Tuesday, June 1, 2010

1 June 2010

Roughly three years ago, my employer at the time sent a company wide email about the approaching summer. The company utilized the first half of the email to remind my fellow co-workers and I of the company dress policy which typically was abused in the summer. The second half of the email also served as a reminder, a reminder of the dangers of summer sports. I specifically remember one line which read, "...while soccer can be fun, it must always be played with caution and with a mouth guard."

This email made me livid as it represented what I hate about American culture: fear which causes people to become more and more closed to anyone or anything not certain. I quickly started to voice my displeasure with this email, but I was surprised to encounter much resistance. Apparently, most of my co-workers agreed with and appreciated the corporate communication. At that moment, I realized the prevalence of a disturbing new segment of the population, the 21st century parent.

The phenomena of the 21st century parent is highly correlated with the phenomena of a "soccer mom" except the 21CP is more extreme. While the soccer mom spends her days driving her kids from school to soccer practice and to all points in between, the 21CP will only permit her child to participate in these organized activities which she can control. Perhaps my childhood was a bit out-of-control, but I freely went hunting on private property, exploring in abandoned mines, and playing "unorganized" sports with whatever kid was at the park. The experience forced ingenuity and made me much more open to and comfortable with the world. Aligned with the thoughts of FDR, my only fear is that today's kids will grow up fearful of any activity not supervised by their parents.

Partly do to my aversion towards organized sports, I have not participated in any organized athletic activity (asides from being a spectator) since 2006. Just recently, however, I have decided to break this streak. No, I still hold a cavalier disregard towards marathons and will never run one again, but I have organized a soccer team which is playing its first game tomorrow.

My school is full of people from countries where soccer is king. After one year in the school, I realized it was more important to engage in the Spanish cultural phenomenon of football than to hold a grudge against sports. For this reason, I have composed a team of the worst futbolers in my school (sorry team). We have little or no experience and will be competing against the conditioned girls squad from my school. While I may be playing an organized game, you can be sure that I won't be wearing a mouth guard.

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