Let’s talk sports Christmas sports toys: joy is in the eye of the beholder

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What we loved and brought us Christmas morning joy as children was just as real as the joy electronic and computer games bring to children today, said Mike Blake. | Unsplash

Let’s talk about Christmas sports toys.

Christmas morning… the opening of the toys. Is this the best feeling a child can have? OK, some adults too. But a kid, knowing that this package has socks, this one has a shirt, and oh, no… pajamas. OK, a book, maybe a poster… wait a minute, this one could be a toy. Tear off the paper and the kid’s eyes light up when he sees it… a toy. A sports toy.

Or better yet, at the time, a new baseball glove. The first thing you do is see who the name is on the glove. Was he a hero, or an enemy, or just a fringe player? Then you try the glove on your hand, then hammer it with the fist of your throwing arm. Then… you would wear it to your nose and smell the leather. Mmmmm, nothing like the leather of baseball gloves, except maybe some old fashioned baseball cards and that stale pink gum stick… mmmm.

OK, these are the good old days. Today, sports toys have become more sophisticated and more technological. In simpler times, simple toys had merit. A bat. A bike. A baseball game with a spinning top – I had “Mickey Mantle Big League Baseball” with a spinning top and die shaker. And there was a game with a ball and a bat on a hinge, and card games that had players and games on them. Tudor’s electric games had players with scotch slides at the bottom, and the vibrating board made them move. I’ve always had a footballer who went around in circles, one who didn’t move at all and a guy who backed up. Bas-Ket, from Cadaco, had a lever device that would shoot a ping pong ball, and if you missed, the ball would roll into an open slot so that you or your friend could shoot next. A real interactive game was “Pitchback,” a net that pitched and propelled a ball towards you after you threw it at the target. A hockey stick? A soccer ball? Golf clubs or a tennis racket? Council of Carroms? Basketball nerf? A set of whistling balls? A frisbee? Paddle ball – this small rubber ball attached to a paddle with a rubber band. A Hacky Bag? All were greeted with joy. Of course, we wanted turf darts as well, but that’s a different story.

Simple games and simpler times.

Beginning with “Pong”, computer games replaced the old ones and became more sophisticated with joysticks replaced by buttons or devices that the player moved around the actual action screen. And the holograms brought the player into action with their own real movements.

This year there are plenty of nerf-ammo shooter games, WWE action figures, games you download to your phone, or the big boys including “Madden 22” for the soccer game, crafting games. strategies like an NFL coach. There are “NBA2K22” for your PC and “Out of the Park Baseball 22”, and “NHL2020” and dozens of PC sports games in which your hand and finger eye skills and strategy determine your outcome. And all Playstation games… up to PS5 now?

I’m not listing the myriad of fighting, survival, and superhero games and making your own environment games and limiting this discussion to traditional sports, but you can add drones and rc racing cars to the mix. listing.

Today’s realistic onscreen imagery puts you right in the middle of the action – and you were once the action. The advances are amazing, fascinating, creative and remarkable, and the feel is real. You ARE in the game. There is something to be said about sophistication, and kids today want it as much as we wanted this glove.

What we loved and brought us Christmas morning joy as children was just as real as the joy electronic and computer games bring to children today. It’s the same, just different. I wouldn’t trade the old, simpler sports gifts for anything, but today’s tech-savvy kids wouldn’t either.

So, when shopping, keep children’s smiles in mind. Forget about socks and pajamas… give your child a toy.

What do you think? What was your favorite gift toy when you were a kid? What are you missing and what are you buying for your child or grandchild today? Email me at mike @ kvsun.com and let’s talk about sport.

See you next time.


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