What has youth sports become in this country? Has it become a parent’s retirement plan or is it just living vicariously through our children. I guess that is the million dollar question. Let me start with some odds of playing professional sports. If you play high school sports, your chances of playing professionally, football .08%, baseball .6% and hockey .1% (NCAA.org). I just heard a stat on the radio that 55% of the players drafted in the NHL never play a regular season game. Based on these numbers you should probably fund your IRA this year.
Another eye opening experience in youth sports just happened the other night. My son’s baseball game consists of 6 innings and a 2 hour time limit. By the way, 2 hours is more than enough. The game started at 6:15. There was a 15 minute lightning delay in the top of the 5th, so the game continued at 8:00 and they played one more inning. My son’s team was ahead by 2 runs at the end of that inning and the time was now approaching 8:30. The other coach approached my son’s coach and asked them to play one more inning. After much objection from the assistant coaches on our side, where the conversation took place, we did not play. These kids are 7 and 8 with a few that are 6. Why play another inning? Was it because the other coach loves baseball so much and wanted to play the entire game? I can probably safely assume it was because they were losing. Needless to say our coach declined the offer and they ended the game.
As I was writing this I wondered if youth sports are different in WNY than in other parts of the country. I was doing some research and came to the conclusion that they are not. I have seen in some places that once you register your child to play a sport you have to attend a seminar on appropriate behavior. Would you sign up your child for that league?
I will never fault a child for dreaming of playing in the big leagues. My son thinks he’s playing in the NHL. Kids should dream of success, whether it is sports or careers. If you’re not dreaming you’re probably not succeeding.
I just had a father state to me that he feels that there may be too much pressure on kids in hockey to win. My response to him was, is it pressure on the kid from within or is it outside influences like coaches and parents. The pressure also comes from the level of competition and leagues. If we play house sports versus travel there probably isn’t as much pressure. So ultimately who puts the children in those positions? I can probably be safe to say that the majority of parents want to do what they think is best for their child. It seems after coaching for 20 years that some, the minority of parents, do what’s best for them.
I guess at the end of the day some kids have the talent and some don’t. I also guess in a perfect world we would just let our kids be kids and have fun. As I can attest they grow up too fast.