The ratchet of youth sport

So, after listening to this and going to my son’s hockey game last night, I’ve had some second thoughts around this meandering rant. Having said that, my second thoughts haven’t turned me away from sharing something that is slightly against the grain of popular opinion.

Youth sport is less about the youth these days

This isn’t an staggering concept to any parents with children enrolled in an activity. It seems these days that youth activities have become a bit part of the social lives of many of the parents that I see at the games. We have fun. We connect. I like the people who are the other parents. And. In a thirty minute house league game, my son was perhaps on the ice for 7 minutes. Seven minutes.

Why are we here?

Are we here to play hockey? Are we here to learn the game? To progress? Or is this about belonging somewhere? Belonging to a team? Belonging to a certain status in your class at school? Belonging in Canada? It seemed like a lot of hellubaloo – three hours of our lives for 7 minutes of time playing the game. Sure, he plays with his friends on the team, on the bench – but do we as a family really need to spend so much money for horsing around?

The ratchet

It’s ugly. Tournaments. Jerseys that match socks that match their name bars… How does this make hockey more fun? I would argue that playing more shifts, skating more, making nicer passes makes hockey more fun. If my son wants to pretend he is a pro hockey player, he can do it in the basement, or while playing street hockey. At the age of 10, he doesn’t need the ‘Pro’ experience. He can imagine that fine for himself.

We’ve lost our way

There’s a place in between not supporting your kids and ignoring them and being hyper focused and precious about creating a youth sport experience. There are ways for adults to have a social life and to play without making our kids activities the excuse for it. Well, I see a way, but I seem alone in this somehow. One way or another? I’ll be at the rink on Friday, both excited and curmudgeonly grumbling about the over-involvement of us parents while losing my mind every time with excitement every time my son touches the puck.

Listen below:

This is a bit of a rant about returning youth sports to the youth.

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