S E E D E D C O N T E N T
Important information for sports parents. I think some of us lose sight of the fact that these young athletes' bodies are still maturing, and pushing too hard now can have life-long ill effects.
I have a nephew who is married to a woman who was an all state volleyball player in the early 90's and went on to become an all- American woman's volleyball player in Division II.
They have 5 kids, all teenagers now ( 2 sets of twins) and all five of the kids have played club sports for many years. They have traveled all over the midwest to play in tournaments , baseball and volleyball, and even have occasionally traveled to one of the coasts for national tournaments. All five of the kids have played sports for their high school teams. Two of the girls play volleyball at an all girls catholic school that has won the state championship in that sport 10 times in the past 40 years. One of the boys is a starter on the boys volleyball team at his high school that won the state championship just this past June. So this is sports at a very high level for high school.
The downside, from an "outsiders" perspective? It is very expensive, and the kids are at risk for injury. My nephew and his wife have spent around 150,000 dollars on their five kids athletic endeavors. It is not cheap to participate in club sports on teams that travel around the country. It is a business for the coaches of these teams and they charge high fees.
And there can be injuries. One of the kids dislocated his kneecap playing basketball. Another missed a season with foot surgery. One of the girls had to quit basketball in her junior year because she had torn ligaments in her shoulder. The team went to the state championship game that year (2018) and she had just quit the team because of injury.
It is , for lack of a better word, a way of life for these people. They go to almost all of the games, socialize with the other parents, and basically live and die with how it goes. When the boy volleyball player made it to the state championship game last spring, his mother and father and 10 or 15 of the other players parents were seen throwing down shots of tequila behind the open trunk of one of their cars before going into the arena. To calm the nerves.
My son's friend has a father who is obsessed with baseball, and used to coach a travel team. My son played for him. It was the only time I've ever taken my son out of a game. They had a weekend tournament, and pitch limits for pitchers were suspended. He closed in the first game, pitched another start to finish, and started the last. When I saw him start to lag in the third inning or so, I told the coach he was done. The coach's son caught for the entirety of the tourney, and his knees were pretty sore by the last game.
Coaches are far too willing to ignore player welfare for a win. To me, the long game is more important. One tournament win is not worth my kid having a lifetime of shoulder or elbow pain. Coach needs to develop another pitcher.
Back in the day, I used to coach Little League for the township in which I grew up.
I forbid our pitches to throw curve balls or fork balls (Now called split fingers fast balls).
There was even back then a growing body of evidence that young men the right age for little league were coming down with "tennis elbow".
Their bones and supporting tissues had not yet matured and set to the point where that series of motions did not place weaker parts of the skeletal and supporting systems to the point of life long injuries.
A few parents, mostly fathers wanted me fired because it gave other team's pitchers a competitive edge.
It also gave Doctors more business.
There was a public opened meeting at Town Hall.
I brought in Professors from the State Medical School to testify that what I was doing would protect the health of our young players.
The take away from this story is twofold.
First, the Township made it policy that no practice in any sport supervised by the Township Recreation Department could take place if it placed youth at health risk.
Next, my employment with the Township was terminated.
As a college student who did this for summer work I neither paid taxes, nor made political contributions.
I took it as a double win for me.
The health of the children was now subject to protections which placed their well being above win and loss columns.
That more than anything else mattered to me.
Also, when I was fired the owners of a local hat factory hired me to Coach their adult slow pitch league softball team.
They paid me five times what the Township did.
I also got an important perk.
They gave me a dozen free hats they made on contract for Borsalino.
I could not have afforded even one on what summer work paid.
I kept three.
The others I gave, one each to our Congregational Rabbis, Cantor, and Hebrew School Teachers.
They couldn't afford them either on what our Shteible paid.
When we showed up on the Sabbath, and other warm weather High Holy Days we were know as "The Glory of Their Times".
In the mid 1960's a Columbia University Professor, Lawrence Ritter wrote a book by that name.
He drove over 75,000 miles interviewing older baseball players.
Sporting Borsalino Lids in Schul by underpaid Clergy, Congregational serving Laity and a recently terminated summer seasonal town employee was our day in the sun.
It was our turn to be in the glory of our time.
The hat factory business sales quintupled as word got out about how they handled a situation where someone became unemployed in order to protect the health of boys.
America at its finest!
Peace, Abundant Blessings and Head Gear for All.
Enoch, Covering My Chrome Dome Stylishly.
I coached 12-14 year old girl's basketball , for a school team , for about 10 years. Sports gives girls a lot of self-confidence, and is a good thing. However, money got involved in a big way about 30 years ago and "club" teams proliferated to the point where you cannot make a high school team unless you are affiliated with a club team . And they do play all year round. Two days after my nephew won the state championship with his boys volleyball team, the club team season began. The club season will end shortly before the high school team season begins in March.
When my sons played soccer at the u 12 to 18 level they practiced 4 to 5 days a week year round. one year we went to tournaments in Italy and England in the same year when my oldest was in the National ODP pool.