Lopez, I’d note that while the lack of a sense of community causes widespread lawsuits, it is also true that an environment of widespread lawsuits causes a decline in sense of community. Hence we have a positive feedback loop, aka a vicious circle.

  12. I agree with David Foster. It’s the fear of lawsuits, which are far too prominent in our culture, that causes these types of regulations. Ultimately none of this helps the children. It’s a bunch of lawmakers who want to sit on their hands.

    I agree with Deborah Graham’s quote. I would much rather my kids come home with a few bumps and scrapes after a good ol time on the playground (remember those?) than come home as clean and together as when they left.

    Summer camps should be about running, playing – together and individually – and NOT sitting around all day in front of the tv which fills heads with consumerism which, really people, helps no one.

  13. Roger Sweeny says:

    It’s the fear of lawsuits, which are far too prominent in our culture, that causes these types of regulations.

    Legislatures can pass laws taking away liability in cases like this. “We’re afraid of being sued” may cause a camp to be cautious but it doesn’t cause regulations. The legislature can easily say that except in cases of gross negligence, no camp will be liable for injuries caused by games like these. And it should.

  14. SuperSub says:

    Except the largest group of lawmakers (at least in my state) are lawyers.

  15. Roger Sweeny says:

    I didn’t say they would. I just said they should 🙂

  16. This is a joke right??

  17. Sean, I had always quoted that lawsuit similarly, as an example of a nation gone mad. But I read The Rest Of The Story, and it was quite legit. The coffee was 180 degrees because the hot plate was malfunctioning, known to be malfunctioning, but was used anyway. That heat exceeds what the cups were designed for. The car customer grabbed the cup, which burned his fingers, and he spilled it on his lap, causing serious scalding. That one was negligence, and a violation of an implied contract that when you buy a cup of coffee, it will be something near the range acceptable to handle.

    As to the games – that’s why games will go online, increasingly.