The Following is an excerpt from Who Owns Youth Sports
Until a few decades ago, children in communities all across America generally conducted their own games without adult involvement. When youngsters wanted to play, they rounded up their friends and headed for the local playground or sandlot. They chose sides and perhaps rearranged the teams midway through the game to correct imbalance. They adjusted the rules to suit the circumstances, officiated the game, worked out their disputes, and then went home when everyone got tired or the sun went down. The youngsters accomplished all this (and more) by themselves, without adults on hand to choreograph the games.
Did the over organization of youth sports kill this dynamic or is there something else at play?
Today, children in communities all across America still conduct their own games without adult involvement. When youngsters want to play, they rounded up their friends on XBOX LIVE. They chose sides in Madden Football 12, NBA 2K12 or MLB11 and perhaps rearrange the teams midway through the game to correct imbalances. They adjust the rules to suit the circumstances, officiate the game, work out their disputes, and then turn off the TV when everyone get tired or the sun comes up. The youngsters accomplished all this (and more) by themselves, without adults on hand to choreograph the games.
The Main Point
Doug Abrams argues that adults have over organized youth sports to the point where kids do not take the initiative to assemble on their own to play sports. He outlines several socioecomonic factors including hectic demands of dual income and single parent families. My question to Doug, "How many kids would play sports at all with all of the electronic distractions that exist in the world today if adults did not organize youth sports?"
My dad talks of the idyllic 50's and 60's when kids would assemble to play pick up games. I grew up in the 70's when the total number of games in any youth league season was 15 games max and no travel was required. We played touch football, stickball, street hockey and basketball all the time. I could never assemble enough kids for two full teams, but I could always find 3 to 8 diehard sports kids to compete against.
Life is not really that different for my sports addicted kids who have played in 200 "adult organized" games combined this year to date, they still gather a couple of kids to play knockout (Basketball), golf, touch football or kickball when time allows.
Sadly, due to electronic distractions, I think very few kids of this generation would show the initiative to get out and play on a consistent basis without organized sports. What do you think?
AskCoachWolfe.com is a comprehensive website dedicated to today's sports parenting issues. This site always has content that makes me think.