The Over/Under on Scheduling

With regard to the cognitive and social development of their children during the non-school (ie. "non-work") time of leisure, parents are rethinking their chosen strategies for success. Packing too many activities into a demanding timetable regimen is perceived to have negative effects on child, parents and total family unit, and hence the beginning of a shift from the overscheduled to the underscheduled.

Organized sport and fitness demands such a timetable, however, mostly due to scarcity — a scarcity of playing facilities, a scarcity of players of similar skill level at any particular moment, etc. Hence, the timetable ensured that there would be enough of a critical mass at a particular space and time to stage an event.

Moving to the unscheduled does not necessarily imply a return to the romanticism of free play, however.

What happens when we move to the online sport and fitness universes of Playstation Home, Xbox Live, EA Sports, (and soon) Wii Fit? Is the aforementioned local scarcity eliminated by the global decentralized mass of anytime-available "dividual" users and rapidly replicating server farms, such that the strict barriers of the timetable begin to dissolve? And what happens to the athletic body in the process?

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  1. david ker thomson says:

    Yeah, what happened to all the pickup games we had when we were kids? We moved as close to the center of our city (Toronto, a no-longer provincial city in Canada) as we could so we wouldn't have to drive and so there'd be enough kids around for our kids to play with. But kickball, soccer, street hockey–even the idea of a pickup game has disappeared. The only pickup games left are in basketball, apparently. Everything else is parents doing their "duty" and driving kids to organized play. Throwing snowballs at cars is still fun, but I advise my kids never to do it, not unless they can outrun the drivers. Training in parkour is ongoing. Jon Beller, as I'm sure you know, has a great account of what kids and other humans are doing in their spare time instead, in his The Cinematic Mode of Production: Attention Economy and the Society of the Spectacle. When I put a sign on one of the computers in the house that said 'tention machine, the boys rebelled and ripped it down.
    I've seen this blog before…hmm…Anyway, good stuff here…