I was working with a European educator on a joint project. He commented that he was astonished by how much time and money American families spend playing sports. “I don’t understand.” he said. “Do these parents think their children will be professional athletes?” He was genuinely bewildered.
From a historical perspective, this generation will be viewed as nuts in relation to the time, energy, and effort placed on sports instead of academics.
When the current crop of parents grew up in the 80s and 90s – a backward blip in time – high school students played sports for their school. Star soccer players from Guilford played for Guilford High School. Year round travel teams would have seemed insane to our parents, as would the thought of driving to a different state for a weekend tournament.
As for our grandparents, they would likely smack us for wasting so much time and money on sports. Can you imagine telling your grandmother that you would be missing a family get together because you are going to a soccer tournament in Rhode Island? Now, imagine telling your Depression era grandfather that you were spending $500-1000 on the weekend?!
Not to make you feel guilty, but shouldn’t we be visiting our parents more instead of going to more weekend sports activities?
I love sports. I think sports provide training in how to develop skills, build character, and work with teammates. Nonetheless, time is a zero sum commodity. What you spend on sports cannot be spent on academics. Or family.
I have written about this topic elsewhere: Academics Trump Sports.
The following article adds some color to the discussion: Don’t Let Youth Sports Hijack Your Life.