I was at a high school regional baseball tournament recently when I looked over to the stands.
There were about 20 or 30 people sitting in this particular section and something caught my eye that I almost couldn’t believe.
Not one person was watching the game.
Well, maybe that’s exaggerating just a smidge. But I would bet my life that 80 to 90 percent were not.
No, they had their heads down feverishly texting away. Or they were on their cell phones, without paying attention to what at the time was an exciting one-run game.
In fact, a foul ball whistled into the stands and hit a woman on one bounce. It startled her, because she was texting and never saw it coming, but fortunately it just grazed her shoulder and she went right back to texting.
This incident made me realize that the world of technology has left me behind. I’m like the last dinosaur roaming the earth, oblivious to the fast-paced world of instant gratification we live in.
I’ve noted before that I don’t carry a cell phone, one of the few people left in the world who doesn’t. Heck, I see little kids on their cell phones talking or texting. One reason I don’t have one is that it cuts into my wallet, which needs to be full to pay off all my golfing losses. But perhaps a greater reason is that I’m so technology illiterate that I’m afraid I couldn’t figure it out.
Cell phones can be scary if not used correctly. Every day at 9:30 a.m., I walk to the post office to pick up the mail and get my daily exercise. I am not exaggerating when I say when I cross the crosswalk, at least 10 times people have been on their cell phones and not seen me walking as they lurched forward like they’re starting the Indy 500. One driver came within six inches of hitting me but with my cat-like reflexes, I managed to avoid harm. However, had I been hit, I had one word in my mind — lawsuit, which in turn could have led to settlement which in turn could have led to retirement, something I dearly want to do, but may never have the opportunity.
Sentinel readers should consider themselves lucky there’s a sports page every day. Now I’ve always been a fast typer — I can proudly say I was the fastest typer in Miss Wetter’s typing class in 1972 — so that hasn’t been a problem. But in designing pages, I had to learn what is called QuarkXPress layout, and needless to say I didn’t catch on as fast as everybody else who works here.
After about 20 years, I’ve finally become comfortable with Quark, which from what I’m told actually is behind the times. There’s this fandangled “Adobe InDesign,” something I’m glad we haven’t upgraded to. I’m sure it probably would blow my mind, and those who catch on much faster than me would have to babysit as I hunt and peck my way through it.
And, of course, there are all these other sources of social media. Email was the first I had to master, and I have to say now I don’t know how I ever did my job before it. What makes email so nice is that you often can copy and paste results, so you don’t have to retype them. What I like most, though, is coaches send me quotes, which I also copy and paste. That way they are saying what they want without fear of being misquoted. I know my old paper I worked at when I was in high school and junior college still doesn’t have email, so it’s glad to know there’s actually a place that’s even more behind the times.
In recent years, there’s been an explosion of other mediums. This “Facebook” phenomena is one I of course couldn’t grasp, but one day I was told that I had joined the club. I didn’t do it, it was the work of my one and only niece, the inimitable Ashley E. AE, as I like to call her, set everything up and told me to go on there because it’s a way to keep up with her happenings. AE, by the way, will be Dr. AE after Wednesday, as she’s graduating as a Doctor of Pharmacy in Tennessee — and making more money in a year than I make in about five.
I just read the Facebook entries, but really don’t participate. I have to admit, though, it’s nice to have, as many of my old friends from high school are on there as well as family members.
I don’t do Linkedin or Twitter — it’s all over my head. Smart phones, iPads — forget it. I’m 55 years old and there’s not enough years left in my lifetime to acquire the skills to master them.
One of these days, I really do hope to get a cell phone and acquire other social media skills. Until then, I’ll stay in my cave and live life as a clueless caveman.
Steve?Sell is sports editor for The Sentinel.?Reach him by phone at 620-241-2422 or email at email@example.com.