Earl Beatty Public School in Toronto has limited the children to "sponge or other soft balls" because things like baseballs, soccer balls, footballs, and tennis balls are just too dangerous to be entrusted to children. The ban was not even prompted by an injury to a child, but rather came after a parent suffered a concussion from being hit in the head with a soccer ball.

"We want our balls back! We want our balls back!" the children chanted in a demonstration last Wednesday.

"You can take our balls," one boy reportedly shouted, "but you cannot take our freedom!"

One parent said he was "disgusted" by the ban. "A lot of things could happen," said Chris Stateski. "A child could trip on the asphalt, a child could fall off the monkey bars and break their arm. So many things could happen. What are they going to do - cover the schoolyard in pillows?"

COMMENT: When I was a kid we used to ride our bikes on the road, stay out after dark, climb trees, carry sheaf knives, get chased by horses and farm dogs, play in derelict buildings and building sites, crawl along drains, play pirates in the school gym, play British Bulldog, get into fights, use public transport on our own, hang around on the streets, light bonfires, throw bangers at each other and pretty much do everything that is now considered far too dangerous for children to even think about doing. And yet, with the exception of my friend, James, who fell off a bus shelter and broke his arm once, we all somehow survived and had a good time growing up as well. I feel so sorry for kids growing up nowadays. They must be so bloody bored. No wonder so many of them start taking drugs and abusing alcohol as soon as they can get their hands on the stuff. What else can they do to have some fun?

Thanks to Paul(A) for sending in the link to this story.



  1. I quite agree. On Nov 6th I used to go down to the beach and collect the fireworks that had failed to go off. In our garden shed I emptied them out, mixed together the powders and balls, repacked them and screwed in a piece of blue paper. Then, in thew alleyway behind I would light the touch paper and leg it to safety. The best one exploded in a loud bang, clouds of grey smoke, and fiery coloured balls whizzing past my ears as I cowered behind a low brick wall. Dangerous? yes. Stupid? Yes. But that is part of the whole process of chilkdhood. No matter how many adults tell you its dangerous you don’t learn until you’ve tried it for yourself. The same with ball games or any other playground equipment. The local play area had one of those large swinging umbrella roundabouts. The game was to stand in the centre and avoid being crushed by the wood and metal as it hurtled towards you. My older brother rode his bike into a flint wall. My other sibling swallowed a large bolt from his cot. None of us have ever broken a limb or been hospitalised, but we carry scars. You’re right, MP, kids today must be really bored.

    WV = dirubmi .. a request by Prince Charels to Diana?

  2. Ah, yes, the scars of childhood. I’ve got one under my chin following a motoring accident when I was about 2 or 3 years old. My friend Kevin peddled his metal, toy car into my metal toy car and I flew over the bonnet and landed chin first on the pavement.

  3. Well, I call for a ban on all trees. There’s this kind of tree that we called a bean tree because it put out long, thin pods like beans. When the pods dried, they got woody and brittle. I managed, somehow, when I was ten, to get a sliver of one of those dried pods into the palm of my hand just along the base of my left thumb. Our after-school child caregiver pronounced that since I’d gotten that sliver in there, I could get it out for myself. It took forever, and I still have a two inch scar as a reminder.

    So I think if we just ban all trees, no child will have to go through the agony I did.

    Now pencils, there’s something else that needs banning. Either I or one of my brothers stabbed another of our brothers in the head with one once and he still has a bluish scar. So pencils have got to go!

    And porch steps – especially cement ones – my oldest brother fell off one and there was blood everywhere, and playgrounds – one of them jumped up and slammed my middle bro in the jaw and he bit through his lower lip. I tell you, children are not safe. Ban everything and then wrap them in cotton wool until they’re too old to try on dangerous and stupid things like riding bicycles and scraping knees.

    When did parents get so scared?

  4. I used to ride horseback a lot and have been stepped on by a horse, fallen off of horses, had one horse try to mate with another horse while I was riding her (this was a pregnant quarter horse mare whose hormones apparently made her decide she liked the other mare that someone else was riding in the ring at the same time)…..and I also rode my bicycle around half the state of Delaware (well, Rehoboth Beach & surrounding areas like Henlopen Acres, etc)….I swam in the Atlantic Ocean all the time….etc etc etc….and as of Monday I will be 42 yrs old, having suffered no serious mishaps to date.

    And we didn’t have cell phones back then either!


  5. They should ban looking at things, as well. When I was about 8 or 9, I was holding up a carpet tack I found and looking to see if it was one of Dad’s nails from a project, or something, and it fell, hit the back of my throat and I swallowed it.

    Luckily, surgery was not required as it passed during a lengthy (to a child) hospital stay.

  6. I think we should ban parenthood altogether. That would get rid of any chance of childhood accidents and save Mrs MP a small fortune in tax that she presently hands out each month to pay for other people’s kids to go to school.

  7. MP, why on earth did you throw sausages at each other? Didn’t your parents ever tell you about all the poor starving children in Texas?

  8. Dogs should be banned as well. When I was about 8 years of age, one bit me on the arse. I fell as I was trying to get away, and broke my arm. Danger!

    Maybe balls are more dangerous nowadays because the yout’s have damaged their brains with playing the video games and are surprised that their attempts at “virtually” catching the spheres are ineffective.

  9. No, KJ, you go too far! Dogs should not be banned…we should ban asses.

    The problem, my dears, is the one thing we seem to have banned is personal responsibility for our actions…as such, there’s always someone else to blame for our misfortune and, therefore, there’s always a lawyer ready to cash in and give you a share if you’ll only sue…

  10. Not only that, there are some medical researchers who think part of the noted increase in allergies and other health problems in children is that the excessive cleanliness that we now are trying to achieve in our homes has helped prevent our kids from developing their immune systems properly, leaving them poorly protected from the normal irritants and allergens we used to play with eons ago.

  11. The irony is that the offending wimpy school is “Earl Beatty” who rode to hounds and commanded the Battle cruisers at the battles of Jutland and the Dogger Bank. And led a column to Peking during the Boxer Rebellion. He’d wet himself lauging at this nonsense!

  12. we should ban asses

    But only on men.

    [I kid, I kid, het girls & gay boys! ;-X]


    They should ban looking at things, as well.

    Oh, absolutely. My brother found a Playboy in the dumpster behind the store, showed it to me (c. age 11), and it’s been All Downhill (to Pervdom) Since! ;-D


    Remember those playground merry-go-rounds? Those thing were practically DESIGNED for knee-skin removal! Yet somehow, for better or worse, I’m Still Here…

  13. We SHOULD ban asses.

    This way, we wouldn’t have to put up with Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.