Growing up, as a kid some memories really are for every kid out there. A second treatise of government for kids, a birthright, in this country anyway. It brings to mind the traveling 4th of July carnival that came to Lexington every summer. Cherry dipped vanilla soft serve pressed high to the sky in a blonde sugary digestive cone. That was for everyone. The skydiver, tilt a whirl, bumper cars, super slide, bright lights and puppy farms that was awesome. And once a year it came to our town. And to this day it’s a great memory, the skydiver, fried dough and Vegas gleaning off the mountainous range of skill games for fun prizes cemented the carnivals endearing cycle.
Unfortunately like the traveling carnival some memories aren’t for everyone. It’s just not how it work’s despite the efforts of so many parents paradoxically in some of our most successful corners in our dearest Northeast of America. The older you get the tougher it is to have what Coach Farias used to call, fond memories. And no matter how socialist you think we’ve become we’re not. I can remember the summer of 1987. The carnival had become social. I was now in Junior High. There were girls. We had to be cool. There was almost always a fight that stole the night’s headlines. And drugs. But I was an athlete. My drug was red die #5 and it’s sidekick, Nestle Strawberry Milk. “Yo C, yo C Lloyds here, playing the basketball!”
I couldn’t believe it. The latest star and our idol Lloyd Mumford was at the carnival just like he told us he’d be, and he was at the basketball game. You know the 12 foot diametrically challenged rim you chuck at with a ball the shape of Rocky Dennison’s head. “No more no more!” The saber toothed road ruffian declared. He was taking a loss. And there was Lloyd if it wasn’t for the crowd around him and pearly white teeth you couldn’t see him. He’d hit ten in a row. And after he was being pushed away, an admirer reached into the net behind the toll keepers cracked Edison’s and tossed it to Lloyd he hit another one fading away as he disappeared into the night.
That’s my memory. It married basketball and the carnival, who wouldn’t want to see their childhood idol play the carnival game in line with his / her craft. In reflection it reminded me of Copland, the pro cops being banned from the gun games. I had been crushed at basketball earlier in the week when he told me he couldn’t possibly attend due to conflicts of a dozen different girls. No one ever in my life will ever be as cool. Jim Morrison of the DOORS used to call it, a child’s fragile eggshell mind. But see that’s what wasn’t for everyone, the legend, the moment and the crowd ten in a row with the Rocky Dennison ball, dom. My childhood idols are all in their forty’s and some find my stroking props well, a lil crazy. But it’s not, and it’s like that for everyone just like it’s like that to those guys when it comes to the guys they idolized locally as kids mastering a craft that gave their life purpose 2. You’ll never remember things like you do as a kid. And some memories many memories are for everyone. But hard work, luck dedication and only the fiercest of competition has marked the upward ascent of American ingenuity and athletic excellence since the tap over here.
Sports is the essence of life. And it’s truly the only platform for a child to learn life lessons, both good and bad. Disney sets the example of what’s acceptable, they are the model for so much in my eyes, Walt Disney, America, dreams, memories, hard work. AND DISNEY UNDRSTOOD THE GOOD AND THE BAD, IF THEY DIDN’T WHY WOULD CLAW PLAY MOOFASIS LIKE THAT? I was seventeen in high school when I saw that movie in the theatre and it still fucked me. This better have a happy ending, I can’t handle this. De emphasizing competitive sports as my own Lexington has done over the past few years sets us back. A microcosm into a greater failure of leadership. Property taxes buys lobbying power. it upsets the natural order of things and, in my mind will have dire consequences. Look individual sports do not foster life skills. My sister was a championship solo figure skating and we're all still in therapy over that! Same for swimming, gymnastics if of course you dare to be the best, the best. And everyone can’t play. Happy, happy, happy is some unrealistic shit. You can’t just shy away from disappointment. It tricks the brain, stunts the development in what I think we all can agree is a pretty vital organ here on earth for us humans. Locals in the old grain pits of Chicago’s fabled Board of Trade would oft tell me, a teenage clerk at the time, the best lessons they learned about trading for profit came out of their losses.
Nothing’s unique about everyone. And nothing stifles our evolution as much as these not even new principles that have permeated the wealthy communities of American kids and their fragile egg shell minds this century. And tonight the traveling carnival came to my home in Arlington VA. My wife was not feeling well. But I saw the flyer in the elevator of our building and was compelled to walk down myself. I needed a vanilla soft serve cherry dip, it instantly became an almost crack like need. And I saw the light’s, the smiling children, the rides and games. And happily downing the cone and the dangerous #5 red die that used to make me nuts, I couldn’t help but see Lloyd. So many years ago, I couldn’t help think about fond memories, their importance what they are, how you get them and why they are so essential.
I couldn’t help think about the Lion King, I saw it with Coach Farias in early 1994, my senior year of high school. The ACE program, god bless it, we took a field trip, as a team, a program. Thanks. Fond memories do not and will never come easy nor be available to every junior high or high school kid. We love pushing back growing up these days. It sucks. Let go. I just feel like this next generation whatever we call it might be an army of Bob Wiley’s, hypochondriac, the trophy generation. By giving away memories to all of our children far past the stage it’s productive we take away the fondest memories reserved for the captains and the legions that admire their success and skill. Hard work. Captains like CEO’s and Congressmen, not something not everyone can be. Sorry
And hey if everyone must play. let's make sure we do the same in the drama, math and debate clubs :)*