A few weeks ago, I received the following letter from a concerned and seemingly frustrated parent/coach. These are all this parent’s words. I only redacted the names of specific team names and leagues. The point here is not to single-out any particular organization. We all know the situation is dire, but there are parents who care and need our help. Solutions are always welcome.
I have not had the chance to blog, because I tend to stay out of [social media]. But one concern of mine with the way sports are handled now a days is appalling. I am not sure when, but when did the sports we would play all the time in the neigborhood become win, win, win, win? This is what Select ball teaches. I still have to write to the [youth organization], because who ever is in charge has completely lost the focus of what sports should be for kids from 1st grade up to 8th grade. Kids in 5th grade should not have to deal with being cut from a team, unless they try out for a select team. [The organization] was meant to be for all kids who wanted to have fun and learn about the game no matter how good they were or how bad they were. Now the kids who want to just play the game and have fun are being tossed to the side and convinced that they should of never tried in the 1st place. My biggest example of late is that my son’s soccer team had some good and some bad players and they complemented each other. [The team] decided they needed to have try outs and pulled all the good kids onto one team and all the ok players on the other. So one team won a lot of games and the other team struggled all season.
Most of the players will probably not come back to play next year. Driven away by the win win win, gotta play, play. My wife works at a surgery center and is amazed at the amount of young kids who are coming in for surgeries on elbows, knees, and shoulders, because the parents and coaches of today preach win, win, win, play, play, play 24-7, never giving these kids time to let their muscles grow the proper way. I like competition and I do believe that kids who want to play select ball should go play select ball, and stay out of the [local youth] program. Sorry for rambling, but I coach and it kills me to see what some coaches are doing to their players just for a win. How a lot of coaches will sit a player, because he isn’t as good as the other players. I take coaching seriously and my goal when I coach is to make sure all the boys have fun and in the process learn about the sport they are playing so when they do get into high school they have a chance to try out.
This coach’s words speak for themselves, but I think he’s saying that winning can’t be everything on the youth level. He’s right. Winning is useless if all of the kids quit. What can we do? We can start by educating ourselves. The Sportsmanship Initiative started the Team Players program as a way for local organizations to commit to good sportsmanship and improving the sports experience for young people. Team Players receive the Cardinals Care Package – a sportsmanship kit filled with materials to help educate parents, coaches, athletes, and officials on each of their roles and what youth sports is all about. Click here to join the Sportsmanship Initiative as a Team Player and keep sports fun for you and your kids. Until next time…
Be a Good Sport!