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This Sucks and I am Bitter

I write this week’s blog with a heavy heart. There is so much of what I see out there in the world of youth sports, and society in general, that I wish was not happening. Today, I want to talk about what children learned when they realized the end of their career was coming. What would they change about how they did things after their playing days were over?
 It was brought up to me recently, after one of my talks, if I thought the kids that got screwed over playing youth and high school sports, would behave and coach differently than the coaches they had. Would they play lots of kids? Would they have learned from their journey that it shouldn’t have been the way they were coached? These kids would have a chance to stop the Tsunami. My answer was not what he wanted to hear.
I have watched over 1000 high school and youth sports games. The new breed of coaches, and I am only talking about the ones who actually played high school and or possibly made it to college to play intercollegiate sports. The results have not been what I had hoped I would see.

Three people I was very close to all succumbed to different forms of cancer.  I talked to all three multiple times before they died. It’s an awful disease, and I hope researchers find a cure for it soon. In their last months on earth I was intrigued  as to how they would handle their remaining time. All three either remained themselves in some way shape or form. What struck me most though, was that all three showed no remorse or any inclination to make up for what they may have done in their lives. They did not show any appreciation or even wisdom from what they learned while going through this tremendously painful journey to the end of their lives. Repeatedly I see bitterness, angst and short tempers.
I am now watching  really good kids turn angry on a moment’s notice from seemingly small slights or misdeeds. Harsh negative comments abound about the world that they live in now. They fail to see the connection, or refuse to acknowledge, the tremendous negative impact that their youth and high school sports experience laid upon them.
It is time to hand the games and play back to the children. They need to be able to play freely with little input and structure from adults at a young age. Let them develop a base of desired activity that is fun and free. We are raising a generation of children in and out of sports, who have been told what to do, and how to do it.
This current paradigm my friends is not how children learn to be independent thinkers, creative, balanced, and coping adults.
We want children, and people in general, to look back over their past and appreciate the journey as well as trying to leave the world a little bit better place than when they were here. Peace of mind is victory.
Let’s have some more fun. It’s an awfully long dirt nap.

Written by : VJS