Sports used to be about kids. There was a time that t-ball was played at the local park because some dad for no other reason then because sports having a massive positive impact on himself as a child wanted the same for his kids, and why not for the rest of the kids in the neighbourhood. If not t-ball, then it was soccer, or baseball. It was a time when permits weren’t needed, or even if they were, no one in the neighbourhood was going to complain to the city and do something that would cause the after school play to be discontinued.
That’s when sports were about kids.
Today, sports – for the most part – are not about kids. Sports, sport is business, big big business. Not only do business people know this, but parents know this and as a result… its no more about the development of their kids, its about what their kids can do for them… its all about fame & fortune and the long term costs and consequences, ah… who-cares, we’ll kick the can down the road as far as we can… and deal with it then, or better yet, the kid will have to deal with it on their own.
As for business people, they do not see your kid for what they are… they see them as an asset that has to have its utility maximized with the long term costs and consequences not their problem. The moment your kid signs some sort of contract, they are now the property of a team, the property of a management team whose only metric is winning, because winning fuels the sale of season tickets and team merchandise. That kids end up with concussions, with bodies that do not work… not their problem… they agreed to being an asset, and they were treated as an asset: every good thing about them was drained dry for the benefit of the team (don’t forget how they will then manipulate you into giving yet more because… you know, there is no ‘i’ in team).
Parents… its up to you to make sport about kids again, about their development, about their physical, mental and emotional health and long term well-being. Sport is supposed to be a metaphor for life as well as a source of deliberate education: a place to learn the soft skills which are mandatory if your kid is going to be a healthy happy contributing member of society.
Parents… pick the sport, pick the coach, pick the team your child is playing on with specific intent: with the intent that its going to help your child not only in the short term, but also in the long term. So what if in the short term they end up at the Olympics, or in the NHL or NBA or NFL but by mid life are dealing with suicidal ideations, with memory loss due to repeated concussions, with a body that no longer does what they want it to do, a body that screams in pain as a result of the forced return to sport prematurely after injury or illness?
“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”