Great Is Not Good Enough

When I was a child I could play on any sports team that I chose as long as I met the gender/age criteria. Rarely were there tryouts, and if there were, they existed only to determine the position played within the team, not to exclude participation. Fast forward to the past fifteen years, and every sports team, with exception to city leagues, hold multiple tryouts to determine participation first, then every position from quarterback to water boy. We have become obsessed with being top notch teams and with “supernatural” athletes. If a child is not an excellent, or above average athlete, chances of making a school sponsored sports team of any kind is nonexistent.

A friend of mine once mentioned to a children’s soccer coach that he was trying to decide if he wanted his six-year-old son to play soccer, or pee wee football. He was met with the comment, “at this age he should already be decided and dedicated to one sport.” I wish this were isolated to this one occurrence, but sadly this is the expectation of many coaches, and organizations. Another friend was told that his son needed to attend summer baseball camp at the cost of $6,000 to even be considered for the local high school baseball team, but this was no guarantee.

So many questions come to mind when I think about these scenarios and the situation as a whole. What happens to the children that want to play sports for their school, but fail to play at the exemplary level? What message does this send to our children and society? What is the true cost for perfection in sports? How are enormous salaries in professional sports justifiable?

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2 thoughts on “Great Is Not Good Enough

  1. I like what you said here Donna. (I hope I spelled that correctly). It is quite pathetic what these schools have conjured up, and even the people in our society (not that schools are excluded from that list) have created in the way of sports teams. I recently heard that Little League mothers are wanting their children to be paid for the games they play due to the fact that each game sells a few thousand dollars in tickets and concessions. I do see the flip side though, where Americans do their two things best: Play ball and make money. I guess the halfway point for this would be “play teams” and “work teams”, the former being focused on the idea, rules, and fun of the game, while the latter allows those who wish it to be more of a game to do so. Everyone should be included, but what they are included in should not be regulated so harshly.

  2. I completely agree with you. Sport associations have been pushing kids to the point it is not longer fun and most of their childhood is focused on being the best, instead of just enjoying a after school activity. I have never been the sports type, because my parents let me choose what after school activates I wanted to do. I tried soccer when I was five and I did not like it, then I found that art was more my muse. Now I see my friends who are very good at sports and they like it a lot, but I have grown apart from them because sports has taken up their life. I have nothing against sports or people who participate in sport activities, but most of the kids and teens that sports is their life now and most of them will not do sports in college or as a career. After school sports maybe fun and you may make friends, but the kids and parents sometimes need to step back for a second and look at the bigger picture.

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