Reason Number Eleventy-Five That Being a Kid Today Sucks

playgroundWhen I was a wee lass, our school had a gigantic, wooden bridge, complete with rusty chains and stray nails hanging out; the sort that'd catch your bare skin just as you were running across it in a game we called "Bridge Tag." The principle of the game was simple: two teams on either side of the bridge, each person trying to make it across without being pushed over the side onto their heads.

It was a forbidden game, but we'd get a couple of rounds in before the recess monitors -- busily sucking down their cigarettes -- broke up the game.

One particularly bad day, I got summarily pushed off the side of the bridge during one of these games of bridge tag, and landed squarely on my neck. Marvelling at my own stupidity and realizing I probably had a concussion, I dizzily hobbled over to the recess monitor, intending to go to the nurse.

She was less than sympathetic.


In fact, she put me in the penalty box, where I swayed unsteadily until recess was over. Once in my classroom, I realized that I was, in fact, stupidly hurt, and went to the nurse, who sent me home.

A couple of years later, probably because it was condemned or something, the bridge got torn down. I mourned that bridge; the bridge which had given me blisters, splinters, and a concussion.

Soon after, I went on to junior high, then high school, where the "playground" consisted of hiding under the bleachers and smoking cigarettes.

The next thing I knew, the playground that I'd so loved was torn down and replaced with some technicolor "safer" alternative. It looked like Willy Wonka had thrown up a playground.

No longer did they have the tire climber (always whizzed in by the older boys) or the unsteady, rickety slide that, if you used it while wearing shorts during a particularly sunny day, would give you the most massive butt blisters. The wood chips, which were always infested with some particular worm, were what we enjoyed whipping at each other, but they were replaced by some foam mat. I probably STILL have one of those splinters lodged into my eye.

The rusted out chains on the swings had been replaced by plastic wrapped chains, meaning no one would ever pinch their fingers like we all did. And I couldn't imagine the foam mats absorbing the shock of jumping off the swings from as high as we did very well.

The tire swing had been replaced by tiny rockets on springs, the sort one would put a toddler or other small child on, which was clearly unfair to the actual children at the school, considering none of them were of the size OR shape to properly use such a toy.

The jungle gym, where I'd once racked myself falling through, was replaced by some really stupid looking monkey bars. Nobody would be playing King of the Hill on THOSE. And really, whose childhood is complete without a game of King of the Hill from dizzying -- and dangerous! -- heights.

No, this new playground equipment was not nearly as awesome as what we grew up with. Those really were the good (read: unsafe) old days.

Do you remember the playground from when you were a kid? How much has it changed?

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