When learning a new sport, most of us don’t turn to postage stamps for advice on how to do it safely. And yet the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition seems to think we do. The United States Postal Service is destroying an entire series of stamps that were created in honor of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to combat obesity because three of the fifteen activities depicted in the stamps have been deemed dangerous.
“Three of the stamps in the fifteen stamp series raised safety concerns among sports figures on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. The stamps in question depicted children performing a cannonball dive, skateboarding without kneepads, and doing a headstand without a helmet. The unsafe depictions came to light after USPS Marketing chief Nagisa Manabe asked Michelle Obama to take part in a first day ceremony for the stamps. That was apparently the first time the stamps had been reviewed by the Sports Council.”
Oh, and the baseball player doesn’t have a helmet, either. Imagine that!
It’s funny that a cartoon figure on a postage stamp – which most kids rarely see anymore – is posing such a threat. We’ve reached a point in this society where paranoid bubble wrapping is turning our kids into a generation of couch potatoes whose natural inclination to explore and take moderate risks is being stifled by parents who are terrified of a few scrapes and bruises. The irony, of course, is that the long-term physical damage caused by doing nothing (and eating unhealthy food) is potentially far greater than the incidence of injury from playing active sports.
I think the “Just Move” stamp collection is pretty cute and agree with the USPS’s description from last January, before it blew up: “The action words on the stamps invite children to participate in all the activities shown and remind us all that children and adults need regular physical activity. Artist Eli Noyes’s illustrations wonderfully capture the fun and playful spirit of this message.”
It’s too bad the Sports Council is overreacting and focusing on something as trivial as this. Dare I say that the bigger problem is that kids today aren’t doing enough cannonballs and cartwheels?