In last month’s Wired magazine, Vint Cerf of Google cites American computer scientist Alan Kay’s comment, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
Wired’s Thomas Goetz writes, “Too much of the technology world is trying to build clever solutions to picayune problems.” (A quick look at the more than 1.2 million mobile phone applications available free or for sale in our world today – growing by 2,500 per day – makes the observation abundantly clear that many great minds are being wasted on the mundane, silly apps that do nothing to improve the quality of life for humankind.)
Goetz would have these talents aimed at much higher order needs of society. “These times especially call for more than mere incrementalism. Let’s demand that our leaders get in over their heads, that they remain a little bit naïve about what they’re getting into.”
And what might “going beyond incrementalism” look like for us in school sports? Well, on just one topic – health and safety – it might mean, as provocative samples to stimulate bigger and better ideas:
Restricting kickoff returns, punt returns and interception returns in football – the three most dangerous times for players.
Reducing heading of the ball in soccer to reduce the effects of repeated blows to the brain.
Requiring all head coaches to complete CPR training, and requiring all coaches on all levels to complete an online coaching fundamentals course within their first two years of coaching.
Presenting an AED with every MHSAA tournament trophy – District, Regional and Final, for both champion and runner-up – during each of the next four years.
In any event, we need to avoid the distraction of meaningless matters and fix our focus on larger issues, and risk raising ideas and making changes that could have more lasting impact than incremental changes. Just talking about these things begins to send messages that improve school sports. Doing some things like them would actually invent our future.