Whether you are from the Baby Boom Generation, Generation X or Y we’ve heard from parents tell us stories about how their lives were so much tougher than ours because they had to walk to school uphill both ways in five inches of snow. There are some major differences between each generation and society has definitely played a part in these changes. However, to me each of these eras share a similar title that is sadly becoming extinct.
As a person from Generation X, I recall playing in the streets from dusk till dawn; well actually till the street light came on. I remember making up games and spending all the summer months with friends causing enough havoc to keep us out of big trouble. We even had playtime at school three times a day which gave us the opportunity to play football (soccer) with about 15 people on each side with a ball from Woolworths which cost less than a pound. These days are gone, but I can guarantee most people reading this will be reminiscing about your own childhood memories and realizing that you are part of this multi generation that has since died.
Unfortunately the generation of the Sandlot Kids may be a thing of the past and we can now only moan to our children that their lives are so much easier than ours. The question that can be raised is are we a culprit for causing these great times to no longer exist?
Some people blame technology and video games, but people from the Baby Boom era had televisions and those of Generation X were the proud owner’s to some of the first game consoles. Others say that the world and especially the neighborhoods we reside in are not as safe as they were 15 plus years ago. To some degree I can understand that argument but there have always been predators in our towns. Having grown up a country which seemed to have a terrorist attack every week, I don’t recall my parents ever having a problem letting me go down to the park to put our jumpers down for goal posts and playing a game with whoever showed up.
Why is the Sandlot Kid generation a cause of our own death? Maybe we simply forgot what it was like to be a kid. I look at the play life of today’s children and I see a schedule that is as busy as an adults work life.
Monday = Soccer
Tuesday = Baseball
Wednesday = Soccer
Thursday = Swimming
Friday = Basketball
Saturday = Basketball & Baseball
Sunday = Soccer
We are also missing school, homework, visiting grandparents, church and being a kid. The Sandlot Generation may be a thing of the past which has been lost by those that lived it because it does not always suit the schedule of an adult. If we are not willing to allow our children to be young, care free and play in the streets because some sporting organization is scheduling playtime for them, then let’s not become a generation that moans that our future is full of people unable to solve problems and expects everything to be done for them.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with some structured play. After all I need to keep my job, but let’s see if we can evolve to where at least kids spend a couple of hours each week playing outside in unstructured environments! Then perhaps you may see more success when they do go to participate in organized sports.