Saturday, May 15, 2010

Perils of the Playground

When I was in elementary school, our playground was not like the ones now.  There was nothing made of plastic, nothing covered in tires to protect you, nothing low to the ground so you wouldn't fall.  Our playground was a death trap and we loved every second of it.

We had monkey bars of pure steel.  The entire structure was about 6 feet tall.  It had two bars at various heights akin to the ones used by gymnasts.  Across the top stretched a horizontal ladder connecting the structure and lower bars ran perpendicular along the bottom to allow for stability and other roughhousing.

I used the gymnast bars as they were intended.  I crawled up the side of the iron beast, swung my right leg over the bar, snugged it into my knee pit, and -- swinging myself back and forth for momentum, I started to spin.  And spin and spin and spin.  I could do up to 12 spins without stopping to push off or rocking again.

I loved those bars.  I had blisters upon callouses along my hands, but I earned them so it was okay.  Sometimes I used the gravel dust to help prevent slippage, so I was a real pro.

Another favourite play structure was the round monkey bars.  The top looked like a horizontal ladder wrapped back into itself and stood about 6 feet in the air.  We would spend our recesses playing a game we liked to call "Sudden Death".  Duh duh duh.  As many of us as would fit on the structure sat in a circle.  We put our legs towards the middle so the soles of our feet touched in the centre.  Then, we dared a friend to climb in.  The friend would sit on the feet of our classmates until we all yelled "NOW!"

Then we dropped our feet and the middle person plummeted to their death  to the ground where they landed like cats. 

We were awesome.

Then, there were the swings.  Ah, the swings of DEATH.  The swings were actually quite normal -- metal chains strung up between giant metal A frames -- we just made them into death traps.  We would sit on the swings and twirl.  Round and round, we would twirl until the chain could not wrap around itself any longer.  Then, a friend would push us front to back as hard as they could and let go.

The person on the swing would unravel rapidly, flying through the air towards the metal posts.  It was awesome and dangerous and SO MUCH FUN.  The person on the swing would have to watch carefully so as to not hit the bars directly, but instead push off with their feet or throw themselves out of the way if they came too close to cracking something important on steel.

We had many sprained ankles and bumped skulls when we were little.

It explains a lot about us as adults.


  1. Which school was it that they finally took out the "merry-go-round" because the janitor was tired of cleaning up barf after every recess?

  2. Classic playground fun. My elementary school removed a contraption because we kids kept bruising our tailbones on it.


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