Outer Banks: Shining a light on the importance of relationships
Released in the thick of the pandemic, the Netflix hit show Outer Banks took the world by storm. As teens all over the country were stuck in their homes, Outer Banks provided an escape from the boredom millions of adolescents faced.
Outer Banks portrays the constant tension between John B and the Pogues, and Sarah Cameron and the Kooks. Over the course of the show, Sarah gravitates towards the Pogues, and together she and John B peel back the layers of Sarah’s father’s gory past. The Pogues’ treasure hunts lead them to foreign countries such as the Bahamas and Barbados, and the desire to be rich leads them to many dangerous situations.
However, the show has received mixed assessments from its viewers. Critics believe that the show is repetitive, as the main character John B’s on-and-off girlfriend, Sarah Cameron, continuously navigates between being a rich kook and a lower-class Pogue. Others believe that the show is only receiving viewership because of the romantic tension between JJ and Kiara. While many believe that the newfound romance was meant to be, others believe that it was bound to fail. Through the many conflicting opinions of the show despite its extremely unrealistic plot, Outer Banks shines a light on what’s really important in life.
From the first episode, it became clear to viewers that John B’s main goal was to find his father. While his peers believed it was a lost cause, John B was convinced that his father, Big John, was still alive. While he and his friends craved treasure-hunting adventures, John B also never lost sight of his mission to find Big John. Through John B’s search for him, viewers received a message about the importance of family over anything else. The third season revealed that Big John was alive. Upon this discovery, the seventeen-year old stuck with his father throughout season three as they indulged in a treasure hunting adventure that led them across the Carolinas.
While John B’s relationship with Big John was valuable to him, JJ had the opposite relationship with his own father. JJ’s father was present in his life, but abused his son verbally and physically, to the point where JJ nearly shot his father in the head in season two. Knowing that the chances of maintaining a positive relationship with his father were very slim, JJ prioritized his friendships with the Pogues, as they were the only people in his life that supported and loved him. Outer Banks makes it clear to viewers that healthy relationships are crucial to one’s well-being.
The third season welcomed a new Pogue into the group. Cleo, a Jamaican nomad, who helped John B escape from Jamaica in the second season of Outer Banks. In the third season, she reunites with John B and the rest of his crew on a boat that held a family heirloom of Pope, a fellow Pogue. Cleo reveals to Pope that she has been on her own since she was young. Becoming a Pogue helps her find purpose and feel as though she was a part of something bigger than herself.
Sarah consistently struggles with her place as a Kook and a Pogue. Her relationship with John B caused friction between Sarah and her father, Ward Cameron. Through revealing the truth of Sarah’s past, the show portrays the vitality of Sarah’s relationship with John B. Without John B, Sarah would have been completely alone. Sarah’s original friends, the Kooks, were stuck-up and constantly berated John B and his friends. In siding with the Pogues, Sarah obtained several friendships she would not have had if she had stayed with the Kooks. The show did a good job of portraying the importance of feeling supported in friendship
While many criticize Outer Banks for its lack of creativity and repetitive nature, it should be applauded for its realistic depictions of difficult relationships that exist underneath all of the drama. Outer Banks offers a message of the importance of healthy relationships with family and friends, and how it is important that those relationships are prioritized. Had John B given up on the search for his dad, he would never have found him in Barbados. Had JJ not had the safety net of his friends, he would have been all alone in his struggle with his relationship with his abusive father. Sarah Cameron’s unhealthy relationship with her father prevented her from having an honest relationship with the Pogues, due to the injustices Ward committed against Big John. Similar to JJ’s father, Ward lost control of his emotions and almost choked Sarah when he was angry with her for siding with the Pogues. Through its ups and downs, Outer Banks reveals the importance of healthy relationships for a healthy well–being.
Is Little League in decline?
As a kid growing up in Wellesley, there was nothing I looked forward to more than getting to play Little League Baseball. The smell of big league chew, the sound of the aluminum bats hitting the ball— everything about it was perfect for a kid who loved sports. So, I was surprised to learn that Little League has declined in Wellesley over the past years.
In the past seven years, the number of teams in the division for sixth and seventh graders has been cut in half. They have opened teams up to kids of younger ages to try out for a position on the team. To explain this, some point to America’s declining interest in the sport altogether, some to the larger access to technology such as iPads or iPhones, and some to other sports such as lacrosse or soccer.
But it’s not just Wellesley or baseball. Youth participation in sports has been in decline across the board. In the past fifteen years youth participation fell to 37% in 2021, a steep drop from the 45% participation rate in 2008. Why the drop-off?
A leading cause in this decline is the cost of play. From gloves to pads to helmets, youth sports are expensive. According to The Aspen Project, the average family pays $883 annually for a child’s primary sport. This price tag inevitably alienates some from participating in youth sports organizations.
Another leading cause is the pressure that parents put on their children to excel in their sports. As many Wellesley athletes and parents can attest, there is no shortage of parents who eagerly want their kids to be the next super athlete. From tournaments every weekend to private lessons, it’s easy for parents to lose track of youth sports’ goal– to have fun. According to the Aspen Project, most kids quit their sport by the age of eleven, with the average participation rate being just below 3 years.
Yet hope for youth sports is still very much alive. After the pandemic, youth sports for those under the age of 8 have increased, and it seems that youth sports have been recovering.
I spoke with Bennett Fisher, a representative of the Wellesley Little League. Although he has seen a decrease in participation for those in sixth in seventh grade, participation by kids ages 6-9 is at a record high..
Youth sports have taken a turn, and the pandemic exacerbated the decrease, but that is not to say they will not rebound in the next few years. It is essential that parents safely encourage their kids to play sports as well as youth sports organizations realize the true cost of play. With increased sentiment to make youth sports safer and more affordable, youth sports will come back stronger than ever.