OK, OK, QUIET, PLEASE! Let’s break off into four groups.
First group – COACHES. COACHES, PLEASE, HAVE A SEAT IN FRONT OF ME WHERE I CAN KEEP AN EYE ON YOU. This includes: coaches who have egos bigger than their heads; coaches who have little knowledge of the game and coach so that their kid can be the QB or starting pitcher; coaches who coach together until one or the other’s kid misses his July growth spurt; coaches who will rob the local league of its top few players for his “super team”; coaches who actually think that holding tryouts for a group of 9-year-olds means something; coaches who play their buddy’s kid all game — every game — because they can; coaches who believe their own crock of propaganda (or crock of prop); coaches who coach by intimidation or use bad language; and finally… all others.
“Not only can the youth sports systems controlling our children's lives ruin their fun, but also they often deny individual children fair opportunities to reach their full potential through excessive use of elite teams. With the cruelest irony, these systems can rob us of young athletes who, had they been given a fair chance as children, might have been terrific players as high school seniors or as adults.”
Second group – ALL PARENTS OF PLAYERS PLEASE TAKE A SEAT TO THE RIGHT OF ME. This includes: parents who believe the only chance their kid has at being the best is to play with and against the best; parents who run up and down the sidelines screaming at their kid; parents who argue with other parents on the sidelines; parents who run to argue with a coach immediately at the end of a game; and finally… all others.
“Many times parents look at a performance in terms of the score line to determine what's good or bad. Soccer is like playing the piano, until you master the skill you can't even think in terms of playing on stage. According to the National Alliance for Youth Sports, 70 percent of kids drop out of organized sports by age 13. The No. 1 reason? Pressure from adults.”
- Keith Gabriel, Philly.com
Third group – ALL YOUTH ADMINISTRATORS PLEASE BE SEATED BEHIND ME. This one might pull some of you from the other groups, so go with the one that you feel gives you the most power. Ha-ha, I’m kidding! Wow! I darn near got trampled. This includes: those on youth sports boards for the purpose of furthering their own slimy agenda; self-appointed Gods of a particular organization; those who don’t believe that skimming from the top will affect the rest of the pool over time; those who charge a small fortune (thus eliminating a large group from any chance of participation) for the promise of a shot at superstardom; those who need to run premier teams for 8- or 9-year-olds; those who end their thoughts and comments with PERIOD; and finally… all others.
“Year-round commitment to a single sport and far-flung travel for more and better competition are isolating our best young athletes from their communities and changing the all-around athletic experience that has been at the heart of American sports for generations.”
-Alexander Wolff, "Special Report: The High School Athlete," Sports Illustrated (Nov. 13, 2002)
Fourth group – FINALLY I’D LIKE ALL PLAYERS TO GRAB A SEAT TO THE LEFT OF ME, PLEASE. This includes elite/select and non-elite/select; travel and not-allowed-to-travel; labeled and mislabeled; players who can't handle failure because they've been conditioned to believe they're too good to fail; players who missed out on being labeled as elite/select at 8; players not having fun because they only play one-third of every stinking game; players wanting to quit; and… OH HECK… ALL PLAYERS BE SEATED, PLEASE.
“Youth sports, particularly playoffs and tournament leagues where winning is stressed and more recognized community wide, is now made up of a handful of elite athletes that are overplayed by inexperienced parent coaches, at the expense of the lesser talented. These youth “all-star” leagues have also become a showcase where parents get to display their children, sometimes with tragic results, like a circus act.”
-The Wahey Boys
Alrighty then. All players – stay where you are.
Any adult (includes league administrators, coaches, and parents) falling under the “all others” category please remain seated.
Everyone else – Thank you for attending. Have a great evening.
Ok. Let’s have a conversation about youth sports.