1. HS Sports. Then: Friday night football and Friday night boys basketball was BIG TIME. I looked up to those guys as athletes and it seemed the whole town cared who won. Today: I still go to occassional games, but it has WAY less importance to me and the athletes seem like small children rather than the "adults" I thought they were when I was little.
2. College sports.
Following college football and basketball remains one of my greatest enjoyments in life. As a kid it meant everything and that still rings true today. The difference is then: I thought the game was pure. I knew there were dirtier programs like Miami and Auburn, but the recruiting and especially the TV Network aspect seemed far more pure than today. I guess I knew there was profit, but hearing Keith Jackson say "the old Horseshoe, nestled along the banks of the Olentangy" as the aerial shot looked down just made me smile ear to ear. Today: the greed is such a shame. ESPN especially. It's a shame that a TV Network shapes the post-season in both sports (expanding the bball field of 64 to 68 for more games), blowing up the number of bowls to have live sports available on tv, being such an influence on the college football playoff, and even driving which conferences contain which schools.
Then: I thought government officials were people who loved this country and wanted to "serve". Today: "Serve" is laughable. These are individuals who are almost entirely self-serving, dedicated to party and ultimately their re-election and career FAR beyond any dedication to country or those that elected them. How naive I was!
Then: going to another state seemed like a voyage. Two hours in a car was an eternity and a flight was something we did once every 5 or 6 years. Today, I could have friends say let's go to Vegas for the weekend or a work trip to Kansas City or the East Coast and it seems like nothing at all. Travel for both work and fun is super common for me.
5. Adult softball / Adult sports activities
Then: I remember going to watch my dad play as a kid. The diamonds were always full with multiple games. Today: I play every now and then with some beer-drinking buddies. Our game is one of two on the night we play and there doesn't seem to be much action the other nights. Amazing how less active (and I loose that loosely with softball) people are today. Then it seemed my parents would have racketball nights and my dad would play basketball once a week as well. Today I'd be lucky to find 3 friends in their 30s willing to pick up a basketball - and that includes those I played HS with.
6. Youth sports.
Then: Little League baseball was something everyone did - even the unathletic kids. It was summer, so you played baseball. Pretty simple. Today: Local towns that used to each field 4-8 5th/6th grade teams now each have one and are forced to play across towns - even for non travelling teams. Kind of sad. Maybe soccer is the new baseball? But I kind of doubt it, suspecting that kids are simply less active. Also I despise soccer.
Then: my grandpas both served in WWII and one loved sharing his memories with me. Knowing he lived that made it so real and seem not that long ago. Today: the idea that the world was at war, that Japan was bombing Pearl Harbor, that Nazi Germany and the holocaust were happening, that industry turned focus to the war, and that young men were dying in places like Africa, Guam, and France seems like a concept that occurred hundreds of years ago. Real as it was and despite knowing more about WWII today than I ever did as a child, it seems more like a fantasy today (for any who served in wars since then, don't take the wrong way - I fully appreciate the gravity of how real that and events like Korea, Vietnam, and the conflicts in the Middle East were. It's just mind-blowing to step back and think that the entire world was at war and that it was 1st world countries fighting one another).
8. MLB and the NBA
Today, the NFL and NHL don't seem all that different than they did then. MLB though: seems like then everyone was collecting baseball cards, we could rattle of the standings, and that interest was high. Today: it seems like attention spans don't allow appreciation for the sport. Going to or watching a baseball game should be relaxing and entertaining (and it still is), but with phones at our fingertips and no time for boredom to ever occur, it seems though MLB is still popular it isn't appreciated like it was in the 80s and 90s. The NBA back then was amazing! Celtics-Lakers, Bulls-Pistons, Bulls-Knicks - the teams hated one another and players gave their all. Today though - woof. I don't even watch.