On this 4th of July, I reflected on a recent team road trip, where we watched the movie The Sandlot. A film 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 differently than kids nowadays, and that’s what makes me sad.
My youth parallels The Sandlot story almost too much. Every day the neighborhood kids got home from school, and all during summer vacation, we would congregate 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 2022, 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 America’s neighborhoods and athletics has changed, but hopefully, we don’t have to say R.I.P. to the likes of Benny The Jet, The Great Hambino, Smalls, and the rest of the gang.
Hopefully, we can still get out there and just play!