Home > fatherhood, Parenting, sports > The Worst Rule Ever (and 9 reasons why)

The Worst Rule Ever (and 9 reasons why)

Some parents have a dreaded rule forbidding their kids to play ball in the house. In some ways it makes sense, but let me explain why “No playing ball in the house” is actually the worst rule ever.

1. It’s going to happen anyway. Sportscenter legend Dan Patrick has a catch phrase that goes “You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.” The same is true when you have sports-loving kid. They’re going to find ways to play ball in the house, and times to do it when you’re not looking. So instead of banning the fun, you may as well just try to set some reasonable guidelines, such as limiting it to a certain area of the home, not playing too rough, and not using balls that are too hard.

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Our indoor baseball field, complete with bases and a batter’s box.

2. Things are going to get broken anyway. I’m guessing that one of the motives behind parents legislating the “no playing ball in the house” rule is that they don’t want things to get broken. That’s fine in theory, but in reality, while I don’t have hard evidence that there isn’t a kid alive who has never broken anything, I’m going with the educated guess that most kids have broken stuff, regardless if indoor ball playing was involved or not.

3. Kids are going to get hurt anyway. While we never want catastrophic injuries, kids get hurt. Whether it’s purely accidental, such as falling down the stairs, or self-inflicted, such as trying to jump off the back of the couch and landing wrong, kids bang things and scrape things. I’d argue the potential for major injury is greater while playing outside as opposed to inside.

4. Playing outside is awesome, but not always possible or practical. We just had the clocks shift back an hour, which means that by the time we all get home from work and school, it’s already dark, and depending where you live, cold. Kids still need/want to be active. Plus, being able to play indoors allows things like the quick 5 minute game before dinner to happen, whereas if it was outside only, they’d have to start in with tying shoes, putting on jackets, etc. and it would be time to come in before they ever got a chance to actually play.

5. Playing ballgames in the house sparks creativity. While I wholeheartedly respect houses with built-in gymnasiums, let’s face the fact that they’re only a fantasy for those of us in the 99%. So instead, kids are limited to smaller areas and have to be more creative and think outside the box when it comes to rules and boundaries. Household items enter the mix, like when laundry baskets get placed on their side to become goals, or clothing items become bases. Pseudo-sports such as “hall ball” or “balloon tennis” (both made up by my brother and I when we were kids) become realities.

6. Speaking of creativity, there’s nothing like indoor games of Nerf basketball H.O.R.S.E. Those of us who are old enough remember that classic McDonalds commercial where Larry Bird and Michael Jordan play horse and create shots over the rafters, off the scoreboard, etc. With nerf basketball, shots like “off the wall, off the ceiling, swish” are tricky, but entirely possible.

7. Playing and watching can happen simultaneously. Having just turned four, two things are true for my son: he learns by observing, and he doesn’t always have the ability to just sit and watch the game. No problem. If he sees a cool play in a football game, he doesn’t have to wait until he goes outside to mimic it. Also, playing indoor sports games is a great way to kill time during halftimes and intermissions of games on TV. Sometimes worlds collide, such as when I get named the Alabama Bruins on a Saturday in which college football and hockey are both on the agenda, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

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Floor hockey. Because the set only came with one goal, the other goal (not pictured) is a similarly sized cardboard box.

8. Playing ball in the house is a natural dad/kid activity. Of course, as dads we can always find different ways to spend time and do things with our kids, but for a sports-loving family, why eliminate something that’s so squarely in our wheelhouse?

9. IT’S FUN! I’m sure some of the “no ball in the house” legislators reading this are thinking of other things that might be fun, but not things they would let their kids do. I have my list also, for example I don’t let my four year old drive my car or paint on the walls, despite how strong his desire to do so might be. But as long as there are a few proper guidelines, indoor sports is not one of those things. So don’t be that parent who enforces the worst rule ever. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go play a quick game of floor hockey with my son. The Alabama Bruins need a win to remain competitive in their division.

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  1. November 15, 2014 at 1:19 am

    Nerf paintball (sans paint) is also pretty epic! 🙂

    • November 15, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      Sounds like fun. Nerf deserves a lot of credit for being frontrunners in supplying us indoor sports lovers with products to use.

  2. December 31, 2014 at 11:12 am

    My family went almost 6 years without anything getting broken in our house. Unfortunately, the TV got hit with a Wii remote this year, so we’re still on alert. But I do enjoy some light sports in the house – kicking one of the lighter balls in the hallway, throwing paper airplanes, NERF basketball in the hall…stuff like that.

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