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.