18 agosto 2007

La vita é breve - salta prima che finisce

Eureka, Calif. - Sometimes I think that youth really is wasted on the young. There are so many things that I wish I could still do. Things that I didn't appreciate when I was young. The simple pleasure of doing idiotic activities without a care in the world.

Actually, I still do those things. And I shouldn't. It's definitely something I need to work on, but I'd like to think that I can transition from professional and responsible to adolescent with complete ease. I probably shouldn't find it so easy to go from older-sister friend who allows a bunch of high schoolers do silly fun things to responsible soccer coach. In fact what soccer coach would allow their players to jump from one bed to the other. Any reasonable older coach would immediately say, "That's not a good idea. You might get hurt." But I remember when I was that age, sitting in a hotel room between games. We would be bored out of our minds and come up with stupid things to do to entertain ourselves. We would do so until some responsible adult came along and told us to stop.

I think back on it now and I wonder why they told us to stop. Had they forgotten what it was to be young? I hear crazy stories about my mother and her siblings. They did outrageous things that I wouldn't even attempt because I'm not that gutsy - or maybe I am now, but I wasn't when I was 16.

My mother's family owns a small house on the beach in El Salvador where they would go on vacation every summer. She would tell me these crazy stories about my uncle. Tio Tito was such a cool guy. He always wanted everyone to have fun and he went to great lengths to try new things. They used to take their boat out on the bay and go fishing and water skiing. One day, Tio Tito had the brilliant idea to create a homemade device that would allow the rider to float just above the water, skimming really, as they water skied. His contraption consisted of a beach chair attached to skis and with a large umbrella attached on the back.

In theory his device would have been a break through in water sports - my uncle would have been the founder of a new extreme sport, umbrella skiing. Unfortunately when he strapped himself in and waved at the boat to get going he simple sank; the boat didn't have the engine to pull that kind of weight, especially with the wind resistance caused by the wind.

But those are the types of things you attempt when you're young. These crazy ideas that make life a little more exciting and memorable. So really - it's not that irresponsible of me to allow my players to enjoy themselves and create these fun memories that will make them laugh later on in life. Because when they're older they'll wish they had done those stupid things. I'm not telling them to attach a skateboard to the back of a truck to create some crazy sport called truck skafering. No, I'm telling them, "Hey. Sure go ahead. Be young. Be careful, but be young." Is there anything really wrong with that? (That's a rhetorical question). The grown-up responsible reasonable me has gone through a list of reasons why it's a bad idea and how it could have all gone completely wrong. Accidents have happened in safer conditions.

But - if I wasn't there, wouldn't they have been doing it already? And the fact that I was there and told them to be careful isn't that what an adult is supposed to do? By taking some risks (not extremely dangerous ones, mind) can you understand what risk is? Or perhaps I'm just trying to justify my own need to be around those who are young and carefree - not that I'm not young and carefree, but there is a difference between dependent-young and carefree and independent-young and carefree. The latter comes with responsibilities, financial mainly. The former not so much. The only worries they have, while not trivial, deal with relationships, friends, the latest trends, and getting their parents to drive them places. The independent-young deal with the same things, but on top of that struggle with financial responsibilities, such as paying for rent, utilities, phone bills, insurance, care insurance, car payments, student loans with a paycheck that leaves little for anything else. And all this is on top of doing well in school to obtain a better more well paying job.

How often to do we jump on the beds and have a pillow fight? How often to we laugh hysterically when surprising a friend with a free birthday cake at a restaurant when it's not remotely close to their birthdate? Those moments are priceless. They come and go in an instant and before you know you're too old to enjoy them or too old to remember how wonderful they were.

So I say, jump a little. Be a little wacky and strange; especially if it will put a smile on someones face, and specifically if it's your own. Life goes by too fast. I'm still young at 23, but it feels as though it's all gone by in a moment. Because when it comes down to it, life is fleeting and all you can do is make the most of it.

So what are you doing? Jump a little!

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