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Old farts and their hobbies

June 9, 2008

This past weekend, me and the family spent an hour or so at the Manassas Railway Heritage Festival. Several groups had model train layouts setup underneath the Pavilion. These layouts are, of course, why we really go. Ethan (and his daddy) LOVE this sort of stuff. Ethan could have stayed there all day just staring at the trains.

However, whenever I go to any event that has some layouts setup, I just get the impression that it’s all a bunch of old farts who don’t really care for anyone (ESPECIALLY kids) looking at or maybe even touching their precious little trains. This is NOT the way to get new people into a hobby. The Lego group setup was an exception, they didn’t mind Jocelyn saving the little surfer dude from a shark, nor did they mind Ethan staring at some HUGE Lego Technic bulldozer something or other that someone was showing to some of the other group. They actually talked to the kids and were nice.

Now, contrast this to whenever I go to a rocket launch (NOVAAR, of which I’m actually a member, but the experience I’m talking of was before I joined). Folks there are a hell of a lot more pleasant and the age range is much wider. 6 year olds on up to, well, pretty old folk out there launching their rockets. Or when I go to a RC car race, or a get together of RC flyers. They may not necessarily stop and talk to you, but they just seem a hell of a lot happier and nicer. They’ll talk to Ethan about their planes/rockets/whatever (unless said item just made a smoking hole in the ground).

Of course, this could just be my, admittedly narrow, experience. It could also just be confirmation bias, in that I only remember the bad instead of the good. Or maybe I’m just an ass, and that’s why the old farts never say anything to me or Ethan (or even LOOK at us). I’m skeptical of the latter, though, judging by my experiences at gatherings of different hobbyists (rockets and RC planes/cars/helicopters/etc.).

When you complain that there’s little new blood coming into a hobby, sometimes you have to look internally.

Here are some pics that crazymokes (ie “THE WIFE”) took on her cell phone at the festival:

Jocelyn on a caboose

Ethan and Daddy staring at the Lego train

Jocelyn looking at the lego train.

Jocelyn looking at the lego train.

Jocelyn looking at the lego train.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 9, 2008 9:31 am

    Nice DGM t-shirt. Though I had you pegged as more of a Hot Wife kind of guy…

  2. james permalink
    June 9, 2008 9:51 am

    My Hot Wife bought it for me…

    Someone at the BBQ we went to after this asked her husband if _I_ was the Dad Gone Mad writer.

    She’s obviously NEVER seen anything I’ve written.

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