09 September 2010


Watching Gareth Malone's Extraordinary School for Boys on BBC2 tonight, I am reminded of the disgrace that has seen British Bulldog banned by an increasing number of schools (or 'female head teachers') in recent years

For those who don't know, Bulldog is a game where you have to run from one side of the playground to the other without being tagged by the 'bulldogs' who roam the middle, played in primary schools it's pretty harmless, played by adults it's bloody deadly

Fear of injuries (or lawsuits) abound, and in recent years it has been banned by a lot of schools, primary school was less than twenty years ago for me - it was our favourite past-time back then and now it seems to be behind a locked door marked 'dangerous'

Yet, there is scant evidence of costly legal action by opportunist parents and injuries are probably no rarer than in rugby or football - playing on asphalt or concrete, as you do, is where most of the issues arise, if it was played with a bit of supervision on grass it would be as safe as houses

And yet, primary schools, now mostly run by women, elect to outright ban the game I and my fellow boys have played for decades in modern schools rather than introduce a few basic rules

They are denying these boys a rite of passage, and no doubt it's worsening their physical state by banning effectively the only team game they've got without a ball

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