For those of you above the 35º N latitudinal line, you may have noticed that the ground is starting to thaw and the days are getting longer, which means it’s nearly time to move all those fun family activities outdoors.
But, there’s one game you probably won’t be playing this spring or summer, and likely haven’t played in its true form since 1988 …
Jarts, otherwise known as lawn darts (or yard darts), is a game wherein large, weighted darts are thrown into the air in an arc so as to land in a designated circle some distance away. The game was banned – yeah, <em>banned</em> – in the U.S. in the late 80s because a handful of presumably inebriated people failed to read the part of the instructions that explained that they are HUGE, SHARP DARTS.
Now we have “bags,” <a title="Cornhole Sets" href="http://www.atgstores.com/Toss%20Games_2380.html?option0=201301|13153" target="_blank">a beanbag yard game</a> unceremoniously referred to as Cornhole in various parts of the country that has filled the sad vacuum left by the Jarts ban. And, there’s also a soft-tipped version of Jarts for people who are less emotionally scarred by the wanton abuse of power displayed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission on that cold day in December of ’88.
But, this is not an indictment of the game of bags or any other <a title="Yard Games" href="http://www.atgstores.com/Toss%20Games_2380.html" target="_blank">outdoor toss game</a>. Bags has its place and is arguably even more versatile than Jarts in that it can be played on concrete, in the street or even in the home thanks to its lack of pointy steel parts.
Even so, it’s hard to believe that Jarts wasn't unfairly singled out by the CPSC, a game that notably did not have a powerful lobbying effort behind it like the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association – as if throwing a <a title="Horseshoe Game Sets" href="http://www.atgstores.com/toss-games_2380.html?option0=201302|13153&page=1" target="_blank">horseshoe</a> through the air is any less dangerous!
The good news for die-hard Jarts purists is that they can still buy the parts for Jarts and assemble them for use, because it’s not illegal to <em>own</em> them – just to <em>sell</em> them. Of course, this raises all kinds of questions about the safety of a homemade Jart and whether the solution was worse than the problem …
In the end, however, we remain neutral in the Jarts debate and hope all of your spring and summertime lawn games are enjoyed safely (and on the right side of the law).