I’m going to blame the dawning of “it” on FM radio.
Defining “it” is complex.
In college a professor once lectured his class about the lack of attendance at the K-State football game.
That fall the typical offensive play by the Wildcats was for Steve Grogan to drop back three steps for a pass and then run for his life.
Under coach Vince Gibson, K-State was 4-7 that season in the Big 8. Grogan finished the season with 67 completions on 144 attempts for 834 yards in 11 games.
Of course, Gibson went on to play for the New England Patriots where he had a line that would give him time to make a play and he spent 16 years in the pros.
But my answer to the professor about the lack of attendance, back when there was actually general admission seating to K-State games, was not the poor performance on the field. It was because there were so many other things happening on Saturday afternoons and a choice had to be made. And then, those options were really not that plentiful.
For me, “it” started with FM radio.
Life was pretty simple before that invention.
There was one channel on the one black and white television in the household. There were no arguments about what to watch: Gunsmoke, All in the Family, M*A*S*H, The Carol Burnett Show and, of course, The Ed Sullivan Show.
ON the radio WLS out of Chicago could sometimes be heard at night.
Friday nights we went to either football games or the Plaza Theater where one night I sat by a pretty girl with long hair and black glasses.
Pretty sure I didn’t even hold her hand that Friday night but I gave her a kiss this Halloween morning as she sent me off to work dressed as Clark Kent.
Then came 99KG.
In 1970 the Salina radio station began playing Top 40 music under the call letters KSKG.
Not only did that give us more choices as we cruised Buckeye and Third Street from Green Acres Bowling Alley to Dean’s Carry Out on weekends, it gave us a station that we could actually hear clearly.
Next came KJCK-FM at 97.5 on the dial and that was the start of the flipping game.
Next “it” grew with the emergence of cable television, not that we benefitted by the dozen stations available while living in rural Abilene.
Eventually the remote control was invented and the flipping game exploded. “It” became more complicated.
“It” played a key role in a recent soon-to-be 7-year-old’s birthday party.
First “it” was difficult finding a day to host the party. A party being held closer to the actual birthdate next month proved impossible with activities already on the family’s busy schedule.
The birthday party was held on Saturday and the concern was how many of the actual invited guests could attend. No worries. Plenty of first graders showed up.
With the help of a former elementary teacher and the celebrant’s daddy, it turned into an old-fashioned birthday celebration without cell phones.
Invitations for every female classmate were handwritten on cards and handed out at school with the teacher’s permission. They were not sent by email, text, Instagram, Facetime or Skype.
Several of the birthday girl’s friends attended, playing pin-the-ponytail on Barbie and Sweet Shoppe Bingo, coloring pictures of Barbie and playing old-fashioned outdoor games like Drop the Handkerchief and Fruit Basket Upset.
Of course the party included ice cream, cake and pink lemonade.
“It”? That would be the choice that kids and adults have to make in any given moment on any given day. Give me an old-fashioned event with fewer choices any day.