Tag, catch, and other unnatural acts at recess (circa 2014)

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


This commentary details a news event in which Carrie Weber Middle School in Port Washington, NY, supposedly banned students from using balls, playing tag, and doing cartwheels during recess. Public reaction in the form of news items, tweets, blogs, and commentary is sampled, and news releases from the Weber Middle School that were barely covered by the media and explain their decision to ban hardballs from 20-min recess are brought to light. The commentary then goes on to argue that such trending news events can be interpreted in terms of complex cultural histories, including in the case of Weber Middle School, much intellectual thought pioneered by human movement scholarship. Ideas about social nostalgia and memory, play, hegemony, invention of tradition, and cultural context are overviewed in light of their use in human movement studies and in interpreting the Weber Middle School issue. It is argued that current issues and initiatives surrounding obesity and sport for peace and development are, like the trending Weber Middle School news, sometimes not mapped or critiqued (terms coined by Markula-Denison and Silk in 2011) in the profound ways that cultural studies urge. The commentary ends in a call to scholars and practitioners of human movement studies for self-reflexivity and purposeful awareness of changing social definitions of the "unnatural."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2014


  • Context
  • Cultural studies
  • Physical education
  • Play

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Nephrology


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