I know they’re millennials and I’m old, but . . . I need depth of moment

Skaters arrived in my city and hurled themselves down a steep, curving ice track at speeds of more than 50 km/h.

crashed ice starting gate

Crashed Ice starting gate with the Chateau Laurier in the background

The ice cross downhill athletes performed the feat on a track constructed in a breathtaking setting beside the historic Chateau Laurier and inside the Rideau Canal lock system. Who knows if anything like it will ever happen again in Ottawa?

Red Bull® Crashed Ice was an event not to be missed.

Off we went on Friday night. The sky lit up for miles around with the flashing light show. The bridge on which we stood over the Rideau Canal vibrated with the thumpa-thumpa of the non-stop pumping music. We craned our necks to see over the huge crowds and tried to figure out what was going on. We needed to deduce the action for ourselves because the young announcers for the event failed to live up to the basic requirements of their job description; that is, letting the spectators know what is happening. Information arrived to us in spotty patches. Skaters flew out of the starting gate with no warning. We didn’t know who most of the skaters were, where they were from or even what event they were skating in. I’d guess that five of eight skaters had backflipped down the track before the announcer informed us it was the semi-finals of the freestyle event. The commentary consisted mainly of “Whoa! Wow man.”

The Bytown Museum lit up with Crashed Ice lights

The Bytown Museum lit up with Crashed Ice lights

In the end, I didn’t marvel as long as one might expect over the daring of skaters who, by choice, (no one shoved them from behind off the starting block or anything) leaped off a precipitous ledge into a steep, icy hairpin turn. I didn’t gape at their breakneck (literally) speed.

Instead I mused about how we as a human race seem to be losing depth of moment

No need to know or remember the names, the inconsistent commentary seemed to suggest: You can Google everything later. Were you looking down at your Twitter feed when a skater whizzed by? No worries. It’ll probably be on YouTube.

Before the Internet, before search engines and social media, the announcers of such an event would have felt the weight of their responsibilities. They would have known that they were the sole, fleeting source of information about the happenings unfolding in the moment. They would have felt some urgency to get the 5 Ws and the How to the spectators at the time. Our younger don’t feel the same pressures.

We are drifting away from “living in the moment” toward “living in the moment we look up later.” 

I know they’re millennials and I’m old, but I like to live fully in the now with all the information I need for that moment.

I won’t need to look anything up later. I’ll be too busy enjoying the next fantastic deep moment. 

The Crashed Ice track under construction in the Rideau Canal lock system, with the Chateau Laurier in the background

The Crashed Ice track under construction in the Rideau Canal lock system, with the Chateau Laurier in the background





4 thoughts on “I know they’re millennials and I’m old, but . . . I need depth of moment

  1. Don

    Well said. It seemed the overall “experience” was what was on offer, and the races themselves, which is why we were there, were of secondary importance.

  2. New Earth Paradigm

    Hi Jamie — I quite understand your perspective. I’ve had my own challenges with the hows and whys of the Millennial Generation — mostly concerning grammar and spelling.
    However, I am beginning to appreciate what these young ones (I’m older than you by at least a decade) bring the the Party. I hold the text spelling as a step toward letting go of written and spoken language altogether — telepathy is our future and these younger ones are leading us to it. I don’t believe they even know that. It will be the generation or two AFTER them that actually takes us there, IMO.

    Regarding the seeming reliance on social media and the internet to “pick up the moment later” — I like to think of it that they are showing us what it’s like to be part of a Collective Being who has many parts of Itself absorbing what is going on in any given moment. SOMEbody is present — so therefore I AM too.

    I have to admit it’s taken me years to understand even this much and i may be giving too much credit where credit is not due. I do believe that each successive generation is building upon what the previous one has gained. We Boomers interrupted the status quo pattern that had been securely in place for millennia back in the 60s. We basically said to our parents: We ain’t taking this BS forward! No more! It mostly worked — at least we got the ball rolling.
    I think we need to trust these younger ones to come in and do “their bit” Their way.” Our parents did not understand or appreciate our bit nor our way but here we are 60 years later and I can see how these younger ones have built on what we started. It’s pretty amazing!

  3. quillfyre

    I too see a world living not in the moment but an hour later, not seeing “breaking news” but watching it later in replay, while ignoring another piece of “happening right now”. And yet, when I watch this event as it unfolds, I can’t help but compare it to my own experience in past decades, at the top of a ski slope above a hill of steep moguls, or sitting at home watching world-class skiers racing downhill in pursuit of a medal. The competitor is there in their own moment, and the people watching? They are not quite in the same frame, but enjoy it vicariously from the sidelines. Of course, back then there was a lot less hype, a lot less commercialization, and absolutely no hand-held, smart devices. I think we’ve lost far more than we have found.


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