There is a song out these days by Tim McGraw that talks about life as it used to be. Personally, I do not consider myself a person old enough to really miss the way it used to be. Growing up with television all my life, and a computer and video games for most of my life, I am and always will be a kid growing up with technology. However, there is one major difference from the way I grew up compared to the kids of today. I grew up playing sports every day I possibly could. By sports, I do not mean Madden 2005 or NBA Live. While these games ARE fun, they are not really sports, though Madden tournaments try to argue otherwise. They are basically virtual reality. Kids spend all their time playing and bragging about their skills, that they forget that the skill they possess is simply pressing buttons better than their buddy.

Recently, I read an article by Rick Morrissey of the Tribune. As many of you know, Morrissey is my favorite writer. I enjoy him because he sees things clearly. He tells it how it is, especially about the Cubs, despite working for the owner of the team. Recently though, there was an article about his kids that really brought me back. Here is a snip:

My 11-year-old son and his friend were shooting baskets in the back yard. When one boy made a shot, the two of them would celebrate with high-fives or chest bumps. Then the other would mark something down on a sheet of paper. What’s harder: Writing while wearing gloves or shooting while wearing gloves? I didn’t know what vital information was being recorded, but I understood the rest of it: Here were two kids acting out last-second basketball heroics. And I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Now, before you report me to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services . . . well, go ahead and report me. The only excuse I have for not calling the boys inside is that I wanted to see if the next shot was going to fall.

That article made me think about when I was a kid, and the only thing that mattered was playing. We didn’t care about anything else beside playing sports everyday. Even by myself, all I did was invent ways to play my games by myself. I remember I had one year when all I did was shoot free throws in my driveway. I would hold a tournament, with the teams from the most recent NBA playoffs. I would shoot and if I made it, the home team won. If I missed, it went to the visitors. I would play for hours on end just shooting free throws to this make believe game. It was all I needed.

I miss those days when sports were fun. There was not nearly as much media hype and athletes were not nearly as arrogant and bigheaded. These days, it’s fun, but frustrating. I don’t watch sports with the same childlike innocence that I used to, especially now that I write about them consistently. When I watch Cubs games, I am taking notes or thinking of some way I can write about what I am seeing. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and I love watching, but sometimes, even if for one game, I wish it was like it was back when I was a kid. I wish I could just watch and play without worrying if my team won or lost. Watch for the pure fun of watching and not have to look at arrogant athletes. Who knows, maybe I just need to install a basketball hoop in my driveway and resurrect that old free throw game for old times sake.

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail