In the wake of the startling news that an elementary school was banning balls from the playground, as a parent it worried me that potential litigation is stopping children from developing valuable hurling and (more importantly) dodging skills. It’s not that I want my son to get his nose bloodied by a frozen tennis ball but I do at least want him to have the opportunity to do so. If you weigh the odds I’m sure he could get in at least two dozen recesses of full-tilt ball hockey, before little Jimmy hits him in the face with an errant slap shot. I don’t have a lawyer on speed dial, ready to dismantle little Jimmy, the school board, and the ball manufacturer but rather I picture him shaking it off, stuffing some school approved 80 grit brown paper towel in his nose, and getting back out for the last five minutes to score the winning goal. If he’s lucky, he might not take one in the chops until sixth grade.
But these are strange bubble wrapped times we live in; times where a parent is made to feel uncomfortable for letting a child play. Because of this I thought it necessary to draft an all-purpose permission form for my child that would cover him for a multitude of otherwise forbidden activities. His mother and I are willing to take the extreme risk that in the event he should ever actually want to go outside and play, he could be susceptible to injury ranging from a scrape to blunt force trauma. Cross my heart and hope to die, I swear I will not launch a massive law suit if he gets kicked in the shins by your kid.
I hereby give permission for my child to: bring his hockey stick, baseball glove, ball and bat to school, play tackle football without full pads, catch a ride home on different bus with his friend, play touch tag, ride on the cart at Home Depot, come into the Beer Store with me, throw snowballs (not iceballs, those are deadly), jump on any trampoline anytime, go tobogganing with or without a helmet, skateboard in your parking lot, play street hockey, go on the field trip – that’s right, any field trip - I’m sure its partly educational, have his photo taken, celebrate Christmas, not celebrate Christmas, say the Lord’s prayer if he feels the need, fight back if a bully is pummeling him, cross the border with his mother who is not trying to abduct him but in fact just wants to take him to Florida, eat peanuts in the privacy of our home, swing on the monkey bars, run in the halls of the hotel, eat from the adult buffet, and lastly, I give him permission to participate. You heard me, participate. Really it’s fine. If he gets hurt playing basketball, we’ll chalk it up to a learning experience, and the next time you see him, it won’t be in court, but back on the court.