Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Bad Penny

This weekend in Glendale, Arizona the NCAA shall crown its 2017 Division I Men's Basketball Champion.  Among its quartet of combatants, this year's Final Four features college basketball royalty from the University of North Carolina and the hoops' version of Barbarians at the Gate in the person of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.  South Carolina arrives at the Final Four as the Champion of the East Regional, which triumph required them to win four tournament games. Prior to this season, the University of South Carolina had last won a NCAA tournament game in 1974.  

One of my law partners, Jim Hajel, is a South Carolina alumni and is a fervent Gamecocks fan. Having zero skin in the game this weekend, my inclination is to root for his Alma mater.  That is although I cannot name a single player on their roster.  Not one.  The only person affiliated with the program whose name I know is Head Coach Frank Martin.  Prior to taking over at South Carolina in 2012, Martin coached at Kansas State University for five years, during which time his Wildcats and my beloved Colorado Buffaloes were rivals in the Big XII Conference.  

This past weekend, at or about the time that Coach Martin and his Gamecocks were vanquishing their SEC foe, the Florida Gators, at Madison Square Garden to win the East Regional and punch their ticket to the Final Four, I came across a quote from Coach Martin that touched upon (at least) the subject of the relationship between adults and kids. It interested me and perhaps it shall interest you also...

It also caused me to reflect upon something that I had written quite a long time ago, which is at least analogous to Coach Martin's point, and which through the magic of "copy and paste" appears here again today...


The Past Is Just A Good Bye

There are times when I feel colossally old - much older than my age. It usually occurs when I am in the presence of teenagers. A few weeks ago, on the way home from the office on a Friday night, I stopped at the closest mall to our home - here in New Jersey one cannot drive 45 minutes any direction without encountering a retail behemoth - Bridgewater Commons in order to pick up something for Margaret. Upon entering the complex, it felt as if I had walked into some half-assed remake of Fast Times at Ridgemont High. There were little cliques of kids everywhere and much to what I would imagine is the unadulterated delight of the retailers and the mall management alike, they appeared to be congregating in public areas, simply hanging out, as opposed to doing any actual shopping.

I was their age once, albeit more than a quarter-century ago. I cannot however recall ever being a mall kid. While perhaps my memory is fading over time (especially when time's ravages were helped along at one point by copious amounts of alcohol and other chemicals) and the light in which I have remembered myself is more flattering in retrospect than it was in real-time, my own kids were "that" age within the past decade and I have no recollection of either of them having been "mall kids" either.

At some point in time, the shopping mall appears to have morphed into some sort of Super Baby Sitter - almost always available rain or shine and always willing to work for free. Thank God for the mall right? Otherwise the generation of parents who pack every child into their car sporting an I-Pod to listen to and/or a personal DVD player with which to watch movies would have no artifice to which a child's care could be entrusted once Little Slowhead exits the vehicle.

This rant is not directed at the "kids today" generation. Nope. Our kids take their cues - be they good cues, bad cues or miscues - from us. Once we were implored to teach our children well. Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

One wonders if we the parents are still committed to the effort. I suppose in fifteen years, if we are required to speak Chinese just to renew our driver's licenses, we will know for certain.



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