Column: Its spring and kite flying timePublished 12:00am Thursday, April 24, 2008
By Jon Laging, Talking Sports
Our nation has done much better this past half century in giving girls the same opportunities as boys to play sports. I&8217;m old enough to remember when high school sports shut girls out. Now there are girls&8217; basketball, volleyball, softball, gymnastics and even hockey. All to the good, I say. We have seen a wonderful revolution in girls and women&8217;s participation in both indoor and outdoor sports.
However, and I may be wrong about this, there is an outdoor activity I have never seen a girl do. And I may be way off base in this and there is probably an association, club or league specifically for girls and this activity.
However, I have never seen a girl fly a kite. Please don&8217;t send me e-mails that Susie just flew a kite yesterday. On the other hand I&8217;d like to hear from you on the subject. My e-mail is And if I&8217;m right, girls should take up kite flying. Girls have always encouraged boys in the sport. Telling them on many occasions to &8220;go fly a kite.&8221;
I remember when I was a little boy, it was wonderful when spring arrived. The snow was off the ground, grass was greening and the sky was blue with a few puffy clouds following a nice steady wind. It was time to fly a kite.
&8220;O happy day.&8221; You could hardly wait for the school bell to ring. You quickly headed down to the five and dime store to appraise their kites and perhaps buy some string. If you were raised in a small town there might be two or three stores that had kites for sale. The choice was difficult. The kites had wonderful names. &8220;High flyer.&8221; &8220;Blue racer.&8221; &8220;Dragon kite.&8221; There was another type of kite to consider. There was, of course, the conventional kite shaped like a triangle. But there was a more spectacular kite. The box kite which was oblong with two sections. It was tempting, but most of us opted for the plain kite. The box kite was more expensive and harder to fly. All the kites named or not, fired up the imagination of an eight-year boy.
They were easy to put together, but there was aeronautical engineering that took place also. How long should the tail be? However, that could be adjusted during flight training. Getting the kite off the ground could be done by yourself, but it was best if you had a buddy hold the kite while you ran as hard as you could against the wind. Then wonder of wonders, the kite leaped into the air and you had lift off. The job of kite flying was not over, just because the kite was in the air. You had to make constant adjustments according to the vagaries of the wind. The wind might die down and you had to backpedal to keep the kite in the air. The wind might shift and die down and you found that is was headed for a &8220;Charley Brown&8221; kite eating tree that one had to be constantly aware of and do your best to avoid. When it was time for supper and your mom called for you to come in and wash up, it was really satisfying to reel the kite in. There was a sense of accomplishment. You had been flying.
While I didn&8217;t personally see a kite flying girl in my youth, I bet there are thousands and thousands of Mary&8217;s out there flying their own special kite. What could be more fun than a Mom or Dad flying a kite with his son or daughter. But if they don&8217;t need your help, don&8217;t give it, for what a chance it is for a little girl or boy to experience the accomplishment of kite flying on their own.
Jon Laging can be reached at email@example.com.