I love the beach: Running, biking, swimming, sitting, sleeping there, is Metta (beyond) Therapeutic (shout out to my boy Metta World Peace). The soft sand when it falls between your toes, the sound of the waves, the caress of the ocean, the colors of the sunset, are all purely amazing.
The two combined are just too high above sublimity to describe.
So you can imagine how much steam spouted from my ears when my friend posted a Yahoo article on my Facebook wall titled “LA County OKs $1,000 Fine For Throwing Football, Frisbee On Beaches.”
I would have to win the lottery if I ever got fined for every time I have fun on the beach.
You can also imagine how thrilled I was when I found an update later on an online Reuters article titled “Frisbee beach ban overblown, Los Angeles.” Apparently, the change everyone had been freaking out about had been blown out of proportion. According to the article, “the county had only eased restrictions that have been in place for more than 40 years and carry a much lesser fine of $100.”
While this was a bit of a relief, even so, I couldn’t help but think “Why are we being fined for having fun?”
In addition to that first $100 fine, the articles mentioned that the price shoots up to $200 for the second violation within one year, and a $500 fine for each additional violation.
Excuse my language, but what is this shit? The prices for any of these violations are ridiculous, and the price of the third offense exceeds even most traffic and parking violation prices. While beach denizens are still allowed to throw footballs and Frisbees in designated areas or with permission (one article on the subject mentioned needing to buy permits), I don’t understand why we have to do this. I’m not too savvy about the other regulations concerning other public places, but I’m pretty sure that these kinds of fines and violations are unheard of at public parks, and I feel like a beach should be as free and recreational as any other public place. How is a beach any different? Will I have to buy a permit soon to ride my bike on the beach or get a permit for enjoying a sunset?
As an LA County resident and a lover of our beaches, I would be much more concerned with the safety and cleanliness of our beaches. If you have seen the aesthetics of some LA beaches, you would know what I mean. There are plenty of other issues that could be addressed as well.
The fines and restrictions make sense to an extent; the article mentions that people’s safety is at risk. I can totally imagine a blasted soccer ball or football doing some damage. And if volleyball has to be designated to a court, then I guess it’s all right if soccer games and football games should be designated to certain areas.
What I feared most is that fines like this could end up becoming something that consumes our world. If we are being fined for throwing Frisbees, what’s next? Fining us for sitting on the grass? For walking? Breathing too loud?
There are three upsides to this though. For one, volleyball is still allowed to be played on the beach, so thankfully some sort of sport can still be put to recreational use on the beach. Secondly, apparently the rules for ball-playing will be “relaxed” during winter months, which is just fantastic because we all know how much people want to go to the beach during the winter months here in Southern California.
Fortunately, the third and final part, which excites me the most, is that water polo will be allowed to be played over the Pacific Ocean. At least we will have that.
Sam Barke is a third-year literary journalism major. He can be reached at email@example.com.