“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
I have a bit of a nostalgic dichotomy between Christmas past and Christmas present. At heart, I dream of a cabin in the woods with a wood-burning stove, when you went out and cut your own Christmas tree and decorated it with homemade ornaments and popcorn. They even used candles, which I wouldn’t advise any longer for obvious reasons.
Sports were simpler too. Although surviving a bear attack took top priority, sports and recreation were important aspects of pioneer culture as settlers sought diversion from their toils.
Events like shooting matches, pugilism, and horse and foot races were all examples of activities that could train the young or hone the survival skills of their elders.
Shooting matches were very popular as there were prizes for the top or “crack” shot of the bunch like food, cash, drink and pride. Today we still have turkey shoots where clubs will fire shotguns for best patterns on a target and the winner is awarded a turkey and many variations.
Native Americans played a type of lacrosse and fishing was popular as it provided food plus activity. Now we have many anglers who catch and release the fish back again as we don’t need the food as badly and can buy it prepared.
Now, we have technology and that’s inevitable. I am definitely allured by technology and it has helped in almost every field including medicine, and sports. We’re much more protected now playing contact sports than we used to be.
Then there’s the virtual world of sports where children can play video games that seem almost real, and even with the new 3-D hologram environment up and coming, you can literally fill the shoes of a player on the field whether it be in football or other sport.
I guess I’m caught in the middle. I remember before we had cellphones and computers we relied on the old pay phone and typewriter. We filed real files in cabinets, not electronically. Am I saying that’s better than now? No. Rather I’m taking John Lennon’s song to heart, “I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round.”
As a sports writer, I can see how technology can disseminate information much faster today with Twitter and news online. I still find folks who like to have the feel of a book in their hand, rather than a Kindle let’s say. I use the Kindle since it’s a lot easier to carry 20 books around in it, another advantage to technology, if the juice holds out that is.
I’ll leave you with another Charles Dickens quote:
“God bless us, every one!”