Being a kid can be dangerous.
First, you have pretty much zero sense of your own mortality. Second, you have no fear. Third, you are a kid and honestly, just aren’t that smart.
I look back on the things I did as a kid and wonder how I lived to see my teen years, let alone my 50s. And I’m not talking about the everyday crazy stuff like jumping our bikes over pretty much everything, or riding our skateboards down the middle of busy streets as cars zipped by us, or breathing fire. (Don’t ask).
Like many kids, I often went above and beyond. Two examples come to mind. My first genius idea was to take two of our old metal trash cans and make my own submarine so I could explore the pool in our backyard. My mom had enough sense to know I would never be able to actually build it, so she silently let me fail on my own.
She did intervene when I came in looking for a sheet one day to use as a parachute so I could jump off of the roof.
Like I said, kids are not bright.
But they are resilient. We could take a ton of punishment and bounce back pretty quickly. If you didn’t have a large scab somewhere on your body when you were a kid – especially boys – then you were doing it wrong.
We played hard and we played a long time. And we had the bumps and bruises to show for it.
We also had to learn to accept some pain. It was a part of growing up. Take dodgeball, for example. I’m sure all of you have played dodgeball. And if you have played dodgeball, you know the pain of getting drilled with one of those red, rubber balls. They would bounce off of your back or legs or face with the force of a bomb going off.
Some people whined, sure. That was part of dodgeball. It was not for the faint of heart. But no one was ever charged for a crime after hitting a kid in the nog during dodgeball.
That was then – this is now.
A 10-year-old Michigan boy was recently charged with aggravated assault months after a playground game of good old dodgeball. The kid allegedly hit another kid in the face with the ball.
You read that right. The boy was charged with a crime … for hitting another kid during a game of dodgeball.
Look, hitting someone in the face during dodgeball was against the rules, but it happened – I can tell you it happened to me. You try not to go high, but it can and does happen. And yes, it hurts.
But kids get banged up all the time. Was the kid who threw it being a bully? I don’t know, but we all have been targeted during games, from dodgeball to baseball. It happens, but you don’t charge someone with a crime over it.
The mom of the boy who was hit said he was bruised and hurt. We just called that being a kid.
Now, I have no inside information on this story, just what I read. I am sorry anyone got hurt during the game, but when you play dodgeball you can expect to get hit. And when you are a kid, you can expect to have bumps and bruises.
This seems like it is being blown way out of proportion. But what do I know? I was going to jump off of my house with a sheet.
Brad Jennings is Editor of The Ogle County Life.