British Bulldogs

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British Bulldogs

British Bulldogs

British Bulldogs is a kind of 'super tig' that typically involves the use of a whole playground, and the participation of dozens of children. Due to its boisterously competitive nature, it is one of a raft of games that seems to attract censorious comments from school officials and has been banned from many schools (according to legend at least). The banning of British Bulldogs is - like that of Conkers - often seen as totemic of political correctness or "health and safety gone mad." 

The game itself is simple, mindless fun. The child who is "it" stands alone in the middle of the playground. Against the wall or fence of one end of the playground are the rest of the players, who must remain still with their hands against the wall. When "it" is ready, they shout "British Bulldogs!"

At this point, all the children must try to reach the opposite end of the playground without being touched by "it." If they are touched then they too become "it". On each pass, more players are tigged until just one remains. In the next round of the game, they naturally become the first "it."

With such a rush of kids, it is little wonder that children can be injured playing the game - with anything from scuffed knees and elbows to broken limbs within the obvious ambit of potential hazards. It is for this reason that it still occasionally makes the headlines.

In 2009, Firrhill School in Scotland issued a bulletin via their website from Deputy Head Nick McClellan, telling parents and pupils in no uncertain terms that British Bulldogs was not permitted within the school:

"Please note that taking part in physical games such as wrestling or British Bulldogs is not allowed in the school grounds at breaks and lunchtimes. On health and safety grounds there is a significant risk of injury to pupils and these types of games are therefore unacceptable in school."

A local councillor told reporters:

"This is a game that I played when I was at school and the fact that itís still going strong shows it does have a real appeal. Clearly we have to take health and safety considerations into account but we have to be a lot more imaginative and canít simply ban anything that has a bit of risk attached to it, as thatís part of growing up."

Meanwhile, other voices rose in support of the ban - and were given a fillip for their point of view when a girl died during a game in November 2013. Eight year old Freya James was accidentally killed when she was knocked into an ornamental feature by another player during a game of British Bulldogs. Her father called for "a more widespread ban" on the game. 

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 27th November 2014 | © Weird Island 2010-2018
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