On the need to pretend that children are professional athletes

November 30, 2013 | By | Reply More

As I watched these guys in the park today, I was reminded of many of the things they didn’t need to get a great workout and to play some serious soccer: uniforms, referees, cheering parents, scoreboard, official schedules and trophies.

IMG_5307  Tower Grove Soccer

IMG_5312  Tower Grove Soccer

IMG_5321  Tower Grove Soccer

IMG_5325  Tower Grove Soccer

They brought some orange plastic cones to serve as the goals. These players knew that it didn’t need to be “perfect” to be worthwhile. And they focused on the process of playing, not the score. There was great camaraderie between all the players on the field. They didn’t need any of the things so many parents and children think they NEED to play soccer in America.

I draw from experience similar to what I saw today. The guys in my neighborhood would put together pick-up games all the time. Soccer, baseball, football and street hockey. No parents, not referees, no scoreboards. We officiated our own games. If there were a dispute, we worked it out together. We picked the teams to make competitive matches. We knew who played well and not so well, and we divided them evenly.

As you can tell, I have some misgivings about how obsessed we have come about the “importance” of having out children play sports the “proper” way, which often includes “select” leagues and 20 mile trips to and from the site of the games.


Category: Athletics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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