Monday, October 02, 2006

Sports for all?

More kids should have the opportunity to play sports but there is a growing elitism in prep athletics as shown in articles published today in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

While the over-emphasis of athletics in impoverished areas has been covered diligently, most poignantly in Hoop Dreams, the NYTimes and the LATimes articles lightly touched upon one issue that has always intrigued me: well-off parents who put so much emphasis on sports, particularly when it comes to boys' athletic careers. It's pure puffery, and misguided energy, on the part of the parents. Often these kids are not very gifted--at all--but they are provided with coaches, trainers, camps, and pro-style equipment. The majority of these kids won't even play college sports, and yet their parents have created a reality distortion field around their supposed athletic careers. The real purpose of athletics is lost. Moreover, the motivation, and the love of sports, doesn't seem to come from within.

For health (physical and psychological) reasons, athletics should be a life-long pursuit for everyone but, for those who do participate (only 27 percent of kids in California achieve fitness standards), they peek, and retire, at age seventeen, never again picking up a bat or ball.


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