Both of my girls played sports in elementary school, middle school, and high school. My older daughter played volleyball and basketball. My younger daughter played basketball and soccer. They played for their community, for their town, for regional club teams, and national club teams. As of November 2018, I no longer have any children playing K-12 sports.
I have seen a lot over the years. I coached my daughters in basketball when they were young. I’ve watched men and women coach my kids. And, perhaps most revealing, I’ve sat in the stands and on the sidelines with a lot of parents and listened to a lot of criticism of coaches, referees, and poorly paid park and recreation employees. I’ve overheard the gossip and largely kept my mouth shut.
Over the years I have come to the conclusion that youth sports is broken. And it’s because of the ambition of the parents, not the kids. One of these days I am going to write a long piece about what I have seen, but for now I will just let South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin handle it. Martin doesn’t capture everything I might one day say about my experience with youth sports, but it is a start.