America’s Equipment Obssession

I haven’t yet met a nation more in love with its equipment.

I live close to a bike path. Every weekend hordes of exercise minded Americans come to bike. It’s a wondrous site to see.

Some subset of these folks are a bit overweight, carrying perhaps an extra 40 or 50 pounds.

Bless them for exercising, it’s wonderful. As is their choice of attire and equipment.

When I see someone who’s clearly quite out of shape riding a $1500 bike in extremely stretched lycra biker ensemble, I have to wonder. Do you really need the extra milliseconds the aerodynamic nature of that lycra outfit buys you? Are you really able to exercise the extra capabilities of the $1500 bike, versus the $200 one you could get a Costco?

I’m coaching my son’s soccer team. These kids are 4 and 5 years old. All have cleats and shin protectors. Wonderful.

I played soccer most days for the first 14 years of my life. I never wore a shin guard. Not once. I bought my cleats when I got to America. I’ve played plenty of games where the ball was a crushed soda can. Part of soccer’s popularity is due to the very fact that you need almost nothing to play it.

A good friend of mine has several thousand dollars worth of scuba equipment he uses at best once a year.

I’m fascinated by the “let’s buy the uniform and the equipment” mentality that goes along with sports in this country. There’s something culturally significant about this. I just haven’t figured out what yet. Perhaps it’s the shoes.