Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Ellis is playing basketball in the St. Paul Parks and Recreation youth league for the first time this winter. He's having a great time, and the family is having fun watching basketball games every weekend.

I've unofficially named his team the "Future IT Professionals of America" because if any group of boys is likely to work in computer science, it's this one. They are classic nerds. Even their best player, who is quite athletic, sometimes hikes his shorts up a bit too high on his waist. Ellis often runs down the court flailing his long, thin arms like a Muppet, on purpose, because he likes to act like a goofball. Here is a sample conversation I overhead between Ellis and one of his teammates prior to a game:

Teammate: Do you like pickles?
Ellis: No.
Teammate (in robot voice): Then you have an anti-pickle brain.

A few weeks ago, Ellis said to me, "My skills are technology and sports." The technology thing is no surprise. The first time that kid used a computer, you could practically see the neurons firing in excitement in his brain. His dream job is designing video games. Identifying himself as someone who plays sports is a new thing, though, and it makes me so happy that he sees no conflict between the two things and actually has a whole group of kids with which he can play basketball on the court and talk about Minecraft on the sidelines.

It used to more typical for nerds and jocks to exist in separate worlds. One of the positive side-effects of the integration of technology into everything we do is that nerd culture, in many ways, has just become culture. That's a clear mark in the "W" column for my kid.

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