On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS December 16, 2013 #467 Up next…”Famous!”

After further review…A family friend, who teaches fourth graders in our community, recently asked her twenty-five students “What would you like to be when you grow up?” She said the question was designed to help students in the class get to know each other better. Further she asked each student to stand in giving their response. While they were asked to stand, you had better sit down in reading their answers!

Most of them said “Famous” or “Rock Star” or “Celebrity” or “NBA Star” (not simply player, but “star”) Another student said “A millionaire” and when asked why, replied “’Cause a millionaire doesn’t have to work, he (notice the gender) can just do whatever he wants all day”. The composition of this class is broad in its ethnicity with representative kids from Caucasian, African-American, Asian, and Middle Eastern backgrounds. The stereotypical American middle class of previous generations, full of candidates for the “white collar” jobs their educations were geared to, are not so evident in this group. So be it; it’s a different world with different priorities that we inhabit now.

But some things remain the same. Did you know what you wanted to be as an adult when you were in the fourth grade? The world of dreams and the world of work do not always line up neatly with each other. Can one fault these nine-year olds for their answers in 2013, when they are bombarded by television and the internet content that glamorizes wealth and privilege and ease?

The signing of free agent baseball player Robinson Cano by the Seattle Mariners made headlines in most of the country’s major newspapers this week. It took a 10-year, $240 million contract to lure him away from the perennially well-to-do Yankees. Cano is a second baseman! He has three or four at-bats per game and fields a similar number of ground balls. Next season, he will make approximately $150,000 per game.

The Dominican Cano’s namesake Jackie Robinson never had a 10-year contract and probably never made $150,000 in his entire 12-year MLB career. Any wonder why today’s kids are so seduced by the big money and all the attention it attracts? Kobe Bryant: two years, $24 million. Bartolo Colon: two years, $20 million. The cost of four MLB free agents in 2013 ($538,000,000) exceeds the anticipated costs ($425,000,000) of a 2016 mission to Mars!

Is this what the “American Dream” has become? Is this what this millennium generation of kids expects as their due? What’s it all about Alfie?

Will you log-in your thoughts about how our young people can build a more realistic future?

To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email him at jim@jimtunney.com.

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