Youth Sports in America Need an Overhaul

Jed - Denver, Colorado
Entered on May 2, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: sports
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This, I believe, America is ruining youth sports and as a result is creating an unprepared generation. When I was a kid growing up in the 80s and 90s I participated in youth sports because they were fun! My parents didn’t pressure me into participation but I immediately recognized the benefits: youth sports taught me how to live an active lifestyle, they taught me how to be competitive, they taught me how to be a leader, they taught me how to be a respectful winner and loser, they taught me how to interact with other humans and they taught me about work ethic.

In today’s world of youth sports every participant receives a trophy. They call it a “participation trophy.” A winner is not determined because they have done away with keeping score. The teams gather at a pre-determined location, I guess someone starts a clock and off they go. The teams are identified by their uniforms but I suspect that will not last too much longer because it could teach kids to discriminate against the other “participants.” Our society is committed to raising kids who think competition is a bad thing but as long as you show up, you are entitled to receive an award.

Apparently we are not interested in teaching the youth of America that it takes hard work and dedication to be successful in life. It will be a sad day when the youth of America “participates” in their first job interview and realizes that someone else got the job because they worked harder, arrived more prepared and were ultimatley a stronger candidate for the position. Sadly, I can picture a future generation of young adults running home with tears in their eyes confused as to why they were not hired, after all, they “participated” in the job interview just like everyone else.

We teach youth math, science and literature at a very early age, as we should, they are important subjects to learn and grasp at an early stage in life. When is America going to start teaching kids about LIFE itself! We need to teach kids that competition is a part of life as they are assured to face competition in everything they do as they progress through life. We are creating a generation of kids who think competition is a negative aspect of life and as a result we are going to suffer on the global playing field.