the fun police? or just ignorant to the situation

flashback to college... the mid to late '80's...

when I was in college we played a fair amount of "hacky sack"

not sure if it is as popular for college folk now as it was then... but it was a fairly common practice
the game was popular... and not just with the patchouli scented hippies
lots of people played hacky sack... it was social and it was fun

sort of a passive activity

there was a circle of grassless earth that was the "hack circle"
it was a spot right in front of my dorm... within sight of the other dorms on the hill
in between class... instead of class... before heading down to the mess hall for meals... when the dorms were vacated because of the pulling of the fire alarm... whatever... whenever... people informally gathered for hacky sack

this was the spot... well... one of the spots... people could play anywhere... that is the beauty of hacky sack... but somehow this location became a popular spot for the hack circle
there was never any talk from the administration
there was never any discussion about how the administration felt about the informal meeting to play hacky sack in this area
just one day there was a very large tree placed in the spot where people played hacky sack

was that intentional?
was this an effort to stop the playing of hacky sack out front of Dorchester Hall?
or were they just trying to beautify the space
trying to put life where it appeared no grass would grow?

sadly... I fear that this was the action of "the fun police"
my guess... the administration wanted to stop this behavior
or at least... they wanted to inhibit the behavior... they did not want this behavior front and center
more than likely... they did not care for how it looked

ignorant to the activity going on in this area?
being obnoxious assholes trying to alter the behavior?

not sure of the intention... all I know is that the was a spot where people played hacky sack... and then there was this massive tree in that spot so no one could hack there

I can not recall... someone may have chopped that tree down

it would seem out of character for a potential "tree hugger" to cut down a tree
but... rebellion and standing up to "the man" is also part of the "hippie identity"
either way... no matter how it played out
I feel it was handled poorly

this plot of land... this little park with its sidewalk and its benches
this was a social place
people met and hung out in this spot
it was not uncommon for there to be a group of guys with lacrosse sticks in hand sending lacrosse balls zippiing around... definitely more of a risk to person or personal property with the lacrosse ball than the hacky sack... but nothing was done to inhibit this behavior

that was long ago... so long ago that the memory does not effect my heart rate
but... that episode did not happen without notice
that placement of the tree conscious or not acted to develop my perception of the world around me


last week I was on a road ride in Rock Creek Park
as I got out of the saddle and climbed that short but sweet hill on Ross Drive I noticed the placement of some trees on the hill
there were three trees placed at the top of the hill where people sled
three trees that would impact the fun that sledders have at this spot
because now their sledding hill is shorter
shorter... and perhaps less fun

shorter would also mean... less speed can be achieved... and maybe less risk of danger

did the National Park Service intentionally place these trees here to put an end to the fun on this sledding hill?
if so... why is this activity being shut down rather than embraced?

then on Sunday when riding our bikes back from the Caribbean Carnival we stopped in Malcolm X Park
actually... we stopped in Malcolm X Park on the way there and on the way back
on one of these stops I noticed the placement of a tree
a young tree was placed right between two other trees
the same trees that people used for their "slack line" on days when people gathered with for the "drum circles"

again... intentional?
is this an effort to inhibit the park users from setting up their "slack line"
is that an effort to keep people from sledding?
was that an effort to stop people from playing hacky sack?

so often the police work to "protect us from ourselves"
other times... they just want to inhibit behavior that they do not approve of

slack lines... rope swings... sure there are some potential dangers... and well... there may be some slight impact to the trees
but really... these are the things that trees have endured for all time
children climbing on them
ropes being slung on them
and as far as protecting us from ourselves... controlling car traffic could protect more lives than inhibiting sledding and slack lines


enough on this...
need to move forward with the day

No comments: