Youth Sports…. Have we lost our focus?

Posted: June 27, 2013 in Inspirational
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I recently had the utter displeasure of passing by an athletic field during a youth sports game. I was hanging out with my little one, and we were passing some time at the playground on a decently sunny weekend afternoon. Most people would wonder why I felt so negatively towards the game that was ongoing. To be honest, I should be pleased to see kids of any age engaged in meaningful physical activity instead of wasting away in front of some type of screen. In a way, this alleviated some of my dismay.

My real problem was with the parents. Their children were going about the normal motions of a children’s baseball game, and one would think that lives were on the line. Personally, I’m a fairly strict parent, who demands the best from my child in a realistic way, but this was about thirteen steps in the wrong direction. Children were being chastised for striking out as if they had just committed a homicide, and coaches were screaming at umpires who were barely in their teenage years.

I think this is how we lose kids from the fitness community. Obviously, there are unhealthy options galore available to the average child, yet one would have to think that a majority of these children would likely be more apt to take to physical activity, as shown by their membership on the team. The switch is shut off when they are verbally ripped apart by someone in front a crowd. The fire is gone when they watch their coach become the model of bad sportsmanship. The distance is created when this pattern continues on a weekly basis until the season is over.

I’d had some awful coaches during my youth sports careers, which was artfully counterbalanced by the good sense of my parents. They had an excellent perspective on the entire experience and would push me a bit when I needed it. My house was not a place where sports-related explosions would occur. In fact, they would talk to me about how the actions of other parents at a game were not a model that I would ever want to follow in my adult life. I thank them for that, and I surely hope my daughter feels the same way when she is older. Too many people think it’s important for children to win when they’re ten years old. I’d say the real winners are the ones who grow up loving an active lifestyle, and bring these positive feelings with them into adulthood.

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