I want to talk today about Hacky Sack. Yes, that little beanbag type ball that you see people kicking around in the park. Okay, maybe you don’t see it as much as you used to back in the early 80s. But, if you really pay attention on college campuses and parks you’ll see it you’ll see little covens of people kicking the thing around. It may seem like young hippies now, but at one time it was a major sport… okay, maybe not major – but people from all over the world competed.
I was kicking the sack around with my boy, Logan yesterday and it dawned on me, “You know, if something happened before the Internet it’s almost like it never happened.”
The whole time we were playing I was thinking, “Man, I used to be so much better than this.”
Sure, the fact that I can still kick it a half dozen times without it falling isn’t bad for an old fart. But, I used to be the #13 ranked Hacky Sack player in the world. (Yes, they had a world ranking system much like tennis and golf today.)
Back in the early 80’s, my friend Roger Keith and I competed in Hacky Sack tournaments. These tournaments featured everything from freestyle exhibitions where people showed off their latest tricks, consecutive hit contests, and our specialty – something called net sack.
Net sack was played much like volleyball with a 5 foot high net. There were singles and doubles events and it was played much like a mash-up of tennis and volleyball in the scoring and service. But unlike volleyball, you could not touch the bag with anything above the waist. Also, you could not hit it more than two times consecutively. We excelled at the doubles event. Each of us individually did okay as singles, but doubles we did so much better.
Although we competed in tournaments all over the South, and were even invited to go to China for an exhibition (I regret still turning down that offer) it’s almost as if it never happened. Since this was before the Internet – before Instagram – before posting things to Facebook – it seems like it doesn’t exist.
Yes, I have one VHS video tape of an interview I did with the local NBC affiliate in Victoria Texas, but that is the only evidence that any of this ever happened. I don’t even have a VCR to play the thing on!
Sure, we had photos “back in the day” but they were hard-copy photos and I have no idea if they still exist. No digital photos exist because no digital cameras existed.
So I ask you. What part of your past no longer exists because there was no record? There is an expression from academia “publish or perish” that seems to apply perfectly today. We put so much of ourselves “out there” but people think that’s all there is to us.
Sure everyone posts the picture when they get the new house. Everyone posts the picture when they have an amazing meal. We even post the pictures when we see something beautiful. But we don’t post when her bills come. We don’t post when it’s time to mow the yard. We don’t post when our kids behave badly… unless of course, there’s a good photo op that comes along with it.
In fact, we rarely post anything if there’s not a photo up. That doesn’t mean nothing happens. Just as it doesn’t mean that our lives didn’t exist before Facebook. Facebook is a distortion of reality that is dangerous to the people trying to keep up with the “perfect” lives they see online. It is dangerous for our kids that have never known a world without this hyper-glamorized view of common people. It is a hard life to live up to.
Throw-back-Thursday is a start, but even those are only the photo-worthy moments from our past. What are your thoughts? How can we teach our children that this does not reflect reality? How can we stop being covetous of that dork from back in high school that seems to have the perfect life? How can we make it okay to be normal and realize that some amazing things are happening every single day that are not posted?
That hour of playing Hacky Sack with Logan was easily my favorite moment from yesterday and because of that, I wasn’t going to waste time snapping photos.
by Chris Doelle