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Money Money Money

Recent data coming out points to parents that are higher up on the economic scale both socially and financially tend to spend more money on their children’s athletic pursuits. That makes sense on many levels. Youth and even high school sports are becoming more and more expensive to participate. Parents who have more money therefore have the economic means and the social motivation to “keep up with the Jones.”

 

But in my 30 years of watching, coaching, mentoring, and writing my book on youth sports, I have encountered another side to this phenomenon. Most parents both work. They do not have the time to devote huge amounts of time to their children’s jam packed nonstop schedule during the week, so they write a check.  On weekends one goes one way with a child and the other goes in a different direction with another sibling. It relieves some of the guilt and gives them a feeling of partnership in their kids’ youth and high school sports activities.

 

But it doesn’t really. The kids feel the pressure that comes with expensive pursuits. We keep saying how smart kids are these days but we don’t give them nearly enough credit for their ability to figure things out. True, many are scheduled into the ground on a mostly daily basis, and therefore don’t have time to think  and analyze what is happening to them on a day to day basis, but their brains and bodies take care of that for them. The brain sends signals with chemicals and the body reacts by being tired or injured and the kids internally feel bad and emotionally tired. They stop having fun and quit. 70% of them quit by the time they are 13.Others find different ways to rebel. Many student athletes are not going to a college that has their chosen sport just so they don’t have to justify and defend to their parents why they stop playing. Others get to college, play half heartedly and either are cut or quit. Some even experience a career ending injury to justify not making the team or to stop playing altogether.


This is what the youth and high school sports journey has morphed into. It has become an adulting or professionalizing of our children’s sports. The kids don’t like it and neither do I.

Written by : VJS