Monday, January 26, 2015


Letter to the editor: Let us skate, and leave us alone, please

Monday, January 26, 2015 - 8:29 am
The warning bells ringing with the closing of city ponds to ice skating are earsplitting. I cannot imagine a more tone-deaf decision by the city government than this one. Our cultural obsession with safety has numbed our brains — it is hard to choose where to begin. Let’s start with a lofty value first:
• Personal liberty: Since when, in America, are we subjected to the wishes of bureaucrats smugly telling us why we can’t skate on the ice of ponds that belong to us? Ponds in parks handed down to us by our fathers — shame on you! Don’t forget that you work for us. If you think it’s unsafe to skate, don’t skate! Which do you think has historically caused more fatalities for innocent townspeople: overbearing, tyrannical governments or skating on thin ice?
• Police resources: It is unconscionable to threaten the law-abiding, old-fashioned, fun-seeking people of Fort Wayne with police action if they skate on a pond. I could imagine a world in which a cop would get out of the car and play goalie for the neighborhood kids for a few minutes.
• Fitness revolution: Wake up, Parks Department! The trend is toward more outdoor physical activities, not less. Walking to your neighborhood park for fun exercise seems to fit right in.
• Hockey town: Fort Wayne is a hockey town. The Komets are the envy of the minor league sports world. Hockey is, unfortunately, an expensive sport, but when there is a chance get out on ice for free or to just see a friendly pickup game going on in your neighborhood, it helps you tap into the spirit of the city itself.
I have skated many times at the Headwaters rink, and it is a valuable attraction, but it is not organic, free, outdoor, neighborhood fun. Organized, supervised activities are a good start, but the genuine fun of all the athletics, for me, is unmonitored, organic games and matches among friends. Parks Department: Thanks for all your hard work with dwindling budgets to give us great parks and greenways, but please abandon this hair-brained intrusion and chill out (pun intended), or save us, City Council!
Pass a measure striking down this tyranny and instruct our lost administration to put up “skate at your own risk” signs on our ponds and leave us alone.
Eric Fisher


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JANUARY 26 2015 10:31 AM
Eric, I agree with you wholeheartedly! People should be allowed to skate on the ponds if they so desire. However, we mustn't forget that there are injury lawyers just waiting for some poor kid to fall through that ice so he can make a bundle by suing the city for negligence. If society participated in activities with the understanding that "if I get hurt, it's my fault", then we would have more liberties with public facilities. Until the litigious society that we live in subsides, we will have more and more of our liberties restricted.

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