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Thread: America’s Lost Hobby & the Salvation of Our Youth

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    NorthWesterner now in Philippines

    America’s Lost Hobby & the Salvation of Our Youth

    America’s Lost Hobby & the Salvation of Our Youth

    by Stephen Cox

    I have figured out what is wrong with America’s youth. They don’t race slot cars anymore.

    In addition to being overly tattooed, body pierced and not pulling their pants up, most of them couldn’t define “HO scale” if you held a gun to their iPad.

    Racing HO scale Aurora AFX slot cars with the greatest man I’ve ever known – my dad – in our garage in the summer of 1969 taught me pretty much everything I needed to get through life. After slot car racing, formal education was anticlimactic.

    Because of slot car racing, I could identify a Mustang, Camaro or Corvette on sight. I knew Trans-Am from Can-Am. I learned that the Indy 500 is the only race on earth that really counts.

    Read full article here:

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    Paul Kassens
    OWH Slot Car Talk "Mom"
    The Old Weird Herald
    email: paulk@oldweirdherald.com

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Geographically Brooklyn, politically Berkeley
    Like the tide, discussions of "How To Save Our Hobby" rise and fall on a very regular schedule.

    One thing common to the writers all these threads, a thing that just about every one is totally unaware of: they are, to a man, writing with big blinders over their starry eyes.

    "Ohhh when I was a kid we ALL raced, we ALL built models - "
    - And that guy's talking about it, decades later, because he loved racing and building; and he was surrounded by "ALL" his friends, who shared the love...but he wasn't looking past the carport door, at "ALL" those other kids who weren't participating.
    He's a little shortsighted.
    It's worse: out of "ALL" those friends, how many actually did it well? How many stayed with it, or grew to pursue other hobbies with any level of dedication or skill? In other words, how many real hobbyists were around back then, that stayed hobbyists of one sort or another? This is important to consider, and here's why: there is actually compelling anthropological data that suggests that the percentage of skilled, motivated craftsmen of any discipline may be a constant in any population, right through the fossil record up to today - and indeed, in some way it may be genetically linked and hereditary.
    In other words, Mr. Cox not only makes the mistake of inflating the number of participants in the hobby, but might be incorrectly citing his son as an example of how the hobby should be disseminated - he's pointing at a done-deal example and claiming it could've gone any other way. Maybe not.

    There's more:
    "Ohhh, kids today're more interested in Twitter and online gaming than blah blah blah - "
    - Which completely ignores the truth that that's what's instantly accessible today, in the same way as hobbies were accessible back then!

    Listen, I'm 62 years old. I'll tell you what I remember in my house when I was 8-12 yrs.old: board games. Monopoly, Parcheesi, Checkers f'Gods' sake. And we never played them. Same goes for card games, there were beautiful decks in every drawer...
    And I later realized, these games were the holdovers from my parents' generation, family activities that had gone ignored when the TV moved into the living room and changed how families related forever.
    And when I got sick of being bored by Arthur Godfrey, I ducked into my room and built models.
    Because THAT'S what was available to do!
    Really, if the Internet had been there four decades earlier, we wouldn't be having this conversation today. It's our parents who'd have been moaning about it, in the same way they groaned about our lack of interest in Gin Rummy and Backgammon.

    "Ohhh the sky is falling the sky is falling - "
    Ehhhhh-No, the sky just arches over a whole lot of things, some of which we are more dimly aware of than others, and all of which are in constant flux. We're gonna miss some things when they're finally lost to us, and we're never gonna be aware of some real treasures in life that were lost before we knew.
    Just like every generation.
    Meantime, we all trundle along, maybe-okay / maybe-not-so-well.

    Let's enjoy the times we know; because we [apparently] turned out all right despite our parents' fears, and our kids are [apparently] finding their way in spite of all the dangers we see.

    What I know, there are still in every generation a handful of kids who pass by the slot track (or, insert whatever craftsmen's venue you wish here) and stop - and look - and never leave. As few as those numbers are - few as ever were, really - you can't keep a Craftsman down.

    It's in their Genes.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Long Island,N.Y.
    Well said Duff. True that! But I think slots should use all this new technology to promote itself.I saw a thread here on a online slot car video game.Hell,even blogs are outdated.We have to figure out how to incorporate the new into our "OLD" . Maybe if we all go to Toys-r-us and ask for HO sets. They'll think people want them and start carrying them again.Comeon guys,off to the mall toy store and start asking for HO sets.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    St Charles, Illinois, USA
    The problem is more insidious than that.
    1) Sports has been limited to what I call pre-industrial revolution "stick and stone" sports - ball games. Mechanical sports, such as auto and other motorized activities such as slot car racing are ignored by media. Track and field sports are caveman era. All good exercise, but not in tune with modern man.

    2) Electronic games have taken over as individual recreation activities, but internet tournaments can be held. Sponsers...?

    3) Educators and the automotive industry feel that hand tools and personal repairs should NOT be done by the common man(or woman). Our residences do not provide hobby space for our toys and tools.

    I grew up with a machine shop in my basement and a model train/slotcar track in the attic...and race cars in the garage. Sears and snap-on are my 'tools-R-us' store.
    Last edited by Ramcatlarry; 09-24-2012 at 12:45 PM.
    l.d. kelley, M.A. Ramcatlarry@aol.com

    60 year pin 1959-2019
    Racing slot cars in America
    USRA 2019 member
    IRRA, ISRA/USA, Hardbodies 1/24 &
    1/32 - Great Lakes Slot Car Club
    retired raceway owner 1992-2007
    Omni/Cidex service center

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    I think all the posters above have a valid point in their own way in this thread already! i do also think we need find a way to get ahold of the of HO slot car manufactures like wizzard for example. As i mentioned on a different post in the 60's, 70's and 80's a slot car track was the "new wave thing to have" and every little kid under the sun had to have one for their birthday or christmas. due to the fact of the advertisement on the T.V. screen. Today the T.V. doesn't even advertise any form of slot car racing no matter the scale but if you run into your local toy store i'm sure they'll be a SCX set or scaletricx sitting on the shelf.
    This is just the way the world spins and we all have to deal with it. Not that i was born in that era but if i recall people used to wear polyester shirts and bellbottom jeans and the music choice was disco or rock-n-roll and most of that faded away in time. However on the brighter side of thing's bellbottom jeans started making a comeback roughly 5-10 years ago. I think and "hope" slot car racing is far from over and it will share it's time in the lime light once again. We just need to come together perhaps at the next NATS races and find a new way to promote this wonderful family fun hobby once again.

    I can say my brother in jersey still has all his AFX track's and he has them set up in his attic and everytime i visit, i'm up their cleaning the rails, oiling the car's and havin fun, the next thing i know i turn my head and there are his kids sitting right next to me havin a blast and crashing cars.

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