Thankfully someone with a public podium has spoken out against the fuss some squeaky wheels are making about street hockey.
The province’s transportation minister, Bill Estabrooks, was responding to a report that an RCMP officer was called to a neighbourhood in Enfield, after a complaint, to interrupt a ball hockey game in session.
For starters, Estabrooks said, the police really have better things to do than to follow up on such frivolous complaints.
But he also rightly described the activity as a tradition in this country, a part of growing up and part of the right of being on your own street. Thank you, Mr. Minister, for providing a common sense perspective on what shouldn’t be an issue.
Yet it has come to the point where municipal councils are considering bylaws to ban such activity. In fact, in a highly publicized recent case, a father in a Montreal suburb participating in a game with his kids, drew a $75 fine which he intended to fight.
On the one hand, people make the grim observation that youngsters spend too much time in front of television and computer screens and don’t get outside for play, exercise and plain old-fashioned horsing around. It’s come to the point that it’s a huge health concern facing future generations.
Playing in a dangerous spot would be one thing, in which case a suggestion to move to a less busy area would be in order. But some of the complaints focus on the noise. That’d be the sad day we decide young people shouldn’t play boisterous games outside their own doors.
Those with complaints suggest they take their sports matches to a local recreation field. Those aren’t always available, though, nor are organized sporting activities. Plus, youths who want to burn some energy don’t need to be organized every step of the way. There’s nothing that beats spontaneity to spur daily exercise.
Let the kids play, and for that matter, let’s be glad when they are playing.