HOLLYWOOD, CA – Maybe because I’m into my cups of The Knob, but I’m kinda enjoying these Oscars with Seth McFarland (who gets almost as much mileage from cultivating his “I don’t care but is he gay?” image as Tosh.o). I gave up actually caring a long time ago, and all of this year’s winners seem to be spread out as expected (though what does Roger Deakins have to do to win one of these things?) but when you stretch past the three hour mark it all becomes a battle of attrition like an old fashioned Sox/Yankees game. No surprise that Argo won, the only thing Hollywood loves more than movies about itself, it’s movies about itself saving the world.
I work in this business, so I feel obligated to watch. My kids are under no such constraints. The only thing they care about is Minecraft. Nothing grips their 7 and 10-yearold brains like that 8-bit open sandbox, to the detriment of school, sports, intellect, natural curiosity, health, friends and their future – unless it includes digital mining and hunger games. My older kid’s not even playing baseball this year, striking at the heart of my horrors that I became that dad who pushed his kid too hard too soon and put them off the sport. So when the girl who works the after-school playground asked me last week if my kid would like to play in an upcoming local elementary school rugby tournament – not even knowing there was such a thing until that moment – I said, “Yes… yes he would.” He’s never played rugby and for that matter neither have I, but I’m throwing it all at the wall to see what sticks (my grand golf experiment last week was an abject a failure).
Perhaps Johnathan Wicklow Barberie and Short Matt can help:
This was a pretty organized event through PlayRugbyUSA, with 24 schools all converging on a local high school football field – and many of these kids came to play. The guy in charge, speaking in a vaguely New Zealand accent, gave a speech about the inherent goodness in rugby; how it helps give kids exercise, responsibility, teamwork, friendship, academic success, keeps them off drugs, teaches them to recycle, respect the elderly, to never lie or cheat or steal or gamble or join cults. This basically makes it everything Minecraft isn’t. With rugby now an Olympic sport, maybe all those kids who could have been lured into the world of Greco-Roman wrestling will now give it a try. By the mostly Latino crowd here, which included some big and fast fifth graders, it looks like they’re minecrafting a new generation of ruggers.
My kid did pretty good and he had fun. Maybe he’ll keep playing… though as soon as we got home he went back down his digital rabbit hole. On the other hand, his classmate Megan is a warrior. She lives in rough part of town; in an apartment building that makes the Hotel Earle look welcoming. It’s down the block from the notorious Rampart Station, right next to the original Tommy Burger, where the $5 Tuesday special is a treat for her and her mom. I guarantee there’s no Minecraft in her life. She’s a sweet, skinny, old-soul girl who hasn’t grown into her front teeth yet. She took a hat-rattling shot to the mid-section running flat out, fell to the ground with a grunt, dragged herself up and proceeded to lead the team in tries, as well as put my boys to shame eating cheeseburgers at the gluttonous Oinkster afterward.
If it’s too late for my spoiled kids, I’m going to get into this youth rugby thing, I’m hitching my wagon to Megan.
Grote2Dax, the incumbent Oscar winner of MTM and who has had a pint or two at rugby matches, will be here to Minecraft, tomorrow.