For some reason, nothing makes me feel old faster than the demolition of a large structure that was built in my lifetime. What brought this to mind was the demolition this morning of Texas Stadium, home of pro football’s Dallas Cowboys from 1971 to 2008. Ironically, the stadium was intended to replace the aging Cotton Bowl which was built in 1932 but is still in use.
I suppose my feelings stem from knowing man-made structures all over the world have survived for centuries, and from living with structures all around that predate me. One gets used to homes, concrete-and-steel buildings, and historical landmarks always being there. It’s a bit unsettling, then, to see one of those structures fall, to see roots, permanence, and existence itself so quickly and easily erased.
Yes, I know it’s “progress.” And I’m not opposed to progress; it is, after all, the only way to avoid stasis, decline, and collapse. Even my old high school’s motto spoke to that: “Qui non proficit deficit” — He who does not progress falls behind.
Nevertheless, when you see something as substantial as skyscrapers and football stadiums being built, you tend to think they’ll stand forever — or at least until long after you’re gone. When they rise and then fall in your lifetime, a little bit of your confidence goes with them. You are reminded that you, like they, will not last forever.