I spent the better part of the past four days at Eau Claire’s Gelein Field, covering the 2010 NCAA Division III Softball Championships. Most of my time was spent in the pressbox, providing the play-by-play for the live webstream of the games…although, Monday, I spent some thirteen innings shooting video from a perch on a scissor-lift parked behind the right field fence–a veritable griddle in the 90 degree heat.
While the entire event brought out a nice contingent of fans (most from the respective college and universities, along with a few from the community), one demographic was conspicuously absent: young female softball players. Over the four days, I did notice a few HS teams in attendance, along with a few dads with their young daughters, but I’m perplexed as to why there weren’t more youth teams in the stands.
It reminds me of a conversation I had with a college basketball coach at a state HS basketball tournament. The coach had a good point: why don’t all these youth leagues stop scheduling their tournaments for just one weekend so the kids could come to watch the state tournament? After all, isn’t this to what the youngsters aspire?
I”m all for youth sports, and I think it’s great for kids to have an opportunity to compete. Still, I know more than a few youngsters who spend far more time traveling to and from their weekly squirt hockey tournaments than they do on the ice, honing their skills. That’s a trend that’s not just limited to hockey, either.
So, how about it, parents & coaches? Is it time to step back just a bit for a better look at the big picture? Could kids benefit from less time competing, and more time practicing? And how about letting the young athletes take a few moments away from their games to watch some of the older ones play?
You could find far worse role models than the athletes in Division III college sports–where being successful in the classroom is the rule, rather than the exception.
Posted under Hometown Sports
This post was written by bbradovich on May 25, 2010