Wednesday, July 30, 2014

We Used to Play British Bulldog

When I was in grade school, we used to play a game called British Bulldog. A group of us would get together during recess on the grass and dirt playing field. We'd pick one person who would be "it" and the rest of us would run from one end of the field to the other while the person who was it would try to tackle one or two of us. Those who got tackled then joined in the middle and helped to tackle the others on the next turn. We'd run back and forth until one person was left standing, facing a field of kids who were waiting to tackle him.

Then we'd pick someone else to be it and start all over again. And we'd do that through the entire lunch period and through the recesses during the day.

I wasn't the biggest kid on the field, but I learned something about myself by playing British Bulldog. I learned that I was pretty fast and I learned that I could carry three or four guys on my back who were trying to tackle me. I also learned that if I didn't win, I could have just as much fun tackling the other kids who always seemed to be the last ones who got tackled. I also learned basic strategy. If I was it, I learned to try to take down the biggest and the fastest kids first, so they could help out and quickly take down the rest of the kids running across the field. If I was a runner, I learned how to avoid getting tackled.

Those of us who played British Bulldog liked to tackle and get tackled. Sure, we skinned up our chins and elbows and knees and got bruised up, but we had a lot of fun doing it, and, I believe, we all survived the experience. Those who didn't like to play British Bulldog found other things to do during recess 

That was then and this is now. 

My daughter teaches at our local public school. The children have one major rule during recess - no running.

Let me repeat that - the children are not allowed to run around during recess. Ever. For any reason.

Why is that? Because, according to the school, running is dangerous. The school tried banning British Bulldog. The children found other games to play, like Red Rover. So the school banned Red Rover. Then the children would play tag. So the school banned tag. Then the children found something else to run around doing. So the school banned running.

According to the school administration, playing such games is simply too dangerous. The children might get a scrape or cut or a child's feelings may be hurt. Worse, a parent might complain.

Now the kids sit around and text or play games on their ubiquitous cell phones. Or they plug in to their iPods. Or they sit around and do nothing. And school administrators sit around wondering why kids are obese and disinterested in school.


We used to play British Bulldog. We had fun. We got banged up. We were allowed to choose between British Bulldog or playing some other game during recess. We were allowed to run.

In our modern culture of groupthink, of "compassion," of the socialist utopian ideal that everyone's a winner, we've allowed not only government but the most petty aspects of government, to inculcate those rules and regulations which lead away from liberty and freedom. Children are no longer allowed to run at school, let alone play British Bulldog.

Do we allow the power elite to dictate their peculiar brand of immorality, or do we rebel and restore the freedom to do as we will? Are we, as Americans, so selfish and complacent that we'd allow others to create this Brave New World while we sleep?

Let's bring back the foundations of freedom and liberty - the freedom to play British Bulldog on the playground.