Progress is good, or so they say. But there are times when I long to a return of the good ol’ days. Perhaps this is a sign of me aging, though I don’t consider myself “old” by any means. I embrace new technology, I’m not yet on Medicare or Social Security though AARP sends me more than a few mailings each month. But while I can appreciate all the great conveniences that have come about in my lifetime, there are still days when I can’t help but think back to a simpler time, especially in the world of sports.
Grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days
Sometimes it feels like this world’s gone crazy
And Grandpa, take me back to yesterday
When the line between right and wrong
Didn’t seem so hazy
While it’s certainly a nice bonus that pretty much every single game of the season can be found on television, I think it has made us take for granted the privilege of getting to watch a game in person. Fans now spurn the “no name” games and only want to show up for marquee matchups citing the fact they can watch the “lesser” games in the comfort of their homes. But when I was young, some of my fondest memories are of sitting either on my grandfather’s bed or on the living room floor next to my dad as we “watched” the game on the radio with the legendary Cawood Ledford providing the play-by-play action. We weren’t overwhelmed with a loud announcer telling us who to like and why to like them. We just heard about our Cats. Cawood was honest and didn’t shy away from pointing out mistakes, but he was always fair in his assessment.
There was no “one and done” era, nor could we even fathom such a thing. I can even recall a time when freshmen did not get to play with the varsity team, competing instead on an all-freshmen team (anyone remember the Kittens?). Later, when freshmen were included on varsity teams, fans were much more forgiving of their mistakes. “He’s just a freshman. He’ll learn and will be so much better in a year or two,” was the regular response when a freshman made a mistake in a game. Today, we hear more of “Why does he think he can ever be in the NBA? He needs to be benched now!” when a player has a mental lapse or fails to secure a rebound.
Speaking of the One and Done era, you hear increased grumbling from fans these days who are
Of course, there
But for others, social media has made them keyboard warriors. They love to be couch coaches and criticize all coaching decisions, not taking into account they have the benefit of hindsight. Oh, and they love to tell players exactly how they feel about how they play, talk, walk, and dress. The
I also miss the old days of recruiting. There once was a time when a high school senior would simply announce his school of choice and that was it. There weren’t multiple social media posts announcing each and every offer the player had received. There were not “announcements of announcements” where players tweet out “on Tuesday, I will release my top 10 list”, followed by an announcement of when they are cutting their list to 5, then to 3, then finally, the day they will finally let the world know at which school they will enroll. There was no need for the “respect my decision, no interviews” tweets, either. And recruits were matter-of-fact about their decisions. Today, the trend seems to be “trolling” the schools they don’t choose, either by pretending they are going to don the cap of one school, then picking up another cap at the last minute. Some have even gone as far as posting the night before their public decision they are going to “school X” then choosing “school Y” instead.
Sometimes, I wish, if only for a week or two, we could return to the days of old and let the younger generation experience life as we lived it. Well, I’m ok if we skip the ultra-short shorts that basketball players wore back then, but the rest of it would be rather nice.
Yes, progress is good and change is inevitable, but if you ever want to hear more stories, I’ll be happy to be the “grandpa” (or, more accurately the “grandma”) and tell you all about the good ol’ days.
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