Friday, September 4, 2015

Playing the odds

Scouting in the Church (and everywhere else, really) often takes a back-seat to the organized sports leagues and camps that parents shell out oodles of cash for, all in the hopes of scholarships and a possible career. Let me restate that: The Church-sanctioned Youth development resource is eclipsed by the very big business of youth sports, all in an effort at some hoped-for, but very uncertain, future payout. This NPR story explains the bill of goods purchased.
[9yo] J.C. now has his baseball future all mapped out. "I'm going to go to Stanford and get a scholarship, and then I'm going to go to the Yankees in the MLB draft," he says.

Those big dreams aren't all that unusual. According to a recent poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 26 percent of U.S. parents whose children in high school play sports hope their child will become a professional athlete one day. Among families with household incomes of less than $50,000 annually, the number is 39 percent...

According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, only a tiny percentage of high school athletes actually go on to play professionally — roughly 1 in 168 high school baseball players will get drafted by a Major League Baseball team, and just 1 in 2,451 men's high school basketball players will get drafted by a National Basketball Association team.
I'm not saying youth sports is not worthwhile. My own kids have had some very good experiences with it. But my hope for them is that they learn the skills of the game, work hard, enjoy playing the game, whatever it is, and learn how to be on a team. We should use all the best options for our kids' growth - sports, school, Scouting, 4H or whathaveyou.  Keep it in perspective.  And remember that all those youth leagues charge all kinds of fees for a reason, and that reason is not your kid's future.  So, rather than make sports the sole focus from an early age, let the kids be kids, and let them grow up into what they choose.

This article is well worth reading. Not for a Scouting-vs-Sporting diatribe, which I hope I've avoided here, but simply for a reality check on how we use our children's, and our family's, resources, and our own expectations.

Prepared. | For Life.™

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