There's always a better way to do something, and if it's not the entrapment of mice, then it's the driving of balls. Americans are a nation of tinkerers. They can't even let their Constitution alone, much less their tennis game. Everything's got to be new and improved, better and bigger. And, at that, it's still available for amendment. Having invoked the image of Franklin (Constitution, top tinkerer), we generalize as follows: It's a short walk from Big Ben to Big Bertha.
Yes, you hate the ping of aluminum bats on summer days, when the thonk of wooden ones is more likely to remind you of a time when autographs were free. Tennis rackets the size of manhole covers are equally off-setting to "purists." Also, ordinary mopes like you and me probably shouldn't have access to radioactive-sounding metals that make our mountain bikes light enough to wear on a charm bracelet. But technology denied is an unpatriotic idea. Have you ever checked into a hotel and then realized you'd have to get up out of bed to change the channel? Life without a remote is a life not worth living, except as part of a historical reenactment.
See, it's called progress. And you don't want to get in the way. (Do you, Mr. Kaczynski?) We've got materials, developed for the space program, that can make our golf balls travel entire zip codes. Bows (with enough pulleys and cables to equip a Manhattan sex chamber) that can punch arrows through our neighbor's Kevlar hunting jacket. Parabolic skis that allow the clumsiest of us to avoid the trees.
Yet people—the purists—are affronted by all this invention when it comes to competitive sports. Nobody minded when Tang showed up in the grocery store, but let NASA develop something that makes the ball explode off our driver, and votes get taken. Why? It's not like the best players don't still win. It can't be that technology has deprived us of the joy of finesse. What joy? When scrawny shortstops began getting 400 feet out of checked swings in the College World Series, attendance increased in direct proportion to the crabbing of purists.
Without technology we wouldn't have garage-door openers or microwave ovens, or even the ability to perform important operations. We wouldn't have pole vaulters packing oxygen during competition. We wouldn't have Nintendo or clap-skates. We wouldn't have the Clapper! We wouldn't have sneakers so specialized that only Imelda Marcos could be a three-sport letterwoman.
Look, anything that makes a game more fun to play or watch should be welcomed without a vote. Anything that can be improved, ought to be. It's the American way.