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kimoira
Kimoira  (Level: 202.0 - Posts: 1190)
Sat, 5th Sep '09 7:25 PM

KIDS AND SPORTS

I need the Sploofus collective here:

When I was in High School (70s), there were kids that played sports; the "jocks" etc. .I was not one of them and there were different categories for kids that did other things, like nerds, heads, greasers, etc.

The kids that wanted to play sports didn't seem to be in huge numbers and if you wanted to play a sport you went out for it, most likely got on the team, and that was that.

Nowadays, it is a whole 'nother story. My daughter is going in to 9th grade and has always gone out for many sports and last year had the good luck to make the "modified" teams for soccer, basketball and softball in 8th grade. The rules for JV (9th) grade are quite different though.

I am amazed at the "Travel" aspect involved here. "Travel" means playing on a team outside of a seasonal(regional) house league, usually lasting through out most of the year. My daughter plays on a travel softball league but not on soccer or basketball. She did not make the JV soccer team this year and it is not because she isn't good enough- the kids that had the "leg-up" were the ones that play on the travel team!

Travel teams were not in existence when I was that age, so I can't really grasp the concept but I guess the gist is if you ever want to qualify for Intramural sports in high school you'd better play on a travel team, or don't even bother going out for it!

I am curious if parents everywhere are going through this or is it just a regional thing ( I'm from NY State)? It begs a lot of questions and a few improprieties as well so I'd like to hear if any one else has experienced this?



osuzannacollage
Osuzannacollage  (Level: 132.1 - Posts: 1299)
Sat, 5th Sep '09 7:39 PM


My daughter's sport of choice for the last four years was cheerleading. The state of Florida has officially made it a sport now. Although she made the Varsity squad again this year, she's dropped out due to a back injury.

Her squad did great last year. They won both Florida state championships, and placed seventh in the nation. In many ways it was a wonderful experience for both of us. In many ways, it wasn't.

We had to pony up a huge amount of money in order for her to participate. Our cash provided the funding for all of the competitions and camps, as well as equipment, uniforms and the end-of-year banquet. Even though it's officially a sport, cheerleading isn't currently funded by the school. In fact, most of the girls' sports aren't. The football, baseball and soccer players (boys) are comped their equipment and uniforms, plus are provided a bus for their away games. The girls are on their own.

My main complaint is that cheerleading is all about competition now, which requires travel. We're fortunate to actually live in Orlando, where many competitions are held, but still must hit the road for many others. Years ago when I was a cheerleader, it was about school spirit. That's a thing of the past now. It's all about the trophies. If any cheerleader was unable to commit to travel, she wouldn't be on the team.

We're actually both quite relieved to have a year off from this all-consuming sport. My daughter actually has time to study this year, and with 3 AP courses for college credit, that's a blessing.



kimoira
Kimoira  (Level: 202.0 - Posts: 1190)
Sat, 5th Sep '09 7:49 PM

Suz you've hit on a couple of the issues I have. During this last "travel" softball season it came to a few hundred dollars for winter practice places and uniforms as well (not so bad). The real clincher is traveling to places up to a 50 miles radius for softball games, 2-3 nights per week.

All of this seems to be an impetus as to whether a kid will make it on to a high school team, where the scholarships etc, are, make no mistkae.

I found myself feeling blessed that I was able to drive her around to all of these games, but I could not help wondering about the parents that can not drive their kids to all of these games and what a disadvantage it puts some kids at !



virtus
Virtus  (Level: 162.2 - Posts: 2460)
Sat, 5th Sep '09 8:07 PM

My girls were all swimmers. Starting at 6 years old at our neighborhood pool, the parents were told that to be competitive we needed to enroll our kids in year round swimming. Of course, we did and entered into the most exciting and fun years of our life as a family. But not without a heavy price tag. The weekend meet would easily cost us several hundred dollars for travel, hotel, and meals. The better the swimmer the more it costs!! Then you have to take a plane to a national meet. Our girls loved swimming and so it was worth every penny for us, but I can see your concerns and it is NOT a regional phenomena.

kimoira
Kimoira  (Level: 202.0 - Posts: 1190)
Sat, 5th Sep '09 8:11 PM

Virtus thank you. I think I'm seeing a trend...

fudypatootie
Fudypatootie  (Level: 197.3 - Posts: 1302)
Sat, 5th Sep '09 8:41 PM

Yeah, definitely not regional. I'm in Missouri and the girls' softball here is the same - play on travel teams if you want to play on varsity in HS and go out for college scholarships. It's probably a good way to get really good at your sport because practices are more than just a few weeks each spring and the competition is really tough. If your child has any aspirations to play in college or professionally, I'd say go for it. My daughter quit softball when it began to take over her life and that was her choice since it wasn't her career goal, even though she was good.

Surely there could be some car pooling and/or fund raising activities to help offset the costs that come along with travel teams?

osuzannacollage
Osuzannacollage  (Level: 132.1 - Posts: 1299)
Sat, 5th Sep '09 9:59 PM


Fundraising is a whole 'nother issue. When she was in middle school in Alabama, my daughter's cheering expenses each year were several thousand dollars. That's ridiculous! It was a public school, after all.

Anyway, we both spent every Saturday and/or Sunday bagging groceries for tips for months. We also sponsored school dances, held babysitting nights at the school, sold advertising space in the cheerleader calendar, sold zillions of trinkets (pompoms, rubber bracelets, stickers, etc.), sold candycanegrams at Christmas, held car washes once a month, sponsored king-and-queen-of-the-whatever contests, and on and on and on. The fundraising actually consumed our lives.

Was it really necessary? Well, in order for my daughter to participate, it was. We could have written a check for several thousand dollars, but that couldn't happen at our house. Instead, we slaved away on endless fundraising events, and committed our every free moment to that end.

Again, the reason we were required to pay so much money was the quest for trophies. Period. And if you wanted to be a cheerleader, it was about winning championships. I find this almost offensive.

At any rate, we only have one fundraiser here in Orlando at my daughter's school each year. It's selling ads for the football program. Needless to say, the economy here is not conducive at the moment to this being a successful venture. So if you don't sell the ads, you pony up.

Which way is better? Endless weekends of fundraising, or one shot with not much chance of meeting your goal but having some free time? Both ways are problematic and stressful. Why are girls' sports not as valued as the boys' sports? Why are the boys funded and the girls left out in the cold? Anyone else feel that this is wrong?

osuzannacollage
Osuzannacollage  (Level: 132.1 - Posts: 1299)
Sat, 5th Sep '09 10:23 PM


Meant to say that, although expensive for us, my daughter's high school here in Florida requires less individual funding than the middle school in Alabama did. Still, it's well over a thousand dollars. How many children can't participate in school sports because of the high cost to their families? It's a shame. More emphasis should be placed on participation, and less on competition in all school sports across the board. Why should any child suffer because their family can't afford it? School is about opportunities.

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.7 - Posts: 2144)
Sat, 5th Sep '09 11:05 PM

Practice, practice, practice and dedication. That includes the school leagues, the city leagues, the traveling teams, and playing in 2 different city leagues. When you play that much, you're always going to have a leg up on the casual once a year participant. That's just how it is.

My oldest daughter played softball, basketball, and was a gymnast and we did it all. However, softball was her passion so she played in all of the above, including joining a league in a city about 30 miles away, and a fall league in Spokane, WA, about an hour and a half away (she played only on Sundays). Since it was her biggest joy in life, I scraped all the money I had to keep her doing these things. When she was a freshman, still in the junior high, she was the 1st person to ever play for the high school varsity team. She eventually went to college on a softball scholarship, and played until she blew out her knee (which, ironically was from an old track & field injury). If that's what they want, you just try to find a way to do it. I was able to do so and I always took a carload of girls whose parents were unable to go.

My son does track and cross country, but isn't very competitive. Instead, we spend a lot of money on music lessons and haul him and his guitar around to performances, or open mike nights he wants to attend.

My youngest daughter is following in her sister's footsteps, but also does the music like her brother. Before they started music, they were in dance and we did that whole shebang.

There are so many opportunities available to kids now that we didn't have (summer camps, summer & fall leagues, etc.) and for some, athletics is no longer a casual pastime. Of course, there are the freaky sports parents who live vicariously through their kids, whether they like it or not, but when you have a kid that wants to do it so badly, you just find a way.

They could sure be into a lot of worse things.

osuzannacollage
Osuzannacollage  (Level: 132.1 - Posts: 1299)
Sat, 5th Sep '09 11:23 PM

"There are so many opportunities available to kids now that we didn't have (summer camps, summer & fall leagues, etc.) and for some, athletics is no longer a casual pastime." So true, but now so expensive!

Am sure that we all make extreme monetary sacrifices for our children. Instead of eating out more than once every three months, my daughter takes gymnastics classes. It's a trade-out thing. Of course, it's more important that she has opportunities and is able to attain her goals. When it came to sports, it nearly broke us. I'm a single mom who hasn't had the benefit of child support in the last seven years. It's tough! Sure don't want to see my daughter suffer because her dad's a deadbeat and we have to pay to play in public school. Something's wrong here.

My point is...why has it become necessary for families to pay so much for their kids to participate in public school sports? How is that fair and equitable for all students? How many children have been literally benched on the sidelines because their family simply can't pay? This is public school! Shouldn't all students have the same opportunity as the next kid?

osuzannacollage
Osuzannacollage  (Level: 132.1 - Posts: 1299)
Sat, 5th Sep '09 11:43 PM


While I'm on a rant here...

I've never received any public assistance of any kind. I totally pay for my child and her upbringing by myself. We have to cut a lot of corners, and I often feel terrible that I can't provide everything for her that I wish. She's a beautiful, intelligent and poised young lady. She has goals, and is going places!

Am so proud of all of her accomplishments!

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.7 - Posts: 2144)
Sat, 5th Sep '09 11:57 PM

You pay a lot for public school sports?

osuzannacollage
Osuzannacollage  (Level: 132.1 - Posts: 1299)
Sat, 5th Sep '09 11:59 PM


Sure do!

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.7 - Posts: 2144)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 12:02 AM

Like a pay to play? How much?

osuzannacollage
Osuzannacollage  (Level: 132.1 - Posts: 1299)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 12:10 AM


I don't know what a "pay to play" is.

However, I certainly did pay an exorbitant proportion of my income in order to ensure that my child could do sports. I find that sad. Public school shouldn't differentiate between those who "have" and those who don't. It should be about equal opportunities. Frankly, it almost broke me. Really.

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.7 - Posts: 2144)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 12:20 AM

We have pay to play here. My son is on the cross country team, and I had to pay $35 to the school district for him to play. I believe they started doing that due to dwindling school budgets and rather than cut sports programs entirely, they now share the burden of the cost with the participants. It helps cover the extra costs of coaches, uniforms, bus drivers and school bus gas for away games, etc.

Is that the kind of cost you're talking about?

osuzannacollage
Osuzannacollage  (Level: 132.1 - Posts: 1299)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 12:24 AM


Sounds about the same -- except for the cost. My "pay to play" for cheerleading was $1650 this year -- much less than her middle school in Alabama, but hard to tackle nonetheless.

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.7 - Posts: 2144)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 12:25 AM

HOLY CRAP!

Was that the school required cost or did they decided to order fancy uniforms or something?

osuzannacollage
Osuzannacollage  (Level: 132.1 - Posts: 1299)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 12:28 AM


No new uniforms -- all recycled from previous years.

That's basically the competition fees. That's what it's all about now.

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.7 - Posts: 2144)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 12:39 AM

I'm shocked that its a public school sport that costs that much. Those competitions have to be private ones or else there wouldn't be a competition fee. You know how school basketball teams compete against each other, and there's no fee? This is an entirely different animal. Wow. Sorry. That's awesome that you find a way to make it happen for your daughter. I am surprised that the school wouldn't try to find other ways to fund these things: Booster club, donations, fund raisers, etc.

When I was president of our Moscow Fastpitch Association, I would set up a fireworks booth every year as a fundraiser. We would take in about $5,000 for the association. It substantially helped defray costs for our traveling teams.


osuzannacollage
Osuzannacollage  (Level: 132.1 - Posts: 1299)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 12:46 AM


It is shocking, particularly to those of us who have to pay it. But it doesn't end there...that's just the initial beginning of the year fee. If you can't pay it, your child is out. What follows is private gymnastics lessons, which are required. Also, many other minor things. In other words, it gets quite expensive. That's what I meant when I said that many children are benched. Their parents can't afford it, or it's a hardship that their families aren't equipped to endure.

Frankly, I can't understand it. Every child should have the same opportunity to excel in sports in public school. Isn't that what we all pay for?

And why is it that the "girl" sports are particularly inflicted?

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.7 - Posts: 2144)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 12:53 AM

I have no answer for that. I would be outraged. I could see those kinds of requirements and costs for a private club, but not a public school. If we faced those kinds of costs, my kids would be one of the benched ones. My hat off to you for making it happen.

kimoira
Kimoira  (Level: 202.0 - Posts: 1190)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 6:21 AM

I haven't heard of pay to play yet, but the budget is an issue and also the sheer numbers of kids that want to play sports. There are so many parents who work evening jobs for example, who are not able to do the multi-team committments that are needed for kids to stay competitive now. Might be lucrative to start a transportation business for kids who want to play on travel teams but can't get there for one reason or another, maybe fund-raising is another way. Things sure have changed from back in the day though.

pepperdoc
Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4286)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 6:51 AM

My son's yearly fee to play basketball in the school system was about $75. The parents did an endless round of fundraising. (I don't ever want to see faux melted cheese on chips again, after serving that countless times in a concession stand.) We did concession stands at games, sold ads for programs, had a pancake breakfast, collected items for a silent auction, worked at Sonic to collect tips, etc. On the other hand, the players also helped and they did community service as a team.

I've been told by parents of cheerleaders and hockey players, that those two are probably the most expensive school sports from a parents' wallet standpoint.

smaug
Smaug  (Level: 141.2 - Posts: 2772)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 10:41 AM

Disclaimer: I only read the first post and I'm addressing this question:

"""I am curious if parents everywhere are going through this or is it just a regional thing ( I'm from NY State)? It begs a lot of questions and a few improprieties as well so I'd like to hear if any one else has experienced this?"""

I've head coached over 30 youth sports teams, mostly baseball, including youth up to American Legion.

Tryouts are a nightmare. someone is going to get hurt, feel their kid's pain, heck, feel the injury to their gene pool maybe.

A lot of decisions are friendship and politics fer too many coaches. May be the majority -- it is tough to cut a friend's kid from all their social circle, a kid that has lived the sport since a tyke, perhaps. Someone whose parents have helped the program.

More to the subtle points of building a team, and one many parents can not appreciate are the subtle pieces of knowledge that help a team sport.

I speak mostly to baseball. Say at age 12 you have a physically gifted kid come lang and maybe he is on the bubble, in that 12th to 16th range rank. You keep the top eleven, cut 17 and up, then agonize over the others.

At the more competitive, older level, you have to ask yourself: does this physically impressive kid know baseball? Sure he hit a pitch a mile in tryouts and his parents were proud. But does he know how to take a lead? Hit the cutoff? Execute a hit and run? Be selective at the plate?

If not, is some coach going to have the time to teach him? Is he coachable? Is he a jerk? Will the kid and his parents put in the incredible time commitment? Does he have a truly outstanding physical attribute, speed or a powerful arm, that is going to make developing him worth it?

If he isn't going to replace a starter, is he going to be an asset to the team in others ways? Can he be a competent backup catcher? A fast pinch runner who won't blunder on the bases? Can he lay down a sacrifice bunt when you really need it?

My story is, my son was not an A team player at 10 and 11. So I started a B team. We had enough kids and enough competent parents to help. Many of those kids grew into high school stars (inc my son who was MVP). In fact, players started joining the B team because the A team coach was a jerk.

Cuts suk. It's the toughest pat of being a coach.

felix
Felix  (Level: 109.3 - Posts: 2500)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 11:01 AM

I agree. I coached youth baseball for 12 years. I retired from coaching before my four sons were old enough to play. Cuts sucked. I was cut from my first Little League team. A kid got sick and I got a uniform. The feeling of not being an original coach's choice stung.

In recent years everyone wanted everyone to play and have fun. More teams than were practical were formed. Some with 10 players. One illness or one kid caught up in a broken home situation left many games ending in forfeit. The kids that could play well were punished because some mom that didn't which end you hold the bat by, wanted Leland to play baseball. The whole process of wanting to be competitive and PC at the same time made it unpleasant.

I was physically ill when I realized that I was going to have to cut a neighbors child. This child did not have the best environment and rejecting him seemed like it would effect him on other levels. The day of cuts this child had a schoolyard fight with another child on the team at school. A concussion given at his on hand caused him to make the team. That was my last year of coaching. God Bless the few coaches that do it for all the right reasons.

kimoira
Kimoira  (Level: 202.0 - Posts: 1190)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 11:59 AM

Politics is a factor, to be sure. Coaches on the local league are social with each other and there are quite a few of the local school teachers that coach for the town's house teams as well as the school teams, the social/polticial aspect spills over in to the school. I can see where certain communities might be more susceptible to that than others.

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.7 - Posts: 2144)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 12:39 PM

Like Smaug, I've coached my brains out. I've coached girls' fastpitch for many years. My philosophy is that I don't care if we win a single game all season. To me it is successful when I see the girls take what I've taught them, and do it properly on the field. There might be an overthrow at first, but if it is stopped immediately because the right fielder had run over to back up the throw, then for me, it is as good or better than the out. It means I've done my job.

This year, I had a couple of girls who are standout athletes. The father of one of them is a teacher at the high school. He sent me a note after the season was over and told me that this was his daughter's best athletic season ever, of any sport she has ever played, in terms of learning, growing as an athlete, and being coached.

As a coach, that's what its all about. That is all you can hope for. Its unfortunate when many of the others make it all about them and the score.

sandracam
Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 12:55 PM

Mucho congrats to all of you who coach!

sandracam
Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 12:55 PM

Mucho congrats to all of you who coach!

smaug
Smaug  (Level: 141.2 - Posts: 2772)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 1:00 PM

The other factor I forgot to mention are positions. You need two guys that are solid catchers and another that knows how the gear goes on and can be in the bullpen. You need x number of pitchers, dependent upon the schedule and league rules. If you want your kid to make those cuts, it would be best to know more than one position, and one suited to his skills.

If you want your kid to advance in sports, it is a parental commitment too, and, frankly, some strategy in looking at where your kids plays. My son played every position in high school games except SS and 3B. He pitched two no-hitters in high school.
He was the fastest kid in his age group, but was a catcher all the way up to 13, (because I was a catcher and taught him, and simply, there was no one else on most of our teams that could keep the damn ball in front of him).

But there was an awesome catcher in our system, the same age, who was a monster, 6'4 with a cannon, and is playing D1 ball now. The high school varsity coached reached all the way down to 8th grade and instructed the middle school coach that my kid was CF from now on. But as late as his senior year, the varsity coach told me if the monster kid got injured, my son was the V catcher. You'll never get cut for being able to catch .

Anyway, I feel everyone's pain in these situations. The cuts have to be fair, but don't think it is easy cutting the kid who maybe isn't the best physical athlete, but who has been playing travel ten years, making all the trips, and his family has built their psyche around the sport.

I had one kid who was literally the best kid in the league ages 8, 9, 10. Great hands and a contact hitter. But we move to the big diamond at 13, and he was tiny and not particularly fast. Couldn't make the throws from anywhere but 2B. Those bloop hits over the infield on the 45 foot diamond were soft liners right at infielders on the big field. Those little legs would pump harder than anyone but you need those long levers in the arms and legs.

Fortunately, his father (a small guy) was savvy enough to switch him to soccer before I had to do anything. He excelled there.

By the way, I'm a carded ump. Don't even get me STARTED on those experiences.



lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.7 - Posts: 2144)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 1:03 PM

I would rather have a roofing nail enema than be an ump.

kaufman
Kaufman  (Level: 257.0 - Posts: 3936)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 1:23 PM

Smaug, I'm so sorry that your son's middle school coach didn't have the backbone to tell the high school coach to worry about his own damn team, and I hope your kid survived the trauma of being moved from his position of choice for the sake of something completely outside his team. That's just terrible.

smaug
Smaug  (Level: 141.2 - Posts: 2772)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 1:34 PM

Thanks, Ken, but it was a smart move by the V coach and I appreciated it. My son, with speed and without a catcher's build, was much better suited to CF than catcher, and certainly more interested in starting than sitting on the bench behind the number one catcher for four years. As I said, he went on to be MVP at CF.

I should say, the coach had him keep his hand in with catching, and he would slip him to JV on off days where he would start at catcher.

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.7 - Posts: 2144)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 1:51 PM

Definitely need a bruiser behind the plate. I'm concerned about my daughter. She has a slight build, but currently the only kid in her age group that can catch (12 yr old in a 12-14 league). She has the arm, the speed, and is as intuitive as I've ever seen. She's just not going to ever have the size unless she takes after her dad. But my heart about leaps out of my chest to see her pick off a dropped 3rd strike at first. The one that will always be branded in my brain was a wild pitch that bounced the ball clear over to our 3rd base dugout. The batter swung, took off to first, and Rylee ran clear over to our dugout and zinged her out at first. It put the team out of the tournament.

Times like that make you glad to be a coach AND a parent.

I think today we'll go out and play catch.

fudypatootie
Fudypatootie  (Level: 197.3 - Posts: 1302)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 7:06 PM

The softball moment I remember most was when my daughter was catching and there was a play at the plate and the 3rd base"man" threw the ball a bit wild. Carrie had the habit of flipping off her face mask when catching from the field because she felt like she couldn't see well enough. Well, you guessed it, bam, right on the bridge of her nose. Broke it. Bled everywhere. When she put her vest on 3 weeks later, there were still blood stains down the front!

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.7 - Posts: 2144)
Sun, 6th Sep '09 8:32 PM

When my nephew was playing catcher, he had a pitch take a bad hop, and then he was frantic - he couldn't find the ball. People were stealing bases and he was scrambling around looking for the ball.

It was stuck in the bars of his catcher's mask. Of course, everyone was yelling at him but with so many people yelling, he couldn't understand what was being said.

Funniest thing ever.


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