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Analysis: Playgrounds without swings just aren’t playgrounds

National Post article 30-May-2013 [9359]


By: Joe O'Connor

The game was simple. You picked a swing. Mine was usually the third one in from the fence line at Rosedale Park playground. Then you swung as high as you could, as high as you dared, pumping your legs, pushing and pulling with your arms, watching the ground drop away and feeling your stomach drop away just a little bit, too.

Then you jumped, jumped off and jumped out as far as you could before landing in a tangle and drawing a line in the sand to mark the spot. Farthest jump won. There were other playground attractions at Rosedale Park: green and yellow teeter-totters (ideal for bumping your pal to the sand); a wading pool (for splash fights); monkey bars (for chin-up contests) and the dizzying entertainment of the push-it-yourself-merry-go-round (two pushed and one crouched in the middle, getting woozy).

But the swings, the swings were king, the purest symbol of playground freedom. They were the closest a kid could get to flying. And now they are gone, or going, and have been for years, disappearing two-by-two from North American parks and schoolyards.

Reduced in number. Reduced in height. Reduced in fun/fear factor.

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