Like Jane Brody in this New York Times article, I should be the last person to find the downsides of kiddie athletics. I'm still sweaty from a two-mile run at the gym. I have written many posts about the benefits of sports, especially for girls. However, after spending nearly every day last week on the edges of a soccer field, I can say that it is possible to have too much sports.
Many parents have unreasonable hopes that their kids will end up with athletic scholarships for college. Only a handful of athletic scholarships are handed out every year. Brody reports, "only a tiny few — 2 to 5 out of 1,000 high school athletes — ever achieve professional status." In sports like soccer, colleges recruit kids from an international pool; an average kid from Spain can trounce any star player from New Jersey. Better to spend more time on homework and less time at batting cages.
Injuries are a problem, which Brody points out.
Also, when practices and games become a seven day commitment, it becomes a strain on the family. It dominates life. It means no time for trumpet practice or art classes for a little brother.
Jonah's soccer season ends in a couple of weeks, and I am overjoyed. He's done really well this season and it's helped his self-esteem. It's a great way to burn off extra steam after school, especially since they don't get nearly enough activity during the day. He has many other interests and certainly doesn't see himself as "the sporty kid." But, at the same time, I think it's just too intense for him and for me.