Small town sports
Every once in a while as a grandparent I take part in that small-town/suburban ritual that I missed as a kid and as a parent: youth soccer league. Today we went to my grandson's first "game" for the 5-year old division. It was all pretty low-key, lots of cheering for both teams, kids running around and having fun without too much emphasis on the niceties of strategy (or rules).
Before the game the referee talked with players and parents (and grandparents) about not criticizing other players and coaches, about cheering when either team scored a goal, etc. The game ended with the standard team "line-up and shake hands" ritual. It was all very pleasant and the kids for the most part seemed to enjoy themselves.
So why does it seem faintly out of whack to me? Maybe just because it feels like an alien culture where I don't quite fit. Or maybe it's because these sorts of kids' sports are attended by more parents (and grandparents) than kids. Who are they for, really? If you could truly leave it up to the kids, is this how they'd play?
After the game many of the kids from both teams—along with brothers, sisters and friends—ran to the nearby playground where they spent the next half hour or more just playing. No teams, no coaches, no uniforms, no rules. Looked like they were having a great time. Why do adults need to make everything so complicated?
What's your opinion of organized sports for little kids? Add your comment by clicking below.