We are just coming to the end of another season of youth sports in our home. Two of our kids tried new sports this season: track and field for the junior, who wanted to work on his strength and conditioning for football, and lacrosse for our 7th grader, who wanted to join the wave of young people trying this growing sport. Our 5th grader did a stint with a spring hockey team as well as joined the middle school track team (consider it additional speed and conditioning to complement the once/week practices for the spring hockey).
I’m guessing there’s some eye-rolling from readers about “crazy youth sports parents.” And we might deserve it.
We’re not alone. Mark Hyman, a sports journalist and parent, was prompted to explore the youth sports complex based on his own crazy parenting. He discusses it in his new book, “Until It Hurts: America’s Obsession with Youth Sports and How It Harms Our Kids.”
Jane Brody’s column in today’s NYT covers the book. While injuries are part of the problem, what caught my eye was this: “with each passing season youth sports seem to stray further and further from its core mission of providing healthy, safe and character-building recreation for children.”
I hope you’ll join me, as we move from one sports season to the next, in using Hyman’s standard to determine whether or not it’s the right choice for your child. Ask yourself: Are my kids involved in healthy, safe, and character-building recreation?