On any journey, it’s important to know where you’re going and how to get there.
It’s also important to know the destination hasn’t changed.
Two of our daughters have been participating in sports where, frankly, I’m just not that familiar with where they play.
My freshman had a softball game scheduled in my hometown, and I genuinely scratched my head trying to figure out where they played their games, as I never attended a softball game as a teen.
It’s been just as baffling for my eighth-grader’s track meets. I’m familiar with where the track is at most places, but sometimes her events, the discus and shot put, aren’t necessarily visible to me.
Technology to the rescue!
We all have Google Maps on our phones, and we’ve given each other permission to see where someone is. While it’s caused some confusion in the past — my one daughter thought I’d lost my job when she saw I was at a wing restaurant for lunch — it’s been helpful for figuring out where people are. I can tell whether someone found a way home or not. I’ve been able to pick up kids from other people’s homes by simply telling my Google Maps to take me to that particular child.
I know some people are worried about the government tracking you with these tools. I don’t worry much about it, since they can track me whether I have Google Maps shared on my phone or not. The convenience for my family outweighs the privacy concern. Big brother may be watching, but so are Mom and Dad, and we all know it.
If anyone’s really interested in where I spend most of my time, the answer is work, home and traveling to and from our children’s events. I’m afraid there’s not a lot of excitement on my comings and goings, thus the government has no real interest in tracking how many times a week I end up in the high school’s parking lot. (Multiple times a day right now.)
With these sporting events, Google Maps has been amazingly accurate and helpful. I get close enough to the place to be able to find someone. I’ve even been able to find my wife at large outdoor shopping malls using this same technology.
We’d become relilant on it by the time Friday afternoon hit, as my wife and I traveled to Celina to watch the freshman’s softball team play. When we first left Lima to go there, it was apparent the bus was still on its way to Mercer County’s county seat, so we just headed in that general direction.
A bit later, as we drove through Auglaize County, my wife looked at my daughter’s location again and saw it was in a park. We plugged the location into our map, and we had our destination in place.
I don’t remember why, exactly, but my wife was back to looking at the map a few minutes later. To her surprise, my daughter was on the move!
Had the bus gone to the wrong park originally? Was my daughter’s phone on a bus that was driving away from her game now? Was our daughter abducted by aliens?
The answer, we eventually learned, was her team had shared a bus with a baseball team. They dropped off the baseball team where it was playing before heading over to the softball diamond. A few minutes later, the bus stopped for good at a different park, and they unloaded to play their game.
Technology is a wonderful tool, but here’s proof it’s only as reliable as the people trying to interpret it.
David Trinko is editor of The Lima News, a division of AIM Media Midwest. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.