The Good Old Days
Updated: Mar 26, 2021
By Mike Toth
You know the drill.
It doesn't matter how old of a buzzard you happen to be, a lot of us find ourselves wrestling with the feeling that, somehow and someway, life was sweeter when we were younger.
That's especially true during a world-wide pandemic.
Whether it's gobbling down your favorite dishes that mom used to make (mac & cheese is my go-to COVID comfort food) or binge watching beloved old TV shows, ("Fraiser" is at the top of my current pandemic playlist) all of us long for a time when life seemed so much simpler.
Sports is no exception.
Like a lot of sports-loving children of the 70's, my schedule was pretty straightforward. Grit your teeth to get through another school day and when the bell mercifully sounded, grab your hockey stick, ball glove or football - whatever activity was in season - and head for the park. Usually, there was a pack of teammates and/or opponents waiting to fight to the death for afternoon (and
often late into the evening) bragging rights. During ball hockey season, for instance, the kids on my Calgary block would shed buckets of blood, sweat and tears over a gold spray painted hunk of wood that we carved with my dad's tools - our own poorly constructed version of the Stanley Cup. Everybody in the neighborhood seemed to be involved and, thinking back on it, there were probably some kids who didn't even like sports who took part in our games.
What else were they going to do?
Sure, they could sit home watching "Bewitched" or "Gilligan's Island" on after-school television - a pretty good rainy day alternative for a 70's sports fanatic. But if they wanted to mix with other kids, even the couch potatoes would eventually have to wander down to the park.
I won't bore you with too many details of those long ago sandlot adventures. After all, if you grew up in a similar environment during that era, you have your own special and unique memories.
But if you hail from a more modern time, you might be interested in a short history lesson.
What was life like in the 70's?
No home computers.
No cell phones.
No video games.
No wonder everyone hung out at the park.
These days, it's a whole different world.
Sure, today's youngsters sometimes get together to play a little shinny hockey, shoot baskets or toss the football around. But it's not even in the same ballpark compared to the countless hours we put into our playground pursuits back in the 70's.
Most modern kids, especially during the pandemic, spend the bulk of their recreational schedule playing video games. I sometimes listen to my 13-year old lad trash talking with his PlayStation pals and it sounds a lot like when my ball hockey buddies and I used to argue over an offside.
The only difference?
At least we worked up a healthy sweat when we disagreed.
That's why we desperately need COVID to finally get crushed.
As the weather warms up and the pandemic finally starts to loosen its grip, here's hoping that more and more kids will find themselves getting sick of countless Coronavirus video games and head to the park to create their own fun.
And here's an idea.
Don't be afraid to tag along every once in a while. You might not be able to get down on those ground balls the way you did when you were 12. I guarantee, however, that playing in the park will bring back a lot of special memories - and create some future memories for your kids.
But do yourself a favor.
Keep most of those "Super 70's" stories to yourself. The truth is, young people don't like being bored to death by too many tales about "the good old days".
Even though those good old days were pretty darn good, weren't they?