Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Banning A 9-Year Old Pitcher Is Stupid Or How Adults Have Ruined Youth Sports

I spent several years coach kids under 15 in many different sports, it was the adults, other coaches, their parents, and assorted adult opportunists around youth sports that make me stop coaching. Adults have ruined youth sports, period! Adults have forgotten their place and purpose in youth sports. Adults have become demanding, controlling, starry-eyed monsters with visions of producing the next collegiate or professional superstar at the expense of children who just want to play team sports.

In my adopted home-state of North Carolina, many youth soccer leagues have banned parents from making ANY sound at all. No clapping, no cheering, no nothing! It's the parents in North Carolina who are required to watch a tape on sportsmanship after signing up their child for team sports. The parents, ya'll, the adults!!!! In my home state California, rapper Snoop Dogg has ruined a youth football league by enticing the best kids to play with his sons by tossing around his money and fame. What happens to that league when Snoop's sons get to old to play?

Now adults are banning 9-year-old Jericho Scott for being "too good." Now, that makes absolutely no damn sense at all. Considering that kids of color playing baseball is like the holy grail in youth sports with all the attention that junior league soccer, basketball and football attracts, you would think a little league group would be promoting a kid that good instead of pushing him out.

And in Scott's case, I see a little bit more than he is "too good" playing out here. The real facts behind this drama maybe that Scott is not playing on the team some adult sponsor with big pockets wants him on. He is also preventing some heavily sponsored team from winning a trophy. It's interesting that he wasn't "too good" when the season started and it only became a problem when his team was undefeated after 8 games. It is also interesting that the league didn't meet with his coach or his mother to discuss their so-called "concerns" about Jericho's talents before making a decision.

The point of playing youth sports is not winning or losing. It's about learning how to play the sport. It's about healthy exercise. It's about learning discipline and teamwork. It's about doing something positive and having fun. As Jericho Scott's mom said “I think it’s discouraging when you’re telling a 9-year-old you’re too good at something. The whole objective in life is to find something you’re good at and stick with it. I’d rather he spend all his time on the baseball field than idolizing someone standing on the street corner.”

Post-Summer Olympic Games, I would absolutely hate to be a youth coach or youth sport program coordinator at a local neighborhood swimming pool this fall. Right now there are at 50 parents convinced that their little Johnny or Susie is the next Michael Phelps or Dara Torres.


roslynholcomb August 26, 2008 at 5:22 PM  

My husband loves coaching soccer and is really good at it, but he had to give it up for the same reason. They're dragging him back in kicking and screaming now that my son is beginning to play, but I know he's going to be miserable.

This was the most absurd thing I'd heard in a long time. People need to get a grip and stop living vicariously through their kids. Let the kids play for crying out loud.

Saran August 26, 2008 at 10:50 PM  

I saw this on the news earlier and the first thing I thought was that some parent was mad because their kid was not on a winning team.

I think these "helicopter parents" are a part of what's wrong with so many kids these days.

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