Yesterday I took the subway to South Philadelphia to see the Phillies-Red Sox game. Safe, clean, and efficient. Once in the stadium area, I had a beer at a “sports entertainment complex” directly across from the ball field. At 6:45pm, I entered the Stadium and took my seat in section 423, row 7, seat 17. Everything seemed in order. Except…
I kept thinking what was unusual. The game was a little long but well played with lots of home runs. Sadly my Red Sox lost but it was just a game. The beer and hot dogs were outrageously expensive (at least by my standards). But the cost didn’t seem to be slowing anyone. What was unusual?
Then it dawned on me. Everyplace I had been, including in the Stadium during live action plays, all around me were people staring down at their cell phones, texting or reading emails or messages. Some were facebooking but with everyone, two thumbs seemed to be flying.
I could sort of understand the subway. What else is there to do? The sports entertainment center (featuring well built young ladies dispensing beer) seemed totally incongruous with texting. The world (people, and a million TV screens) was right in front of everyone, why play with the phone?
Cell phones in the ball park was even more mind blowing. Everyone had paid good money for tickets. The field was beautiful. Win or lose the athletes were skilled and the action was fast. Why do something else?
On my way home (again by subway), I thought about this. I concluded that the social media found on these cell phones was in fact the”real world” for so many of our youth, young adults, and a growing number of adults. These messages are what’s happening. These bright screens confirm to their owner that they are alive.
I suspect, however, that too many cell phone users are kidding themselves. They appear to think what they are doing is important. Instant messaging requires no thought, no thinking. Most messages are superficial if at all relevant.
With respect to the ball game, forget about anyone studying the managers strategy or guessing whether the pitcher will throw a change up or go with heat, low and outside.
For sure, there is no reason for anyone to study baseball (even though many have in the past). But in this case, the baseball game is a metaphor for life. Life is taking place right in from of 38,000 people and so many are not absorbed in the game but incessantly searching for some friend’s message.
No wonder so few people care about what politicians do or how our government functions.