Because Jonah loved soccer and tolerates the track team, we have spent a lot of time on the edges of soccer fields and in the track bleachers having polite conversations with random parents. A frightening number of them believe that their kids are going to play for the Mets or, at the very least, get a free ride to a fancy college, because they pitched a no-hitter for the 3rd grade Little League team. Delusional.
I love this article by a pediatric orthopedic surgeon about the intensity of sports training of little kids.
We buy the hype about scholarships to college, but the numbers don’t support the athletic route to money. Despite what your “professional coach” tells you about your child’s athletic prowess, it isn’t possible to tell if your 12-year-old has the right stuff to be a college athlete. Very few scholarships are full-ride packages; most don’t come close to covering the cost of college. But when I tell parents that their kid’s chance of scholarship money is less than 2 percent, they shake their heads in sympathy for the other 98 percent.
I treated two teenage sisters who had career-ending knee injuries in the same year. Fifteen thousand dollars of their father’s annual income had been going to three different elite traveling softball teams. His goal was a college scholarship. Now their knees and chances at athletic scholarships were ruined. But $15,000 a year would have been a great D.I.Y. college fund.