Friday, August 9, 2013

The Reality of High School Sports

You go along like I did as an assistant coach starting in T Ball. And then you move along through the In House Leagues. The playing gets more intense and more fun. The kids are starting to know what they are doing and talent springs eternal and you start to think your kid really has something. There are the standouts. The kids who in sixth grade are pounding the ball into the outfield. And then there are the kids who can pitch and have a fastball that freezes kids at the plate. All of this is with Dad Coaches and the parents are way into the games now and people scream because they are glimmering something bigger. High School ball.

And then it happens. Everyone troops off in the ninth grade and the numbers move in along with a reality that just seems so unfair. The majority of kids who have been playing baseball for nine years will not play anymore. They will either not make the team or they will make the team and sit on the bench. The chosen few continue on in high school but for most kids it is the end of playing sports. How did it come to this?

Too many people. The large high schools of the Chicago land area are a good example. The level of competition is such that only the very best of the best get to play. The influence of personal coaching and high priced sports clinics and programs. The parents who shell out the heavy duty cash just have a better chance of seeing their kids play in high school. Maybe it starts with the mentality of travel ball where kids wear uniforms like major leagues and parents again shell out thousands for the best teams.

So the reality of high school sports is that for most kids is marks the end of playing not the beginning. Gone are the days when everyone could get a chance to play. That belongs to a time when there just weren't as many people.

The Pitcher...sometimes a dream is all you have


Books by William Hazelgrove