Most Expensive Game
"Commercialization is obscuring the life lessons of youth
sports: striving, succeeding, and failing, always on the merits. In
an age when everything seems to be for sale--higher SAT scores, a slot
on a college sports team, or your child's name in lights--we've been
brainwashed to believe that exellence in sports is a product on a
shelf, like laundry soap or a necktie. It isn't, and
commercialization is drowning out a vital truth."
This is the basic idea behind Mark Hyman's The Most Expensive
Game In Town. In this richly researched and eminantly readable book
he shows how too many adults are making incomes off of kids' sports.
He also shows how this is often in the kids' best interests. Two group
of children lose out in this world of greed and exploitation: kids
whose families can afford to give them nothing but the best and those
whose families can't.
For well off kids, when it comes to sports, the sky's the
limit. They can start honing their skills in toddler gyms. Their are
posh sports camps. Travel leagues and tournaments can make big dents
in family time as well as discretionary income. There's a whole
industry built around getting high school kids coveted spots on
At the other end of the spectrum are the kids who have been
squeezed out of organized sports as government funds have dried up.
In an increasingly play to pay world a lot lose out, especially inner
If you want to get a candid look at the commercialization of
children's sports today you'll find The Most Expensive Game In Town
well worth reading.
On a personal note, when Katie was in middle school she got
involved in a wonderful government funded sports camp program run at
University of Maine. The kids were exposed to academics as well as
athletics. The goal was to raise aspirations. For many kids from
disadvantaged families and neighborhoods the being on campus made
college seem like a real possibility. Unfortunately, like many
similar aspirations based programs, it fell victim to budget cuts.
Sadly. We so need programs like that to bridge the gap between have
and have not.
A great big shout out goes out to all who work to help the kids who
are left far behind by an overcommercial youth sports world.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod