Youth Sports: Still a good idea?

Growing up I was more of a mathlete than an athlete. An awkward relationship with sports equipment killed my sports dreams before they started. How many times can a girl get bopped on the head with a volleyball before she gives up?

Hopefully, my kids don’t inherit my allergic reaction to sports. I like the idea of them getting exercise and working with a team towards a common goal.

Organized sports would also add another layer to their college applications. But I wonder if the cost to play is worth the price of admission.

Exposure to Adults Behaving Badly

I thought it was a fluke the first time I heard of a parent and coach coming to blows at a youth sporting event. Color me naive. Just put bad sports parent into a YouTube search. Better yet, don’t look it up. It’ll just give you a head cramp.

Esquire Networks docuseries, Friday Night Tykes doesn’t paint a very pretty picture of youth sports. The show, which follows several San Antonio youth football teams, made recent news for the suspension of two coaches. According to CNN reports, one coach was suspended for encouraging profanity, while the other was suspended for instructing players to hit their opponents in the head.

As of this writing, The Esquire Network has the entire first episode of Friday Night Tykes posted on its website. Forgive me, but I won’t be linking to said the first episode.

I can’t imagine the thought process of adults who go crazy over youth sports. Is it because of other life stressors outside the game itself that push them over the edge?

Are they really so wrapped up in an 8-year-olds football game that they lose control?

I suspect it could be something far more disturbing.

The only thing worse than an adult who berates, abuses, and misdirects a child, is an adult who thinks that they are helping the child with such behavior.

I’m not a member of the every-kid-gets-a-trophy club.

Life is competitive. Kids have to learn how to thrive in a competitive world. That being said, some coaches and parents aren’t teaching kids how to compete. They are teaching them to win at all cost.

I thought sports were supposed to be fun

Youth participation is down in basketball, soccer, baseball and football, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal. Experts cite various reasons for the decline including cuts in physical education courses, increased pressure on child athletes, and the popularity of social media and video games.

To summarize one expert in the Wall Street report: The search for elite athletes, overworking kids, and making student athletes specialize in a single sport have made sports less fun.

So, will my kids play sports?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not down on youth sports. Even when you consider concussions and other sports injuries, I believe that inactivity poses a greater health risk for many kids.

Will my kids play organized sports? Well, I was hoping you’d give me your two cents. Hop to it.