The games people play now

Amherst Daily News
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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.

Game on.

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Enfield, Montreal

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Recent comments

  • CJ
    April 15, 2010 - 11:29

    I think that this has nothing to do with the high school, and everything to do with people over reacting, the high school bust was a good thing in my books, kids have been doing it right out in the front, I live near and I see what is going on, and hoping my children when getting to that school is not one of them. These were teenagers showing attitude and don't care what other younger children see when going by. The police were doing their jobs, that is what they get paid for and I am glad to see something is being done.

  • Panic Button
    April 14, 2010 - 14:28

    CJ ---- Can't you see the local simalarities though ? Grumpy complainers to Police who over react . Other grumpy citizens ready to quote the law to kids , throw the book at them . Thems the laws and you gotta pay the price !! attitudes towards youth . Aren't there more serious ,unsolved,unattended law infractions by all ages that these grumps could work at reporting ? It is clear that both area's law enforcement need some training on how to handle complaints from complainers complaining about kids .

  • CJ
    April 14, 2010 - 13:36

    Panic Button, this isn't about the high school.

  • Panic Button
    April 14, 2010 - 11:54

    My sentiments exactly , well written and right on . Mr Estrbrooks was correct to speak up for the kids . As a member of cabinet he has a right to have an opinion . I lived on the Lower Mainland of BC . Street hockey goes on there full blast year round . Yes is gets noisy,disruptive and rules are broken but the kids love it and it is free exercise and entertainment for them . It has gone on for generations . Don't the police here in NS have any common sense left that they listen to a couple out of touch grouchy complainers and go out and bust a kids street hockey game and some kids in a school parking lot . They afterwards highlight their stupidity by having a press conference to announce thay might lay charges against the kids . What are these off the rails law enforcement types looking for ? Parents to plead ,please Mr Policeman don't charge my kid and ruin his life due to some grouch's petty complaint ! Nova Scotia has some serious crime problems but we get stuff like this . The few criminals intelligent enough to read must be laughing .

  • CJ
    April 14, 2010 - 11:37

    I for one believe that it gets kids out of the house, being a mother of a child that plays street hockey am shocked that you would want to tell kids they cannot play. The fact that they are out in the fresh air playing a game they love and getting that much needed exercise (since everyone is complaining of all the obese kids these days playing too many video games) is great and to hear a child laugh is better than hearing nothing. Where would all the great hockey players of today be if not for being allowed to play when they wanted, as long as the kids move when vehicles are approaching then there should not be a problem. Kids need an outlet, you take that away and they will find one that people hate even more. We encourage kids to exercise and to have fun, take their fun and then what, kids are growing up to fast today as it is. Yeah the RCMP was doing their job and that is great, but let the kids that don't get into trouble and are having fun stay that way. Let the kids play!!!!

  • peter
    April 14, 2010 - 09:30

    I disagree with the opinions of this writer, as well as the opinions of Mr. Estabrooks. The RCMP member was called as a street was being blocked. He was doing his job, under the Motor Vehicle act, that he was hired to do. A provincial politician has no business being critical of a police officer who was called to a complaint by a member of the public which he serves. Perhaps in by gone days kids playing road hockey were different. They would move for cars. Today, however, you do not know when or if they will let you by, and then you risk having your car swarmed. I have an idea, let them play in the parking lot of the Amherst Stadium or the town hall, or better yet, have them play out in front of Mr. Estabrooks's house, blocking his street so cars cannot get by.

  • JR
    April 14, 2010 - 08:55

    I am all for the kids getting the exercise and also becoming involved in sporting events. As we all know, palying teams sports on helps build character. If it is not in a high traffic area, then why should people make such a fuss over it. Would they rather the kids go out and vandalize something instead? Boy I remember when I was growing up and street hockey took up a huge part of my spare time. May the people complaining are jealous that they weren/t picked for the teams. I say again, let the kids play!