Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You can't control it, cuz it's from the streets...

The elected officials in Kingston must be deathly afraid of the killjoy types who worry about property values, judging by the draft of their Street Hockey Code of Conduct.

City officials trying to put limits on road hockey is nothing new. A few uptight citizens complain about having a couple divots left on their lawn, or about the safety hazards of kids playing in the street, and suddenly it's open season on one of the great Canadian childhood pastimes.

The city, among other things, is considering:
  • Bar kids from playing before 9 a.m. or after 8 p.m. Does anyone remember ever playing that early in the morning, or that late at night?
  • Making all players wear a helmet -- which creates an extra expense for parents.
  • Possibly requiring permits for players. Never mind that road hockey was great because it was spontaneous. You started calling people around 9 in the morning to see if they were up for a game and by noon, you assembled to play for Champion of the Universe.
  • Limiting games to no more than eight players. That's really going to help with promoting active lifestyles. Suppose 10 kids want to play. "Sorry, Braden, sorry, Evan, but we already have our eight players." ... "OK, I guess I'll go insisde and play more XBox and eat more Cheetos even though it's a beautiful, sunny day."
  • Consideration as to whether a street is safe for playing would also include "good weather conditions." Can you remember being 12 or 13, playing road hockey or playground basketball, and it started raining? You never stopped playing, unless it was coming down so hard that you couldn't see.
The city is holding a survey; please put your two cents in, however you feel about it. Obviously, this is is an oversimplification on this end, by someone who's not a parent or a homeowner. There probably are concerns, especially in the older sections of K-Town, where there are some narrow streets. If it's that big a problem, suggest a constructive solution (even it would cause property taxes to go up by 17 cents a household). It's stupefying that the unwritten rules of road hockey -- something called common sense! --don't satisfy some people. Children haven't become that much much more reckless or foolish; if anything, it's probably the opposite.

Whoever's pushing for this, get a hold of yourself. No one should be trying to put limits on something as vital as child's play.


Rob Pettapiece said...

You have to feel sorry for the city cop who will be demoted to shaking down 11-year-olds for road hockey permission slips. This Code is going to be mocked constantly, but with good reason, as the rules are already covered in Kid Common Sense:

No games after 8 pm = Next goal wins once you can't see the ball
At most 8 players = Not enough room on the road for everyone, so take turns
Locally-classed streets only = Fewer cars means less waiting and more playing

Less seriously: will these new rules apply to the streets comprising Kingston's student ghetto? Because we certainly don't want anyone to damage those front yards.

Krister Ulmanis said...

Always laugh at these goofy stories about roadhockey because they remind me of growing up in Stockholm, Sweden, where the subway track ran above ground. Having fun all afternoon after school on the street we all took turns to crawl under the fence to retrieve the ball - UNLESS it was touching the 3rd rail. All of us survived - and this was the 60's!! Imagine what these city counsellors would think of THAT!!

The crap we put our kids through today in the name of 'protection' of them and property is why we have fat ass kids who burden our health care system with heart disease and diabetes at an earlier and earlier rate. Let the kids be kids for crying out loud!!!

Jim B said...

These Liberals make me sick.

sager said...

Come on, there must be a Dipper driving this too, Jim!

Big V said...

Is this a case of the city protecting themselves against lawsuits?

Say "Greedy John's" Kid gets hurt while playing hockey on city roads... Can the city be sueed?

Duane Rollins said...

This has Dipper written all over it, actually.

If this gets passed someone should organize a massive ball hockey event in Kingston. Like, 1,000 people all playing at the same time illustrating how utterly stupid it is. I have no doubt that such an event would be widely supported and covered by the media.

People like to write poetically about hockey being the fabric that unites the national and all hat. It's partially true. But, our national sport isn't actually ice hockey--it's road hockey. I fare you to find me a Canadian kid that didn't play road hockey growing up. Even the ankle-burners can chase a tennis ball (or, at least, be a target in net..."just use your hat Pete. You'll be fine. We won't take slap shots on you from that close.)