When I was a kid I ran everywhere. I had boundless energy. I couldn’t stand being inside, and when I was I ran around the house pretending to be a running back, baseball hero or The Bionic Man. All of my friends were the same way. We ran up to the cul-de-sac to play baseball, and when it was raining, we played hamper basketball. Surround this with games of tag, pickle, and general rambunctiousness, and you have what amounts to your average American adolescence.
Thinking back, I’m sure it wasn’t easy for any of our parents to keep up with us. I’m sure they were sick of treating the cuts and scrapes. I’m sure they got sick of me begging for a Diamond Back dirt bike, and wearing holes in pair after pair of Zipps and Kid Power shoes. We were bundles of energy with bowl cuts.
I grew up in a major metropolitan city, mind you. It’s not as if I lived in a cornfield in Nebraska, and had nothing better to do than practice my punting to earn a football scholarship to Iowa State. We had The Galleria for God’s sake!
Granted, there were times when we stayed in to play the baseball grand tourney on Intellivision, or watched some Starsky and Hutch, but for the most part we were happy running around in the San Fernando Valley smog. Then I see the poor kids walking from their schools in Manhattan–although walking is a generous description. It’s more of a teetering motion. These kids don’t seem to have enough energy to even lift their feet off the ground. They look as if they have two prosthetic legs that don’t bend at the knee. Walking in this manner concerns me.
I don’t know if it’s a matter of poor nutrition, lack of exercise or the fact it has become okay to simulate physical activity by playing sports on Playstation. These listless children don’t seem to have any spunk or motivation. They don’t seem to have the energy that young children should have. Go out to any school in the suburbs, and you’ll see children laughing, jumping and running from the schoolyard. Not so with the city kid. They are a rare breed that have been so maligned by lack of space, that even their movements have become minimized.
I’m sure there are studies somewhere that say that the city kids of today are on the average overweight and stunted in their physical development. Maybe I’m getting old, or maybe I just hate getting stuck behind a mob of these kids on the way back to work, but somebody really should do something about this. Maybe I’ll start a fresh air camp for the physically constrained in Jersey somewhere.