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Cul de sac of Illusion

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Residential cul de sac in Massachusetts by Nick Allen via Wikimedia Commons
Residential cul de sac in Massachusetts by Nick Allen via Wikimedia Commons

A generally popular sports commentator person with generally popular ideas recently commented, somewhat offhandedly, that people should not pay any attention to young people of the next generation because “nobody understands them anyway.” As in, perhaps more precisely, that he doesn’t understand the next generation. Or, perhaps even more precisely still, he doesn’t understand some of the things that some of the kids who are growing up among the next generation do – sometimes.

We all know, though, that as a society, not just in America, but, all over the world – we are more attentive to the whims and wails, the nods and needs, and the shivers and shakes, of our youth – more than any other generation EVER before – in the history of time! We have become a kid-centered globe!

But that sports commentator guy made his initially broad and sweeping generalization to boost his brand. He’s a popular sports TV personality, and he gains affection from fans by emphasizing that he is old. That he sleeps a lot. And that he goes to bed very early. Do all old people do that? Surely so. They’re old. They have to, yeah?

Surely not. So – maybe a better question is, when should a person start trying to charm the youth generation and/or their colleagues with self-deprecation that includes poignantly timed reminders of one’s age?

Nah. Don’t even go there.

Where my thoughts did go – at the time of the comment about nobody understanding the next generation, was to the idea that……….every generation is faced with challenges, and each generation with new sets of challenges. And – those challenges have largely been created by the mistakes of previous generations.

Oh, man! That seems awful!! Isn’t there any better way to think about all that!!?!!??

Well – let’s try this – put another way, every generation gets their chance to change the world.

Awww. Better now. I like that. You like that?

But wait – Is it the job of the older generations to understand the youth generations?

Hmmm. Is that even possible, really? Perhaps not. Parents? Do tell…

Wow! Lots of work, huh. Full commitment.

But – here’s the thing – What if nobody wants to do any work? Nobody wants to face any challenges. There’s just too much bad going on in the world. We can’t change it!! And it just keeps getting worse – and worse!! And worse!!!!!

Is it tempting to say that? Maybe. But – that’s like saying, the world is full of problems, and that’s it – that’s just it. They’re the world’s problems – not mine.

No.

No, no, no.

This is where sports and recreation can be most important – in life. Because it’s about perspective. Sports and recreation provide an escape – and a quick adjust to perspective…

Which can help to sort one’s way through all those moments spent – in a cul de sac of illusion…

And so there is hope!!!

Yes, the world is full of problems – it is an imperfect world.

But how we look at those problems – this is paramount!! Perhaps… we start saying, “Hey, we cannot solve all the problems in the world, but those we can – we MUST!

By Dr. Rodney J. Blackman

Dr. Rodney J. Blackman is the Chair of Recreation Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at rblackman@ussa.edu.

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