Friday, May 23, 2008

Getting on my soap box

This gradual evolution of organized sports into glorified games of patty-cake has to end.

In a District All-Star game when I was 14 years old, I watched the center fielder for the opposing team drift towards the fence tracking a towering fly ball, turn back at the last minute, and smash choppers first into a metal fence. There was nothing anyone could do to avoid that situation. There will always be danger involved in sports, whether it's with an aluminum bat, wooden bat, or a swimming noodle.

At least some people understand that games and competition are important to young adults.

This year marks the 52nd anniversary of the Bucks County, Pa Soap Box Derby.

I am sure there are rules and regulations and safety precautions involved, but at its core is kids in a box on wheels racing down steep hills at decent rates of speed.

It's just a lot of fun for everyone involved,” spokesman Ed Preston said. “It's a great way to spend so much time with your kids and it's so enjoyable.”

Isn't that what sports are about? Kids having fun?

All sports involve some level of danger. Kids will get hurt. You can only teach proper safety and technique and hope for the best outcome. The more you change the rules, take away the competition, and litter the field with pillows and packing peanuts for optimal safety conditions, the more it will turn them off sports. And doesn't anyone ever notice the most popular sports video games are the ones that would involve the most danger in real life? That can't be coincidence.

Good luck and safe racing to all the competitors this weekend. Just a word of warning to the kids involved though; don't take any unneccesary risks and for God's sake don't make it seem like you are having too much fun. Someone will catch wind of it and next year you'll be sitting on a stool in the street and imagining yourself racing.

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