Virtual reality pales to the real thing

Time spent in any pursuit that proves to be relatively unproductive is often viewed, at least by some, as time squandered

Time spent in any pursuit that proves to be relatively unproductive is often viewed, at least by some, as time squandered.

I suppose fishing could very well fall into such a category. Personally, I have always felt that time squandered fishing was time well spent.

Fishing, gold panning, observing nature, daydreaming – they can all be relatively unproductive. Be that as it may, this past summer I probably spent about an equal amount of time pursuing all four activities and, while I admit I only had a minimal amount of success fishing and gold panning, I would also have to say I did enjoy myself immensely.

I have always enjoyed spending time in the great outdoors. However, I am not so sure a significant number of young people now-a-days would be willing to say the same thing, and that worries me.

It would seem, at least in my opinion, that far too many young people simply do not feel any sort of connection to nature and the outdoors. Too many young people are too busy holed up in their bedrooms communicating on Internet chatrooms or playing video games rather than getting outside and enjoying the wonders of nature.

After all, these young people are some day going to be the caretakers and guardians of out natural world. If there is a disconnect with nature now, what does the future hold?

It’s not that I have anything against computers or video games. I also concede that video games require a high level of skill. However, as much fun as playing a video game may be, there is still something to be said for doing things in the real world, things like casting a real fishing line to real fish and enjoying the heart-pounding thrill of tying into a three or four pound rainbow trout.

Take my word for it, casting a line to real fish is more satisfying than testing your skill level against a simulated facsimile on a computer screen.

There is also something to be said for being outside, seeing and smelling and listening to all the sights and sounds around you.

While I try not to spend too much time on the internet, the hours I do have to spend sitting in front of my computer screen are mostly spent gathering information for my column.

On the other hand, kids now-a-days do spend a significant amount of time using a variety of electronic devices. Granted, young people certainly do have to know a lot more about computers and how to find things on the Internet than I’ll ever need to know. Computers, electronic gizmos and virtual realities are part of their world, part of their learning process, part of their reality.

I know young people are under a lot of pressure to succeed. Certainly a lot more than when I was a kid. But there is also a special sense of peace and tranquility that comes with spending time on the water. Young people now-a-days, perhaps more than any other generation previous, need to experience nature and all the simple joys that come with spending time outdoors.

Perhaps it really is a generation thing. When I was a kid we were sent outdoors to play, and a good part of our ‘leisure time’ was spent communing with nature.

A lot of parents nowadays seem all too willing to spend money buying their kids video games rather than actually spending time doing things with their together.

My father raised four kids and he somehow managed to find time to spend with each and every one of us. I will be forever grateful for the hours we spent fishing and ‘communicating’ by simply talking to each other.

Young people should at least be given the opportunity to experience that special feeling you get when you come home after having spent the day sitting in a boat out in the middle of the lake – fishing, talking and sharing the kind of experiences they will remember for the rest of their lives.


Salmon Arm Observer

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