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Seesaws: A Vanishing Part Of America
Let's Be Fair! ^ | April 29, 2011 | Bob Dorigo Jones

Posted on 06/17/2011 4:36:33 PM PDT by Fiji Hill

Seesaws: A Vanishing Part of America

By Bob Dorigo Jones

Can you remember the last time you saw a seesaw? I’m talking about an old fashioned teeter-totter – the kind without springs.

If you are under the age of thirty, it’s very possible that you’ve never seen one. Although they were once a staple of playgrounds around the country, the lawsuit explosion in America prompted school officials and park superintendents to start removing them in the 1970s and 1980s.

Philip Howard, a prominent attorney and the author of the bestselling book, The Death of Common Sense, wrote this about seesaws eight years ago: “Visit a playground and look for a seesaw. They are rapidly disappearing, going the way of merry-go-rounds, diving boards, and other joys of childhood.”

The problem wasn’t that every school and community was being sued. No, it was simply the likelihood that they would be sued in courts that were increasingly turning a blind eye to personal responsibility that motivated schools and communities to rip the teeter-totters out of the ground and install less “risky” things for kids to play on. The real possibility of being sued was enough to cause insurance rates to skyrocket, so kids had to say good-bye to their seesaws.

Books have been written about how playgrounds don’t challenge kids enough nowadays. Playgrounds often don’t often allow kids to take the kind of small risks help them grow and develop. Not that seesaws were a huge challenge, but they did at least require a little leg power and balance. Today’s spring-loaded seesaws require very little effort to move, and some experts believe such changes are one of the reasons childhood obesity has become such a problem in America.

Despite the virtual extinction of the old-fashioned seesaw, there is at least one still around. In my most recent “Let’s Be Fair” radio commentary, I mention that I actually found one! However, it isn’t in a public park. It is located in one of the few places in America where lawsuits are as uncommon as seesaws are in the rest of the country…an Amish community. Makes sense, huh? The photo above was taken at a school in an Amish enclave in northern Michigan. The hitching post for horses is visible in the foreground.

Do you have a story to share about how life in America is changing because of the ever-present threat of litigation? If so, I’d like to hear it.



TOPICS: Outdoors; Society
KEYWORDS: childhood; litigation; play; seesaw; torts
I feel fortunate that I was able to experience seesaws, diving boards, jungle gyms, etc. when I was young.
1 posted on 06/17/2011 4:36:37 PM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: Fiji Hill

Increase in lawsuits, decrease in seesaws. Simple math. ;-)


2 posted on 06/17/2011 4:39:35 PM PDT by doc1019 (Palin/West, unbeatable.)
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To: Fiji Hill

First thing that came to mind....

BIll Cosby - Playground

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rqv38fP7cr0

“.....and then came....the ‘Monkey Bars’............”


3 posted on 06/17/2011 4:41:41 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Fiji Hill

I think seesaws along with corndogs deserve to be consigned to the dust heap of history along with petrocks.


4 posted on 06/17/2011 4:46:32 PM PDT by nkycincinnatikid
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To: Fiji Hill

Some of the best childhood injuries came from see saws.


5 posted on 06/17/2011 4:47:13 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Fiji Hill

And who can forget the asphalt playgrounds?


6 posted on 06/17/2011 4:48:17 PM PDT by mrs. a (It's a short life but a merry one...)
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To: doc1019
Increase in lawsuits, decrease in seesaws.

The same can be said for diving boards. The scarcity of diving boards in this country probably has something to do with the fact that the US has not won a gold medal in Olympic diving events since 1996. For decades, America was highly competitive, if not dominant in this sport.

7 posted on 06/17/2011 4:49:47 PM PDT by Fiji Hill
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To: Fiji Hill

The article makes a point that the absence of physically risky activity might be the reason for obesity in children.

That’s possible. As a child I walked everywhere until I received a bicycle for my birthday (12th). We really did walk to school, to the beach and climbed trees in the woods, stringing swings over deep gullies. All day long we were absorbed in some form of physical activity. Horses, were de rigeur - but we had to clean tack, take the herd to pasture, muck out stables and give riding lessons to earn privileges. I feel so blessed that my childhood was in the golden age.


8 posted on 06/17/2011 4:49:51 PM PDT by sodpoodle
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To: mrs. a

I went to rural school where we never had asphalt playgrounds.


9 posted on 06/17/2011 4:50:47 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: sodpoodle

I think kids are becoming too safe to learn some pretty basic self taught lessons.


10 posted on 06/17/2011 4:52:09 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: cripplecreek

Bring back rhe sand boxes.


11 posted on 06/17/2011 4:52:09 PM PDT by oldsicilian
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To: nkycincinnatikid
"I think seesaws along with corndogs deserve to be consigned to the dust heap of history along with petrocks."

Corndogs?! From my cold dead hands!

12 posted on 06/17/2011 4:53:52 PM PDT by Flag_This (Real presidents don't bow.)
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To: Flag_This

well..
just
ooops


13 posted on 06/17/2011 4:55:36 PM PDT by nkycincinnatikid
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To: cripplecreek

Asphalt playgrounds provided wonderful cushioning when you fell off the jungle gym...


14 posted on 06/17/2011 4:56:04 PM PDT by mrs. a (It's a short life but a merry one...)
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To: Flag_This

The corn dog stick makes a wonderful weapon to stab the clown who tries to take your see saw away.


15 posted on 06/17/2011 4:57:29 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Fiji Hill

I always liked see-saws. And swinging as high as I could and jumping off the swing. Those monkey bars got really slippery after they had been worn in good.


16 posted on 06/17/2011 4:58:07 PM PDT by USMCPOP (Father of LCpl. Karl Linn, KIA 1/26/2005 Al Haqlaniyah, Iraq)
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To: cripplecreek
"The corn dog stick makes a wonderful weapon to stab the clown who tries to take your see saw away."

Stabbin' is too good for the bastage.

17 posted on 06/17/2011 4:59:43 PM PDT by Flag_This (Real presidents don't bow.)
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To: USMCPOP

Do they still make metal slides that make your butt sizzle like bacon on a sunny day?


18 posted on 06/17/2011 5:00:29 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Fiji Hill

The see-saw is the cruellest ride.
It tricks you with the upward glide.
The person on the other side
Jumps off.
You fall and smack your cheeky hide.


19 posted on 06/17/2011 5:00:35 PM PDT by Fester Chugabrew (minds change)
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To: cripplecreek

I agree. The old ‘double dare you’ was a way to test our physical capabilities, reactions, strength and courage. We also learned to be creative, solve problems and find our way out of trouble.

I slid down a steep cliff one day - chasing after my stupid dog. It was high tide at the bottom and I quickly realized I needed to scramble back up at an angle (not straight up) it limited the sand & rocks collapsing above me and was an easier climb..

Survival!!!! Essential for girls and boys.


20 posted on 06/17/2011 5:03:41 PM PDT by sodpoodle
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To: Fiji Hill

One or two kids with permanent spinal injuries, and they have to spoil the fun for everyone.


21 posted on 06/17/2011 5:07:43 PM PDT by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: Fiji Hill

I still know quite a few places that still have seesaws. Merry-go-rounds, otoh, are harder to find.


22 posted on 06/17/2011 5:08:04 PM PDT by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: FourPeas

See saws taught us about levers and Merry -go- rounds taught us about centrifugal force.


23 posted on 06/17/2011 5:18:09 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: cripplecreek

The best ones were the long see-saw plank mounted atop a swivel post.....kinda like a kamikaze merry-go-round with a tilt-a-whirl flavor...... it’s some nasty crap that happens when one falls off....the remaining one gets a nasty ground crash in two dimensions.


24 posted on 06/17/2011 5:20:36 PM PDT by Gaffer
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To: Fiji Hill

and a swimming pool.


25 posted on 06/17/2011 5:25:29 PM PDT by Perdogg (0bama got 0sama?? Really, was 0sama on the golf course?)
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To: Fiji Hill

Ah, the good old days. We had asphalt on the part of our playground where we played Red Rover and I had forever scabby knees until the age of 11. And I never see any kids climbing trees any more, playing kick the can, tag, stick ball, cowboys and Indians or hide-and-seek along with the loud cry of alle, alle, outs in free!


26 posted on 06/17/2011 5:47:09 PM PDT by Grams A (The Sun will rise in the East in the morning and God is still on his throne.)
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To: oldsicilian

Sand boxes are litter boxes for all sorts of critters.


27 posted on 06/17/2011 5:54:45 PM PDT by Calvin Locke
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To: cripplecreek

Oh yeah, those metal slides! Worse than a black Naugahide seat in a late 60’s car.


28 posted on 06/17/2011 6:06:57 PM PDT by USMCPOP (Father of LCpl. Karl Linn, KIA 1/26/2005 Al Haqlaniyah, Iraq)
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To: FourPeas

Here’s a playground ride that I’ve never seen before that was spun extremely fast. Watch what happens when a boy tries to hold on!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1jixIOBhJU


29 posted on 06/17/2011 6:18:41 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: sodpoodle

Don’t leave us hanging here—WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DOG? Did he drown?


30 posted on 06/17/2011 6:39:46 PM PDT by kitkat ( I sure HOPE that it's time for a CHANGE from Obama.)
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To: Fiji Hill
This is what playground equipment looked like in the past, check out that "slide", and the heights involved, and how everything is designed to get the boys climbing awkwardly OVER that top bar.


31 posted on 06/17/2011 6:40:09 PM PDT by ansel12 (America has close to India population of 1950s, India has 1,200,000,000 people now. Quality of Life?)
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To: Gaffer
The best ones were the long see-saw plank mounted atop a swivel post.....kinda like a kamikaze merry-go-round with a tilt-a-whirl flavor...

Oh my goodness, I was just lurking on this thread thinking about that kind of see-saw. We had one when I was in first grade. I figured nobody would believe such a contraption existed, so I didn't mention it. As I recall no kid ever was badly injured by it, but it sure taught us to be quick, cause if that thing hit you it smarted right much. Still it was my favorite ride on the whole playground.

32 posted on 06/17/2011 6:44:41 PM PDT by WVNan
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To: Fiji Hill

Don’t forget riding bikes and sleds without wearing a dorky helmet......


33 posted on 06/17/2011 7:18:16 PM PDT by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Wanna learn humility? Become a Pittsburgh Pirates fan!)
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To: Fiji Hill

We found a local school playground (Lynnwood, IL) that not only has real see saws, but also a VERY high STRAIGHT sliding board with a nice hot metal surface. We take our kids there regularly. One of these days I’ll pick up a roll of waxed paper (another disappearing piece of Americana) and show’em how to REALLY fly down that sliding board.


34 posted on 06/17/2011 8:00:35 PM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: Fiji Hill
Not that seesaws were a huge challenge, but they did at least require a little leg power and balance.

And let's not forget that they also required... TRUST. Seesaw partners that thought it was funny to leap/slide off causing you to smash to the ground were unwelcome. You always had to be wary for such an occurrence. Part of the challenge.

35 posted on 06/17/2011 9:34:42 PM PDT by MCH
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To: Fiji Hill

I certainly remember seesaws from circa 1960, and they were monsters! Thick planks with a row of “teeth” in the middle, consisting of a pair of racks running along the edges at the center, each with 3 or 5 semicircular fittings that matched the 4” diameter pipe that was the fulcrum. It had a heavy chain slung under the pipe, which kept it confined to the general area. Of course, you were supposed to be able to adjust the fulcrum so a lighter child could seesaw with a heavier child.

At about ten years of age, we were more interested in creative abuse. We used to slam the seesaw to the ground to make it rebound against the chain, in hopes it might break. Also balancing on it like a surf board, leaping off it, etc.

These days it’s hard to even comprehend all that.


36 posted on 06/17/2011 10:38:29 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: Fiji Hill; All

Thanks, Fiji Hill, for posting an item that brought back old memories from my childhood.

Elementary school in the early 1950s included ferocious dodge ball in the gym when it was cold or raining outside. Results = bloody noses and busted lips.

In good weather, it might have been kick ball (not soccer), where the boys were about evenly divided between two sides. There were no position players or goalies. The two sides just ran at one another like a scene out of “Brave Heart”, with boys getting knocked down and bloodied, as each side tried to score a goal.

After school, the gym coach would check out equipment for us to play basketball, baseball or soccer. There was also a very large front lawn area in front of the school and kids (boys and girls) would divide into two groups of about 25 each and play Red Rover. Many prior disputes were addressed during Red Rover, as specific individuals were subjected to punishment in the game and, again, there were bloody noses and lips.

Swings were meant to test one’s guts. We tried to see if we could swing as high as the crossbar and then bail out onto the gravel below (this was to gain status, you know). Monkey bars (not the PC “jungle gyms”) were called that because us little kids climbing around on them resembled the monkies at the zoos. The merry-go-round was our way of getting temporarily “high”, as kids would take turn running as fast as possible to spin the thing and make every kid hanging on as dizzy as possible.

Kids that grew up in that free environment without all of the law suits, political correctness and nanny state BS that exists today GREW UP TOUGH and better suited to deal with adverse conditions than the kids of the past few decades.

Of course, that last paragraph is just my personal opinion.


37 posted on 06/18/2011 1:20:23 AM PDT by octex
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To: kitkat

“SHE” was a rat terrier - scampered up the cliff and stood there smirking at me!!!!! Bee ouch!


38 posted on 06/18/2011 5:35:19 AM PDT by sodpoodle
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To: Fiji Hill

The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.


39 posted on 06/18/2011 8:43:18 AM PDT by jaydee770
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To: jaydee770

MODERATOR, OH MODERATORI!
See deleted post #2
What is different?
Oh well......................


40 posted on 06/18/2011 6:18:13 PM PDT by nkycincinnatikid
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To: nkycincinnatikid

Other than it was on the “Senior banker gunned down in Puerto Rico” thread, of course.
There is that.


41 posted on 06/18/2011 6:22:26 PM PDT by nkycincinnatikid
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To: nkycincinnatikid

You quoted Shakespeare too and it got deleted? Go figure.


42 posted on 06/22/2011 10:43:49 PM PDT by jaydee770
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