Hope none of their parents are attorneys
This is a very early strip from "Cleats," which is one of my favorites. Bill Hinds, the artist-half of "Tank McNamara" and creator of "Buzz Beamer," a strip in Sports Illustrated Jr., is artist and writer on this one, which is about kids in rec sports. (A very early strip indeed, come to think of it. Visit the Cleats site for a look at how a strip evolves -- or is intelligently redesigned -- over five years or so.)
But this particular strip was the one that made me a Cleats fan -- it touched on an exposed nerve.
I keep waiting for some town attorney to pipe up at a meeting some time and say, "Do you know how much trouble we'd be in, if some kid got hurt doing this, and we issued the permit for it?"
And yet every summer, you've got the sports teams out at intersections in towns that aren't nearly as small as they used to be, panhandling for spare change from passing cars. Granted, the kids aren't often this young, but it's still an awfully foolish and annoying thing to do.
I don't have the same feeling about "boot drives," where the local volunteer fire department asks for contributions. I figure, if I'm ever driving through that town and end up in a ditch, those are the guys who will come get me out -- either as firefighters if it's serious or, if it's not, just as friendly guys who happened to come by.
But it's been a long time since I've had the kind of travel emergency that required me to attend a rec league game.
I also have no problem with the kids jumping up and down on street corners, waving signs beckoning me into the car wash. That's my choice, and if I've got a couple of bucks and dusty car, I'll succumb once in awhile.
But that's a far cry from "aggressive panhandling," which is what they call it when someone without a permit starts walking up to cars at stoplights and asking for change.
I believe in youth sports. But dodging traffic shouldn't be one of them.