November 09, 2010

Play Haters! Apple-bobbing banned in UK

Play HaterHysteria trumps common sense, yet again. Kids in Manchester, United Kingdom may never know the thrill of dunking their faces in a bucket full of cold water to snag a piece of fall fruit. That’s because the 2,000-year-old tradition of bobbing for apples has been banned over fears of germs.

Public health consultant Kevin Perrett told the Manchester Evening News, "We are not aware of any specific infection risks associated with apple-bobbing, or of any expert advice that this sort of activity is unsafe.” The apple-bobbing ban is just another example of worst-case thinking—that is, imagining the worst possible outcome, whether or not it has any basis in reality.

At Manchester’s recent annual “Apple Day,” kids could still try their hand at fishing an apple from a bucket of water… using chopsticks. The new twist on the classic game actually made it “more difficult,” organizer Geoff Bridson pointed out. While we love to see kids challenging themselves, we also hate to see another sacred tradition fall by the wayside because of unfounded fears.

As we continue to senselessly sterilize our children’s play environments, we send the message that everything is dangerous and out to hurt them. Do we want to raise a generation of independent, creative thinkers or a generation of wimps?

Bobbing for apples
Will this child catch an apple or a debilitating infectious disease?! Photo by GetHiroshima (cc).

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