Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Rare Rant

This will be a brief and rare rant for me, but I need to get it out of the way. Organized sports for our children is way too...organized. Kids playing in leagues below high school age do not need silk uniforms. They do not need their names on the back of their jerseys. They do not need matching duffels with the team name on it or large flags waving over the field. Ten year old football players do not need eight year old cheerleaders in miniskirts and makeup cheering them on. Coaches do not need matching uniforms.

When I coach my sons' soccer games, I love having a third of the group wandering either in mind or body off the field. I love the kids who run like crazy only to miss the ball completely. I love the parents who cheer for both teams and for pretty much anything. I love coaches who do as much laughing and smiling as yelling.

I've read recently that American soccer has become way too structured, that kids are not learning the creativity and flow of play that comes from playing pickup games wherever there is a flat space and a round object. I wonder what it is about American culture that seems to be forcing our adults to live vicariously through our children, forcing them to live out dreams we never followed through on.