In the not so distant past, kids played a variety of different sports. Sports had seasons and kids moved from one season to another, not settling on a single sport until their late high school years, if ever. This variety taught them different skill sets, types of movement, tempos, and paces. Multiple sports insured kids had different friends, coaches, and experiences. Sports were a balanced part of a well rounded childhood, where the family did not revolve around the child or his activities. Today, it is widely believed and practiced that parents should select their "kid's sport" by age eight. Once chosen, then the wholehearted investment, commitment/pressure, and expenses begin. These kids embark on a journey of conditioning seasons during the heat of the Summer, special camps, travel teams, year round sports, clinics, personal trainers, and position coaches - for ten year olds.
Let's consider the time. Public school demands more time from your child's life than ever before - 38 hours a week from bus ride to bus ride + homework. Then we drag these kids to hours of sports practices and games. Frazzled moms yell at tired kids to do their homework on the one hour commute to the "away" game and not get fast food mustard on the seat. Are you tired yet? Wait, there's more. Now multiply this scenario by the number of kids, who play different sports, have different practice times, and different locations. Mom takes one kid and Dad takes the other. Other relatives are recruited and this insanity bleeds over into households that don't even have children. Add in Scouts, Dance, Music, and Art because they need to be well rounded. The truth is we try to give our kids everything that we wanted and didn't get. Recently, I overheard a lady comment to a boy, "Where've you been, Justin? We haven't seen you in weeks." The young boy shook his head, sighed, and said, "I've had 11 games in the last 14 days." This conversation took place as the 7th grade Junior Cotillion class that was dismissing at 8:30 pm. That 12 year old boy had put in a 13 hour day and I'd bet he still had homework.