Youth in Sports

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“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen” (Jordan 1). Youth sports have become very dangerous in the past few years. The thing that is making sports so much rougher is the will to win and children will do anything to win. Concussions and spinal injuries are ruining young children’s lives. All preteens should be prohibited from sports due to the susceptibility spine and brain injuries. More than 40 million children participated in organized sports in the United States, a cultural phenomenon known as much for its excesses as its successes (Pennington 1). In New Jersey a group of parents, fed up with the clashing schedules every spring for traveling baseball and traveling soccer teams, persuaded the local baseball officials to sponsor a fall-only soccer team, so that their children could play each sport at a high level at different times of year (IBID). At La Jolla Country Day School in San Diego, officials were dismayed about pressures on athletes as young as eleven years old to specialize in one sport decided to require the school’s athletes to play at least two sports (IBID). In Connecticut, the high school sports board prohibited athletes from playing on traveling teams in the same season they play the sport in high school (IBID). Children should not have been able to play sports because they were not doing it for their own fun. The children were only playing sports because their parents wanted and made them play for scholarships. “The shame of it is you see how hardened these 14-year-olds are by the time they get to high school,” said Bruce Ward, director of physical education and athletics in San Diego’s public school. “They’re talented, terrific players, but I don’t see the joy. They look tired. They’ve played so much year-round, they are like little professionals” (IBID 2). The Stars of Massachusetts, an elite all-girl traveling soccer team of thirteen and fourteen-year-olds, practiced in Acton and at the end of that practice in September, team members discussed their clashing schedules as they juggled schoolwork and demands of playing on multiple club teams (IBID 2). Molly Blumberg of the all-girls’ soccer team found out that life lessons were not learned in school; she learned that she was a stronger person by getting involved and had improved her social skills and self esteem (IBID 2). There were many popular places for soccer. Montclair was a popular place for youth soccer, and the town’s soccer leaders wanted no part of a proposal for a fall only travel team of eleven-year-olds who preferred to play a different sport in the spring (IBID 3). Angry parents turned to Montclair Baseball Club for help (IBID 3). The parents hired their own professional soccer coach, paid for insurance, and joined a travel soccer league in northern New Jersey (IBID 3). Year, round travel team schedules lead to conflict (IBID 3). Jerry Citro, the coach of a prominent twelve and under travel baseball team cut players from his team because they missed too many practices to play spring soccer games or practices (IBID 3). Nancy Lazenby Blaser in Morgan Hill, California, took her five year old daughter, Alexandra to the local playground (IBID 4). Alexandra was involved in a game of softball with a group of children her age and a parent that was watching her child play asked Lazenby Blaser what team her daughter played on (IBID 4). Lazenby Blaser told the mother that her daughter did not play on a team. Lazenby Blaser is the commissioner of athletics for the central coast section of the California Interscholastic Federation (IBID 4). La Jolla Country Day School tried to prevent athletes from practicing for hours each day with both a high school team and a club team in the same season (IBID 4). According to Los Angeles Times’s Tracy Weber and Scott Gold, southern California parents spent more than 1 billion dollars last year and gave their children “the Edge” in sports (Weber and Gold 1). Not...
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