Saturday, December 19, 2009

Another Sign of The Times

NFL PLAY 60 is the NFL Movement for an Active and Healthy Generation, encouraging kids to play for 60 minutes every day in order to tackle childhood obesity. Through in-school, afterschool and team-based programs and partnerships with like-minded organizations, the NFL wants fans to Join the NFL PLAY 60 Movement. PLAY 60 appears throughout, the NFL’s official website for kids, so kids can do what they love – play games and follow their favorite NFL teams – while being reminded to get active everyday!

This critical thinker thinks this is an excellent program; however, it begs the question, isn’t it a shame that we have to have a program to get children to PLAY? Think about that. When I was a child, we didn’t need a program that its sole objective was to get us up off of the couch. One would think that there would be a natural connection between children and play. This submission is not to criticize or belittle the NFL PLAY 60 program, because as I said I commend them for seeing a need and making an attempt to fill it. The question is why is this a need that needs to be filled? Where have we arrived to when children no longer run around playing baseball; football; jumping Double Dutch; playing Freeze Tag; Mother May I?; Hide and Seek; Hot Peas and Butter; Hopscotch; Tag; and the list goes on and on.

It’s interesting that when my children were little I kept hearing parents talking about “play dates,” and I always wondered what the heck is a play date because again, when I was a child, “play dates” did not exist. You went outside; met up with your friends, and you played; very simple. We played baseball and football in a vacant lot across the street from my house for hours on end and we didn’t need a program such as NFL PLAY 60 or any other program for that matter in order for us to do this. We even named the vacant lot that was filled with rocks and glass, "Rocky Stadium.” We held Thanksgiving and Christmas football games and hollered out “Rusty Staub” as we hit a ball over the trees. We did this because we were kids and we loved to play. We ran up and down the street playing Tag and Hide-and-go-Seek until the street lights came on and everyone had to go into the house. We rode our bicycles to surrounding communities such as Clifton, Passaic, and Hackensack. We did what kids normally do………….play.

I remember going to a day camp during the summer and returning home at 5:00 p.m. to all of my friends who did not go to camp on the street playing baseball and wanting to immediately join them and my mother telling me to come in the house and rest before going back out to play. REST!!!! At 12? What was rest? I didn’t know the meaning of the word rest or tired at 12 and in 2009 we have to have an organized and sponsored program to get kids to get up off of their duffs to go out and play. Something is wrong. The reason our obesity rate is so high amongst children is because we are raising a bunch of lazy kids. We as parents, not just the NFL have to make our children get up and move away from the television, computer, and Playstation to engage in physical activity. Ride those bicycles; try out for that team; run and play in the park. When you think about it, it’s amazing, isn’t it? Children who have to be encouraged to play……… This is the Critical Thinker signing off once more hopefully leaving you with something that will make you go hmmmmmmm.

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