Welcome to a new voice from the world of sports. This blog is intended to be an extension of my book, Overplayed: A Parent’s Guide to Sanity in the World of Youth Sports which will be released on Tuesday, March 8 by Herald Press, the book imprint of MennoMedia. I, along with my co-author Margot Starbuck, hope that this book stimulates a lot of conversation about the current state of youth sports with it’s potential for negatively impacting children, families, churches and communities. While we understand the opportunity youth sports can provide for the development of life skills in young children through teens, we have also personally witnessed situations that have “torn down” more than they have “built up” young people. And the latter has been seen far too often.
As the youth sports movement has exploded over the past twenty years, parents have bought into assumptions and myths that have been fed to them by self-serving adults who seem to have forgotten that the experience is for the kids. Myths are simply “ideas that have circulated for so long and with such frequency that many of us don’t question them”. Our book, based largely on accumulated experiences from my 35 years in teaching, coaching and athletic administration at all educational levels, elementary through university, aims to help parents sort through the voices and pressures to make decisions that are in the best interest of their children and their families, both now and in the future. Youth sports can be an insane environment. And we are all capable of irrational behavior when it comes to our children. So we hope to guide parents into a more sane existence through careful analysis of myths that we buy into and give freedom to make difficult decisions that may be counter to the current youth sports culture.
So I hope this blog becomes a space for you to share your stories, a place for me to respond to your questions and criticisms and an opportunity for me to speak into current situations in the sports world with the hopes of providing a different or fresh perspective. But please know, I/we are not anti-sports. Quite the opposite. We see the potential for good being high-jacked by those who can’t seem to let it be “for the kids”.
I have included links that will provide you with more information about the book. You can comment on this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And watch for announcements about a launching party here in Harrisonburg, VA as well as other public appearances I’ll be making when invited to talk about the book. Welcome to the journey. I’m looking forward to the trip and hope you will come along.