Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Thursday, August 08, 2019

The average child today spends less than three years playing a sport and quits by age 11, according to a new survey of sports parents conducted by the Aspen Institute and Utah State University....

According to the survey, three of the main reasons kids quit sports are (1) a lack of fun, (2) bad coaches and (3) financial pressure.

- The youth sports economy has always been big business, but as competitive travel teams have crept into increasingly younger age groups over the past decade, the industry has doubled in size to more than $15 billion.

- The result is a world of private coaching, interstate travel and mega-complexes (look at this place) full of families willing -- and able -- to spend as much as $20,000 per year on youth sports.

- Meanwhile, low-income families are being priced out, resulting in their children losing not only an opportunity to excel at a sport but also the chance to exercise and make friends....

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As a coach I can tell you that up to age 12 kids play multiple sports. Once 12 hits peer pressure and social dynamics of teenagers destroy a team. Once age 16 - 17 comes around, they all know everything about how to play the sport, won't work as a group and will destroy a team faster than you can think. It's worse in girls than boys and a team in one year can go from a championship team to a group of 3 to 4 sub cliques that will not work with anyone outside their clique.

Throw in parents that refuse to help but are glad to point out on social media how everything you are doing is wrong.

#1 | Posted by Nixon at 2019-08-08 10:44 AM | Reply

Real Sports did a story a few months back on how youth sports have become ultra competitive and prohibitively expensive for many. They also did a story about youth sports in Norway I believe, reporting on how they don't have the same issues as we do because they approach youth sports in a completely different way leading to better outcomes both athletically and emotionally. Americans don't have the temperament or the self control to approach the issue the way Norway has.

#2 | Posted by Hagbard_Celine at 2019-08-08 11:27 AM | Reply

It's a disappointing trend. Like Nixon said, after a certain age kids, for the most part, have to pick one sport and stick with it in order to be competitive. Competitive sports are year round. Our neighbors across the street drive their two boys to hockey practice all summer long and these kids are in Elementary school.

#3 | Posted by JeffJ at 2019-08-08 11:33 AM | Reply

Once upon a time, in a universe far, far away, all kids in the neighborhood needed was a football, baseball or basketball, a backyard, a driveway with a hoop nailed up, etc., to get all the exercise and competition they needed.

#4 | Posted by nullifidian at 2019-08-08 11:38 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

#4 No kidding. I ran out of the house right after breakfast and didn't come home until dark.

We had BB guns, built forts, whittled with pocket knives, caught tadpoles, rode bikes.

Every day was an adventure in the woods.

#5 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2019-08-08 11:42 AM | Reply

Nothing wrong with highly competitive.

Americans don't have the temperament or the self control to approach the issue the way Norway has.

This is why Norway stinks at most every sport, except what? curling? ;-)

Like Nixon said, after a certain age kids, for the most part, have to pick one sport and stick with it in order to be competitive.

This is a cop out, playing local soccer leagues, is just fine, perhaps you aren't the best, but then few are. Play to Play not to go pro....

Kids sports is competing with online entertainment, it can be fun and social.

Kids sports is over organized by comparison.

#6 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2019-08-08 11:43 AM | Reply

Once upon a time, in a universe far, far away, all kids in the neighborhood needed was a football, baseball or basketball, a backyard, a driveway with a hoop nailed up, etc., to get all the exercise and competition they needed. ~ Nulli

My father said I invented "kick the can" ....

#7 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2019-08-08 11:44 AM | Reply | Funny: 1

#7 ...and rolling a tire with a stick.

#8 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2019-08-08 11:47 AM | Reply

--My father said I invented "kick the can" ....

My favorite "sport."

#9 | Posted by nullifidian at 2019-08-08 11:49 AM | Reply

Kick the can was awesome.

Man, did I have fun playing that as a kid.

#10 | Posted by JeffJ at 2019-08-08 11:50 AM | Reply

#4 No kidding. I ran out of the house right after breakfast and didn't come home until dark.

We had BB guns, built forts, whittled with pocket knives, caught tadpoles, rode bikes.

Every day was an adventure in the woods.

#5 | Posted by SheepleSchism

That was my childhood too.

#11 | Posted by jpw at 2019-08-08 11:50 AM | Reply

#4 No kidding. I ran out of the house right after breakfast and didn't come home until dark.
We had BB guns, built forts, whittled with pocket knives, caught tadpoles, rode bikes.
Every day was an adventure in the woods.

#5 | POSTED BY SHEEPLESCHISM

Yep. Same here. During summer I was outside all day, every day.

#12 | Posted by JeffJ at 2019-08-08 11:51 AM | Reply

--I ran out of the house right after breakfast and didn't come home until dark.
We had BB guns, built forts, whittled with pocket knives, caught tadpoles, rode bikes.
Every day was an adventure in the woods."

Yep. Built tree houses from nothing. Built a cheap high-jump pit with a few pieces of wood and nails to hold the bar, etc.

#13 | Posted by nullifidian at 2019-08-08 11:53 AM | Reply

#7 ...and rolling a tire with a stick.
#8 | POSTED BY SHEEPLESCHISM

So that was you? The rich kid across the tracks!

#14 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2019-08-08 12:09 PM | Reply


@#4 ... Once upon a time, in a universe far, far away, ...

That universe wasn't so far away.

So, since then, what has happened to make sports participation such an exclusive activity? What has happened to dull the shine of spontaneous ball games?

Has playing sports become so commercialized that it is now viewed more as a career path than a fun pastime?


#15 | Posted by LampLighter at 2019-08-08 12:36 PM | Reply

It's more than just the cost or the elitism. My hometown will not field a high school football team this year - the first time since 1956. School enrollment is down, but not so low there weren't 22 boys capable of suiting up. They just didn't want to OR their parents won't let them.

#16 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2019-08-08 01:19 PM | Reply

--I ran out of the house right after breakfast and didn't come home until dark.
We had BB guns, built forts, whittled with pocket knives, caught tadpoles, rode bikes.
Every day was an adventure in the woods."

Yep. Built tree houses from nothing. Built a cheap high-jump pit with a few pieces of wood and nails to hold the bar, etc.

So, I guess you guys raised a bunch of kids and they all did the same thing, right?

#17 | Posted by Angrydad at 2019-08-09 07:31 AM | Reply

#17

I tried, my youngest was that way for a while but with all his neighborhood friends going of to sports camps for half the summer or helicopter parents unwilling to let their kids roam free like that he ended up being on his own most of the time. It just wasn't fun by age 10-11. He got into video games where he could wrangle an online group of friends. He burned out on video games pretty quickly. Now he's into tinkering, his current deal is repairing bikes.

#18 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2019-08-09 07:57 AM | Reply

#17 Haha...well, I tried. My gay son wasn't interested in those types of rugged activities, and neither was my middle daughter. My youngest shows some promise, however. She's a big fan of mud pies.

#19 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2019-08-09 08:14 AM | Reply

The survey looks pretty bogus and the link to the raw data is just a link to another article. I suspect the decline in youth football is dragging the overall numbers down. The link to brain damage is too strong to ignore any longer. Add esports, then what do the numbers look like?

This is why Norway stinks at most every sport
They've won the most Olympic medals per capita. Fewer people than South Carolina and they totally dominate the winter games.

#20 | Posted by BluSky at 2019-08-09 08:37 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Nothing wrong with highly competitive.

Highly competitive?

Uber over the top competitive to the point where kids games are interrupted by parents brawling in the stands.

#21 | Posted by Nixon at 2019-08-09 09:50 AM | Reply

If the trophies every player got was a higher quality, perhaps kids wouldn't be fleeing the sports pharoah.

#22 | Posted by goatman at 2019-08-09 09:54 AM | Reply

My hometown will not field a high school football team this year

Not a bad thing considering the long term cognitive impact football has on the brain.

I would not let my child play football especially during the teen years when their brain is still developing.

#23 | Posted by Nixon at 2019-08-09 09:57 AM | Reply

More than likely most families are being priced out.
Past the little league age select sports are expensive and over priced.

Select baseball for a year in this area costs $3200+.

#24 | Posted by aborted_monson at 2019-08-10 05:32 PM | Reply

Testosterone levels have fallen ~25% over the last decades. Some is health/obesity linked, some is diet, and I think a majority is exposure to chemicals through food products, etc. This will have wide ranging consequences for a lot of things outside of sports - it just shows up in the sports very quickly and visibly.

#25 | Posted by iragoldberg at 2019-08-10 10:22 PM | Reply

Remember when is the lowest form of communication.

Just sayin'

#26 | Posted by truthhurts at 2019-08-10 10:29 PM | Reply

I would not let my child play football especially during the teen years when their brain is still developing.

#23 | POSTED BY NIXON AT 2019-08-09 09:57 AM | FLAG:

I can see being protective of your kids, and not wanting them to play football, but some other sports are just as dangerous or close to it.

My nephew who is a tremendous athlete has played Baseball, basketball, soccer, football, and track.

His worst injuries were playing baseball (sprained elbow) pitching, and getting his tooth knocked out by a cheapshot elbow play soccer.

He plays receiver and defensive back and has 5 colleges looking at him.
He is likely going to get his college education paid for because he plays football.

There are also positions in football that are less dangerous than others.
Running back and linebacker positions are more dangerous than a receiver or DB.

My brother and sis-in-law were hesitant to let him play but since he is a good kid, good athletes, gets good grades they let him make the final decision. They are glad they went that route.

#27 | Posted by aborted_monson at 2019-08-10 11:34 PM | Reply

"His worst injuries were playing baseball (sprained elbow) pitching, and getting his tooth knocked out by a cheapshot elbow play soccer."

I had 2 major knee surgeries from football. A torn ACL is almost a right of passage these days and they were preventive braces on top talent before the injuries occur now. My knee injuries affected me for about 7 years before my left knee really felt normal.

"Running back and linebacker positions are more dangerous than a receiver or DB."

My biggest fear as a parent would be a fat kid overheating during 2/day practices in the heat of summer without being prepared for the physical activity. Head contact + dehydration is what is really scary outside of the freak neck injuries.

#28 | Posted by iragoldberg at 2019-08-11 12:25 AM | Reply

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