Aaron commandeered me to take him to Sports Authority (with my credit card) to buy him (and Adam) some support underwear to wear with their swimsuits. $20+/pair. Three pair for each of them set me back almost $150! Incredible! I stood there today in that sports store looking around, thinking of all the things that didn’t exist when I was their age. We made our sports clothes. Cut offs and t-shirts. No money spent. We went barefoot and drank water from hoses. We had several choices for our balls: basketballs, footballs, baseballs, or kickballs. Today’s kids have dozens of choices for each type of ball.
I saw running clothes, workout clothes, yoga clothes, specialized clothing for each sport made out of every possible type of high tech fabric. The shoe section alone took up a third of the store. We wore tennis shoes and thongs. Today thongs are worn on another part of the body and flip flops go on your feet. There were dozens of necessary sunglasses and sports watches and energy food packets. To be a “serious” athlete in today’s world, kids are persuaded that they must have it all. Parents who want their kids to excel in a sport often give in and deck them out with $100s of dollars of gear. Amazing.
I was a competitive swimmer for 12 years. Each year I got one new Speedo swimsuit. By the end of the season, it was faded and worn. I still have all my old suits in a box somewhere with all my ribbons and medals. Nothing even slightly resembles them in stores today. I probably paid between $15-$20 for each suit. When I was a junior in high school, a new high-tech swimsuit was marketed. It was called a Belgrade. It cost about $60 and it was made of a new fabric called Lycra. These suits had a high neck with and two snaps on one shoulder. There was a narrow slit down the back that was laced to let any air escape. Color options: only royal blue. I was the only one on my high school team who had a Belgrade. It was skin tight and you had to peel it on and off. I only wore it for swim meets so it wouldn’t wear out. It eventually did wear out. It lost its elasticity. It was the only high-tech sports gear I ever owned.