I spend a considerable amount on money on youth sports. Actually, one of the reasons I started this blog was to track how much I was spending. I didn't do this to live within a budget -- I had no intentions of spending less -- I was just curious. And I wanted to spark conversation with people who are equally enthusiastic or / and foolish.
My youth sports cost list has sparked many conversations, including one with Mark Hyman, sports journalist and author. In late 2010, Mark interviewed me for his second book on youth sports called, The Most Expensive Game in Town - The Rising Cost of Youth Sports and the Toll on Today's Families. I answered his questions, and to tell you the truth, I was a bit nervous about how I was going to be portrayed - our behavior regarding youth sports is not exactly rational.
I finally opened the book and immediately went to the index to see if my name was mentioned in the book and on what page. To my surprise, I was mentioned on 6 pages, including page 1 of the book in the chapter called the Parent Trap. In this chapter, Mark told the stories of three families and also revealed that he was more like me than not.
The book explores so many interesting topics surrounding the economy of youth sports. Mark follows the dollars and explores the motivations of the people who spend their money on youth sports and the people who earn money from youth sports. He explores both sides of the financial equation in a respectful way while exposing some of his own misguided sports expenditures.
The book will make you think. And after you read the last page, you will close the book and wonder if kids would be better off without the influence of money.
In the book, you will find an interesting story about small money-strapped towns betting on youth sports meccas to bail them out of their financial woes. Mark also explores the influence of big corporation money from companies like ESPN, Gatorade, Nike and Pepsi. Stories about the Ford sponsored Punt Pass and Kick competition and the invention of the aluminum bat brought back memories for my wife and me. My athletic wife competed in the PP&K and I used a gold painted Worth metal bat in 1970, the year that it was introduced and changed youth baseball forever.
The Main Point
If you are involved in youth sports as a spender or someone who earns a living from youth sports, you will find this 145 page book a very interesting read. You can buy it directly from Amazon for $16.47
Here's why we spend on youth sports:
Many parents spend money on youth sports in hopes of giving their kids a chance to earn a scholarship or a pro contract. If this were our goal, then our
expenditures on youth sports would be considered questionable. That is not our
goal. My kids and I both know the slim to none chances of playing sports at advanced levels
(college and pros). I write about this a lot in my blog.
Our goal is to have fun
and learn what it takes to succeed in life. Sports teaches so many life lessons. (I write about this often too) At
the end of their sports careers - whether it ends by getting cut by a HS coach
or retiring from the pros after a successful career - I think that my kids will
know how to set goals, work hard, work for demanding bosses, work with
teammates, succeed under pressure, seek out experts for advice and
persevere - lessons that will serve them well in life.