Apparatus Advantage - From Dad's Point of View
by Bob Schwartz
It's a common theme amongst generations that one always claims that they had it the toughest. Being on the cusp of the baby boomer generation and never having had to fight in foreign wars or living through a great depression, I have to stretch to tell my children how difficult I've had it.
They didn't believe it when I shaved a few years and told them I had a paper route at 3 1/2 years age. The best I could come up with was picking up carpool and lamenting how I had to walk to elementary school, straight uphill, both ways. They never caught on to that topographic contradiction but it seemed to momentarily impress them as they climbed into a heated vehicle.
The next best I could do was inform them we didn't have Game Boys or Play Station. My sons, of course, feel the absence of these techno entertainment centers would quite simply produce chaos and darkness throughout the land.
However, I've now come up with the topper in realizing how easy my children have it. We seem to thrive on making things less difficult to do and when my sons brought home their latest yo-yo's I suddenly realized that their generation has the clear benefit of "Apparatus Advantage."
I literally threw them for a loop when I told them our yo-yo's didn't automatically perform tricks like "sleeping" by simply letting the yo-yo string extend from our finger. We actually had to learn how to do those tricks. We didn't have the wonderful engineering whizzes of today who've come up with centrally weighted, metallic roller bearing, spintastic, speed rings, larger string gap, inside rim ledge, transaxled, precision machined aluminum and interchangeable bearing system which enable my children to automatically become yo-yo experts by opening the package.
Heck, my one year old daughter can "loop the loop" with a yo-yo and she barely holds a sippy cup. (Maybe we really need precision weighted plastic enhanced sippy cups to make her apple juice imbibing a little less like a shower.)
And what about "Tinker Toys vs. Legos"? Come on! I could accidentally build the Space Station with the ease of Legos sticking together and the directions they come with! Ever try getting those sticks to fit into those holes on those tinker toy wheels? Brute strength and ingenuity was required.
We didn't have the "Apparatus Advantage" of aluminum bats that can sky rocket a baseball over the fence on a half-hearted swing. No sir! We had to actually take those old wooden bats, swing hard and connect with the "sweet spot" of the bat which for me happened about as often as a total eclipse.
And what about summer camp? We only had those generic all around camps where everyone had to participate in everything. I put in plenty of time on those nature walks when I'd have preferred scooter dodgeball. My kids now have a choice, as specialization has become the buzzword. We've got archeology camps, outdoor online camps, fly fishing camps and skateboarding camps. They can choose the "I don't want to get up before 9:00a.m., only play basketball and roller hockey, don't like to swim, need two hours of computer time daily with Internet access and cereal before bed camp"! Maybe I am stretching things a little bit but then I think how creative my kids will have to be in convincing their children how tough they had it! Then again it might be sufficient to tell them their computer wasn't connected to their big screen t.v. that wasn't hooked up to a satellite dish. That just might do it.
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