Ahhh, the summer season, a time for all those outdoor activities…summer BBQs, hanging by the pool, and of course, all of those fun outdoor games. But, oh my, how things have changed. When I was young (whenever that was) we would play “tag”, “catch” with a baseball or football, basketball and yes, what would summer be without the inevitable sneak attack of a water balloon, leading to the epic water fight, and completely soaked clothes. But now, I see the new “paradigm” of the outdoor summer fun and sports, and it’s like going to another world. I see lawn darts have been replaced with something that has no sharp, spiky tip that could either plant itself into the ground as you try to get it inside the ring, or if you happen to be standing in the way of where the dart is supposed to land, stab you and send you on a much “buzz kill” of a trip to Urgent Care. Where’s the fun in that?
How about playing the newest sensation in outdoor family entertainment simply known as, “cornhole”? I’m sorry…corn what? Well, if you haven’t played, it’s a kin to a game at the fair or carnival where you try to toss a bean bag into a cut out hole on a plank of angled wood. I’ve played a few times and just like at the carnival… I didn’t win. But hang on a second, cornhole is not just for back yard amateurs, no. In fact, much to my surprise (and horror) while recently “channel surfing” on the weekend, I saw on the programming guide a listing on ESPN for (wait for it)… The Cornhole World Championship. The whhaaat? I had no choice, no self control, no way of stopping myself from hitting the “enter” button on my remote control. And there it was, full grown adults tossing bean bags into a hole on cable t.v. for a trophy and the title of “Cornhole King.” Although I didn’t watch long enough to make it to the commercial break to see who actually sponsors such a contest (I can’t bring myself to call it an actual “sport” even though it was on ESPN), I got the gist of how the scoring works, but still not as to why it was taking up precious television air time. Anyway, it was shortly after the ability for my eyes to once again focus that I started to contemplate how the participants of this activity even refer to it in everyday conversation. Do they call each other up and say…”hey man, wanna meet up for a pickup game of c-hole?” O.K., that doesn’t sound right. Or how about…”hope you brought your beanbags with you, for a killer game of cornhole!” Yeah…I’m thinking “no.”
And don’t even get me started on “pickleball.” They televise this too now. Pickleball, yes it’s a thing. To the uninformed, such as I am, it basically looks like a game of ping-pong with something to prove. Though way more athletic than cornhole, I still am not quite sure how it has the appeal large enough to be broadcast on t.v. But then again, I admit, I have actually watched a few minutes of people sitting around a table playing high stakes poker on television…go figure. Anyway, I have seen people taking up our local tennis courts, with their oversized big ping-pong paddles, whiffle balls and smugness. Who are these pickleball people? Why wasn’t tennis or badminton or regular ping-pong good enough for them? Nooo…they had to take ping pong and badminton and “Frankenstein” them together into some other new quasi, sport. There is now even the USA Pickleball Association, just to legitimize the whole thing. I blame the “hipsters.” Besides, wasn’t it they who gave us “Frisbee-Golf.” They couldn’t leave well enough alone either Frisbee or golf. Well, I say enough is enough! Time to keep the outdoor fun real and honest…the way it used to be, before someone gets hurt with one of these trendy new “wannabe” games. Because if we let this continue, I ask you, could “Bowling Dodge Ball” or "Rooftop Domino Surfing" be far behind? The madness must end!
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the groves.