It’s hard to admit, but boy, am I getting old.
I need glasses to read.
Fiber isn’t just the threads that make my clothes anymore.
My idea of partying is now hitting a buffet line or waiting with the masses at Sonic.
My greatest fear has also come true.
You know this one. You say something and then stop in your tracks. You realize you sounded just like your parents.
And then you cringe.
One of the topics my elders would always discuss was the future of our country.
They’d look, shaking their heads, at the latest generation — running around with long hair, platform shoes, bell bottoms and boom boxes — and figured the world would be doomed by the time it grew up.
Now, I’m a member from that generation following the tradition of the ones before me. I shake my head sometimes at the latest generation — running around with oddly dyed hair, flip flops, pajama pants and cell phones — and wonder if the end of the world is nearer than we think.
It’s all a matter of perspective.
I’m baffled by the glazed looks and tuned-out concentration this generation gets when it is staring at a computer screen or working a smart phone. They seem to fall somewhere between the Twilight and Danger zones when their eyes get locked in on one of those screens.
It is probably what my parents were thinking when I was staring at our old black-and-white TV.
I’ve never had children, but I’ve been around a lot of kids over the years to see this. In fact, I’ve been involved in unofficial research for 10 years with a classic test case in the office.
But then, an incident pops up that makes me reassess my thinking.
This time it came in the form of the Clear Spring Little League 11-12 All-Star team that started play this weekend at the Maryland state tournament in Brunswick, Md. For many of them, this will be twice-in-a-lifetime experience, since they were the District 1 representatives who won the state title on the 9-10 level two summers ago.
In an era when “Huh,” “Whatever” and “Uh-huh” are standard responses, this is a bunch that breaks the mold.
Sure, they are 11 preteens having the time of their lives. They are on summer vacation, playing baseball and hanging out with their friends.
They proved it Thursday while watching their 9-10 brethren playing in Conococheague’s River City Classic. They walked in packs, wearing their jerseys and team hats, while laughing and carrying snow cones back from the concession stand.
Yet, even though it was down time, there was still a focus.
They exhibited a composure and maturity that comes when a group becomes a team becoming much more.
“We play baseball as a team. We win as a team. We lose as a team. And we do things together as a team,” said player A.J. Yost. “This isn’t the same team (as two years ago), but we are family.”
Family is a bold word coming from a 12-year-old. Usually at their age, they are pushing away from authority and trying to find ways to express themselves as individuals.
In a sense, the Clear Spring bunch is doing that. They are plying their individual talents into a team — and family — effort.
More importantly, they know that and express it in articulate fashion.
Clear Spring starts with the ability to react during the heat of the battle, which is a testament to manager Pete Lazich and his coaching staff.
“I knew what I had to do, but so did everyone else,” said Garrett Embly on July 13 after delivering a game-winning hit against National during the run to the district title.
It works because the players understand and accept their roles, even if they don’t start.
“When I play, I do the best I can for the team,” said Joe Micco. “This is a team sport. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the team.”
That humility fuels higher expectations.
“We’re ready and we’re pumped,” said Connor Michael. “We are ready to meet new teams (at the state tournament). We want to see if any of them are the same as a couple of years ago and see how we stack up.”
It all keeps Clear Spring humble because the team understands it has its own special place in history, but is still cautious.
“It’s amazing. We are the first team from Clear Spring to win the 11-12 title,” said Josh Colliflower. “… Some nervousness is good. If you get nervous, you have more emotions. You can’t just come into a game thinking you are going to win. You can still get beat.”
Back in the old days, there was a show called, “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” It focused on the cute comments that youngsters come up with.
Clear Spring’s 11-12 All-Stars are still kids saying the darndest things, but they are much more polished than anything I would have uttered in my day.
That blend of maturity and focus makes me feel a heck of a lot better about the future and will make it easier to read about them — with my glasses.
Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by email at email@example.com.