Some of you may know what its like to start out playing your first sport and in the beginning you are like every other youngster your age, having fun, learning the rules, the fundamentals, just playing. Think about how you felt back then playing that game. Maybe you were successful, maybe not, but it’s still “a game” and you enjoyed it. After a couple of years pass and you begin to think less and act more, being able to move throughout the game from experience and instinct, feeling more comfortable about how to do things within the framework of the games. During this time the players that normally “stand out” and excel are the bigger more developed kids, the ones who have an inept understanding of the game or contest for whatever reasons, or because they have had more instruction over that essential time span. Ironically, at this point and presumably into middle school now, the kids who have had more learning time in sports programs, camps, meets, and youth team practices are becoming more relevant and successful as players, especially in the view of the parents and club coaches. In fact, this is when they become wanted by the private club teams and those of you that have put your kids through these club teams know how expensive they are and understand that not everybody can participate. It’s not unheard of to spend $2000 plus, sending your daughter through a spring club volleyball season that’s lasts 3 months in the 7th grade. A lot of kids can’t play due to this one fact. Not every parent can afford to send 11-year-old Johnny on a round trip flight to San Bernardino, California and pay for 10 days worth of meals, lodging, water parks, ice cream, etc for the Little League World Series Regionals. Many parents can’t even pay for their son or daughter to go through a typical AAU basketball season. They need new shoes, money for the new uniforms, entry fees, etc. Yes these teams have sponsors but if the kid couldn’t play, he wouldn’t play. The point is, one reason Johnny “can play” is because he’s had 2 or 3 more years worth of instruction with additional off-season club teams and extra batting practices with qualified and connected coaches. Compare that to the other 11-year-old kids who haven’t been playing baseball year round since age 6 simply because they did not have parents that could put them on anything other than the seasonal t-ball or coach pitch teams.
Do you see the crack these kids are falling through?
I am working to change Spokane youth sports and even out the field.
Will you join me?