Zoomer Boomer: Buy, practice, play — enjoy
Please consider the word “play” and its associated definition which is “to engage in sport or recreation.” Now also please consider the financial magnitude of the industry that has been built up around adult playing and you begin to appreciate some of the economic impact and opportunity represented by the Zoomer Boomer generation.
This industry growth did not happen by accident. Ours is the first generation where the conscious pursuit of leisure and recreational activities was a viable choice, indeed perceived by some as a right. Simple economic survival was replaced following WWII with the returning GI’s combined with a global industrial capability unrivaled in the world. This capability fueled an economic explosion that, for the vast majority of American citizens, led to a tremendous increase in the fuel for recreation—disposable income. It is no accident that this explosion also coincided with the growth in the automobile industry, the housing industry, the entertainment industry and just about every other industry you can think of. Previously regarded luxury purchases, the domain of the very few and very rich, suddenly were accessible by the average Joe and Josephine in the street.
Now fast forward to today and we the children of the average Joe and Josephine are continuing, indeed accelerating this trend. And savvy marketers are locked on this trend. When you read that some new bicycles are now selling for $10,000 surely everyone knows that few young adults can afford such a toy. Think about the golf club, the driver selling for $500 with the tag line of “choosing to play a better game.” Go to a softball or tennis tournament and check out the high priced, performance boosting bats and racquets in the bags of Zoomers. But then reflect on this simple observation: they are all selling an illusion of success founded on ignoring the personal physical component. Said differently, superior equipment is great and fun to have but if you aren’t willing to put in the physical effort in practicing or training, then you are sadly misleading yourself if you think that you will get better.
And getting “better” is a prime motivator for these purchases. No one goes out and buys a new golf club, tennis racquet, softball bat, or bicycle so that they can get “worse.” Yet the key to getting better actually is having more time. And this is something that is almost impossible to buy. But maybe this is the exact contradiction that we Zoomers have to confront.
Now in our sixties (and up!) we are dealing with the realities of mortality. We are dealing with a perception, perhaps vague, of a certain finiteness of contradiction. More lifetime is what we don’t have, but more leisure time we do. Sports and hobbies can fill that leisure time. Our real opportunity lies in the enjoyment of the sports we have chosen to pursue and having that enjoyment as much in the training and practicing as in the actual playing. And, of course, a side order of some good equipment makes it just that much more fun.
Following a successful international business career, John Riddell turned his attention to small business/entrepreneurial pursuits that included corporate turn-arounds, start-ups, teaching as an adjunct business school professor, authoring noted business and sports columns, and serving as VP for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce directing its Center for Entrepreneurial Growth. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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