As I scrolled through my Facebook today I came across an article shared a couple of times by a few people. It was titled, RIP the sandlot. Written by a man named Matt, it said –
“Today on the bus, we watched the movie The Sandlot. A movie I've seen at least 100 times over the years. But as I've gotten older, I've watched it through a much different lens and today instead of laughing and enjoying it like I usually do, sadness was the general feeling.
You see, when someone my age watches The Sandlot, we experience it different than kids nowadays and that's what makes me sad.
My youth parallels The Sandlot story almost too much. Everyday when the neighborhood kids got home from school and all during summer vacation, we would all congregate out in the court and play until the street lights came on. We played baseball, football, street hockey, basketball, you name it.
My favorite youth memories weren't family vacations or anything I ever saw on a screen. My favorite memories were a group of us playing wiffle ball in my backyard where the strike zone was taped to the sliding glass door and my dad had painted foul poles on the backyard fence.
In 2016, the majority of youth are consumed by screen time and organized athletics and will never get to experience what the movie The Sandlot embodies.
The landscape of Americas neighborhoods and athletics has changed and we say rest in peace to the likes of Benny The Jet, The Great Hambino, Smalls and the rest of the gang.”
It made me think though, how much has the culture of American youth changed. That now the screens we find ourselves attached and addicted to have completely consumed our culture. And on the comments of that article were people from all around the country saying things like
“Those were definitely the good days. Kids today don't know what they are missing. Playing outside starting at right after breakfast and staying out until it was dark”
“It's our fault for the youth being how they are today. We are the politicians, lawyers, clergy, and decision makers who have ruined our country. We must look in the mirror and blame ourselves for the mess we created....”
Now I do know that kids do still play outside but its is decreasing that now we have had to create programs like play 30 to get our youth of America outside and moving around. I remember in my own life playing in the street during the summer until the streetlights when on. I came home to the same house on that same street last summer and saw but one or two kids playing outside my entire time home. Over 50% of kids spend over 2 hours a day playing video games or watching TV, while less than 23% spend at least a single hour of physical exercise.* It broke my heart to know that they were just sitting in side, that they wont have any of the memories I so fondly recall. No more pickup football, freeze tag or treehouses. Just Xbox’s and IPhones. So maybe next time we think about buy a new screen, the latest piece of technology for ourselves or for our kids, we can think about the sandlot and the joys of the outdoors. The Sandlot embodies the spirit of America, lets not loose that.
America, your killin me smalls!
*2014 National Physical Activity Plan report card