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Sail away

Posted by Charles P. Pierce  June 14, 2010 03:32 PM

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I agree that, whether you're using your own personal spalpeens or someone else's by proxy, child-based sportswriting is just about the absolute nadir of the form. That said, I can't say I go along with the argument that the general reaction to Abby Sunderland''s Excellent Adventure, and to her father's altogether too-obvious profiteering, is some sort of age-ist, sexist reaction to a young girl and her dream. I'm sorry, but any parent who lets a teenager attempt something like this, whether said teenager succeeds or not, is simply a fool. The problem I have with it is not simply bad parenting per se. It's the heedless, reckless, and, yes, greedy chase after spurious records that really don't mean a damn.

Why not explain to your child that, once he or she turns 18 -- Or 21. Your mileage may vary on the age limit. -- you will be all in favor of their attempting this prodigious feat of skill and courage? When did simply sailing around the world alone somehow become Not Enough? It's an astonishing achievement, far beyond the abilities of 99.995 percent of the people on the planet. Does it really have to matter that you were 22 when you did it?

"Because it's there," used to be a perfectly adequate reason for doing something like this. I think the world made more sense before reality television.

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