Today, we don’t have school. It’s a comp day from a Tuesday and Thursday of parent teacher conferences (that were successful). I’ve just not been focused today, and, for a change, so many things have been popping up in terms of writing.
One of my Facebook friends posted this article title “Why I Won’t Pay For Club Volleyball”, and I thought to myself someone had seen the light about the madness that is youth and club sports.
This author wrote about why he WAS paying for club volleyball, but put a more human spin and voice on a topic that’s starting to pop up in our neck of the woods.
I don’t agree, period. I don’t agree with separating our kids, haves and have nots. I don’t agree with the continued overspecialization of kids. I don’t agree with parents chasing scholarship money by over extending their kids.
I agree that ALL sports develop the ideals that the author hold dear: goal setting, work ethic, life lessons of victory and defeat, pride, and accountability. I agree that ALL sports can offer you that chance to make changes to yourself and your teammates, to gain self-confidence, to learn humility and grace, to learn how to respond to pressure, and how to be a leader. I don’t need to pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars in fees, hotels, food, gear, and gas for these things to develop. That’s part of life and learning. As the author talked of travel, new cultures, and so forth, couldn’t this money be spent traveling as a family? Finding those new places, eating new foods, spending time with each other, all of this is possible without funding a sports machine that is not always forgiving of our athletes.
I coached varsity basketball with my wife the first year of our teaching together, and really thought I’d want to continue that down the road. As time has marched on, I’ve found myself quite content in my middle school role as basketball coach. Part of why I don’t want to move to the varsity level, dealing with kids (and parents) who will put their travel team over their high school team.
I love that my daughters want to be part of teams. We spent four years with our oldest driving and allowing her to drive to a neighboring town to swim in high school. Our youngest runs cross country and track, played basketball, and also participates in dance. Each of them know, we’d pay for a camp for them to attend, but beyond that, if they wanted to get better, they had to put the time in themselves.
A little bit of a rant today, but as I read that article, I could find very few things that I agreed with. If you allow your son/daughter to play on these teams, it’s entirely your choice and I have no arguement with you. But please don’t think for a moment that you pay “for the opportunity for you to honor your teammates and coaches by always giving your best effort on and off the court.”
You are paying for club volleyball. The rest is life.
March 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm
My husband is also a teacher and a coach, so I totally understand the point of view here. I agree (and have seen first hand) that the mania to push kids in sports is out of control. It makes me so nervous for when my own daughter is ready for a team (although I think we’ll work on sitting up on her own first!). A really thoughtful response!
March 4, 2016 at 12:25 pm
Local team, elite team, elite gold team, it just gets more and more crazy! Plus, parents get mad about homework but will allow so much time to be spent on practice and tournaments? Ugh! I get a little fired up about this subject because I don’t think it’s good for our kids as a whole. But then again, I could be wrong! 😉
Thanks for the comment! 🙂
March 4, 2016 at 12:26 pm
Yep, I like the way your argument came together. I like the invitation to your children — get better with your own time/money. I coach a 7th grade team with my daughter and some of her friends. It’s awesome the way the team came together by the end of the season. It was a good experience for her that required zero hotel stays and no more than 150$. I’m under no illusion that the best way to pay for college is through sports!
March 4, 2016 at 11:42 pm
That’s another point with me too, the idea that if we get our child onto these teams, colleges will come knocking with sacks of money. What?? Invest that money in a 529 savings plan and really help your child with college! 🙂 I get too worked up about this!
Thanks for dropping by with a comment! 🙂
March 4, 2016 at 12:31 pm
I wish I had read this before we drank the Kool-Aid and allowed our son to try out for select soccer. We spent some big bucks and learned this lesson the hard way! Your point of view is well stated! I enjoyed the rant and would say a resounding “Amen!”
March 4, 2016 at 10:54 pm
Ha! 🙂 I’m sure there are other kook aid drinkers out there who might argue otherwise! I do appreciate your perspective on this, having lived it yourself!
March 4, 2016 at 1:35 pm
You didn’t come off as a rant because you held your stance on some very solid points. My husband is a high school football and baseball coach. I did NOT grow up in a family consumed with athletics. So we already, very regularly, have the discussion about how involved our daughter will get when she is old enough. Even the time of night that some of these teams have practice or games during the week is insane. My child will unfortunately be the one embarrassed by me when I say, “It’s getting late and you have school,” as I pull her off the field. I thought you did a very good job pointing out a very justified concern.
March 4, 2016 at 10:52 pm
Thank you for the comment! It’s amazing how often this topic is discussed, and how young the kids are who are involved! 😦
March 4, 2016 at 4:56 pm
Well said. Many of my students play on travel teams, and they all find the experience SO stressful…and exhausting.
March 4, 2016 at 10:51 pm
And for what? That’s my end game, if they they have a true passion for it, that’s one thing. But I see so many who, by the time high school hits, are just burnt out. Thank you for dropping by! 🙂
March 4, 2016 at 10:13 pm
I agree that you don’t have to pay to learn to work hard, support others, win and lose with grace. It was an interesting read for me as I do not yet have kids of my own and therefore have not had to really think those issues through. Thanks for sharing your perspective.
March 4, 2016 at 10:49 pm
And thank you for the comment. I’d agree, for those without kids, the subject may not always come up, but even as a teacher I’d see it. An interesting topic for sure! 🙂