We're Not Taking Kids' Sports Seriously Enough

Jonathan Mahler thinks that's contributing to our 'sick' sports culture
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2013 1:29 PM CDT
We're Not Taking Kids' Sports Seriously Enough
Kids need to learn to play soccer the right way, Jonathan Mahler argues.   (Shutterstock)

The story of the 17-year-old soccer player accused of fatally punching a referee on the pitch was indeed indicative of "America's sick youth sports culture," writes Jonathan Mahler at Bloomberg. (Other examples might include this and this.) But the conventional wisdom about why is all wrong. "The problem isn’t that we take youth sports too seriously," he writes. "It’s that we don’t take them seriously enough." Instead of acknowledging the natural urge to determined competition, we cling to the fantasy that these are innocent games "where nobody's keeping score."

As a result, "kids haven’t been taught to respect the games they’re playing. Parents haven’t been told to shut up and let the coaches do their job." We should be treating these sports as the serious endeavors they can be; Mahler's son practices soccer nine hours a week. "As I see it, he's getting a second education on the soccer field—one that emphasizes discipline, perseverance … and the ability to cope with disappointment." Encouraging kids to get serious about their chosen pursuits will foster maturity—and America will "get some world-class professional athletes in the bargain." Click for the full column. (More youth sports stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.