As a sports-obsessed culture pokes its foam finger ever earlier into childhood, there's a growing mania for assessing talent, divining potential and generally turning life into the NFL combine. And so we find our children at this strange intersection, at the corner of Mel Kiper and Wet Diaper.
All it's costing us is the here and now. In our strange new concept of space and time, the future is somehow a measurement of the present, so that a Heisman Trophy winner is only worthy of being called the best player in college football if he later succeeds in the NFL. This strange phenomenon—call it retroactive validation—keeps us living in a perpetual next year.
And it comes with an implicit corollary. Your daughter is wasting her time playing soccer if she'll never be the next Abby Wambach. Which is, of course, insidious. Instead of capturing my daughter's DNA on a swab, I'm capturing her Little League joy on camera, before those moments make like a butterfly and flutter by.