Aggie Sports Talk
American Meritocracy is Killing Youth Sports
I found this interesting and very concerning article on Kevin Blue's twitter page:
American Meritocracy Is Killing Youth Sports
Expensive travel leagues siphon off talented young athletes from well-off families—and leave everyone else behind.
Both my kids did travel/club ball, and it is very expensive. But they wanted to do it not because of some wild notion of a college scholarship, but because they liked playing the sport in a serious way, with other kids who were equally motivated. They both played little league and/or rec ball in addition to travel ball, but they got tired and frustrated with other kids who just wanted to screw around or didn't even show up (having a game cancelled because the other team didn't have enough players would always bum them out). And they wanted to learn from knowledgeable coaches, not just the "dad" coach who didn't really know much about the sport. And that costs money! I know that the big club my daughter played V-Ball for did offer scholarships based on income level, but even with that, it was still expensive. But now that they both have moved on, some of our best memories are of traveling to different locations around CA, making great bonding moments both on and off the field. It's expensive, but I'd definitely do it again.
That's for sharing your experiences. I think the article made the point that the parents who chose to have their kids play on traveling squads did so out of their concern for what was best for their children and you make some good points about the merits of doing so. I think it is of concern that participation in youth sports is down especially at lower income levels and many of the kids that come from those families are being left behind.
I thought the example of how successful Norway has been in their unique way funding youth sports along with their philosophy of participation is certainly a model worth looking at. It could help ameliorate the problem we are seeing with the haves and the have nots in American youth sports.
The rise in single parent families hurt, no Dad to shoot hoops or throw a ball. And electronics. And parents allowing it to consume their life. And rap music / drugs / gangs have been depleting urban schools teams for decades
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