Sunday, May 26, 2013

FTT Off-Topic: Clubland for Kids

Get your bounce on
As always with FTT O-T, not sports and not sorry; read or bail.

This may seem like a commercial endorsement, but it's really not. Rebounderz is a franchise indoor trampoline arena, and a place I took the kids on vacation in Florida last month. With the holiday weekend happening and my girls having a really solid day on a lot of levels, I found another franchise location and rolled them over on a Saturday night.

Unlike our Florida experience, the place was packed and catering to a tween to teen audience, though there were tons of littler kids there, too. My girls immediately got into the swing of things, so I found a bench and sat down to wait out their hour. (Why didn't I join them on the trampolines? Because they have both benefited from years of gymnastics experience, and, well, I have not. Besides, the Shooter Family Knees are not good things, despite the years of running and weight work.) And as I sat there, it hit me: there's really not much that's stylistically different between this place and a dance club.

Both places have a volume of house music that is designed to alienate people beyond the prime demographic. Both are venues where you don't get to set foot unless you have a basic competence, as well as the confidence to get over yourself if you look bad. Both rooms appeal to both genders, but in both situations, you see more girls than boys. Both seem wildly profitable and devoid of appeal if you aren't ready to participate, and both places are a lot less fun when they are empty -- and equally intolerable if overcrowded. And both places have to bounce people who don't follow the rules, since it's a relatively easy play to get hurt if someone doesn't know what they are doing, or not taking the activity seriously.

Having said that, of course, there are huge differences; girls aren't getting dressed in ridiculous ways to go bounce on a tramp, and there's nothing in the way of drink, smoke or drugs that is the more or less necessary appetizer to the dance club meal. You don't feel bad about your kid liking a tramp arena; you actually feel more than a little pride, especially when she's hitting her flips and exercising for the full hour, rather than gasping like a beached fish and/or bailing out for the arcade and snack bar.

But in both places, you are watching the present rapidly becoming the future. Tonight, I saw a girl that was more or less the same hair, hair color, posture and clothing style sense as my youngest, but just a few years down the road.

It goes fast, folks.

It goes very fast indeed.

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