I remember when I was 8 (vaguely). I rode my bike, liked to roller skate, read comic books, hated taking a bath. Back in those days I don’t recall if I played a lot of sports. My life consisted of my family and our very small town. My best friend lived across the street. The idea of me playing organized sports was never really brought up and odds are good if my parents had asked me if I had any interest, I probably would have said no. For me, riding my bike and playing ball tag with my friend and his brothers was a good time.
These days, being 8 is totally different. Today’s young athlete has to be competitive in every facet of his or her young life. They have to be good students. They have to have a good social circle of friends. And apparently they have to be professional athletes.
At the age of 8.
Now don’t get me wrong…I’m not here to bash on my son’s football team or the way the pee wee system is set up. I understand that they are there to learn how to compete and how to play the game. But I swear…some of the things I’ve heard over the last few months makes me wanna punch somebody in the face. Here’s the deal…I don’t care how big, how fast, how competitive, how athletic or how sports smart ANY kid is at the age of 8. Your kid can be 6 times bigger and 4 times faster than mine and that’s great. I’m happy for ya. But here’s the deal…they are 8. And ya know what? They’re gonna grow. And who knows how fast or how big or how athletic one of them might be in a year…or two years…or maybe three years? Maybe the runt of the litter will grow his 8th grade year. Maybe his feet and legs get so long that he can run the 40 in 2 seconds. Maybe that little guy over there…the one with the helmet so big he can barely see out of it…maybe he grows to 6’5″ and 220 lbs when he turns 17 and decides he would enjoy kicking your son’s ass all over the field and transfers schools so he can play AGAINST the kid who was picking on him when he was too small to wear the smallest shoulder pads.
They are 8.
Pee Wee sports of any kind are there for a reason. And that reason is to learn the game. Whether it’s football or basketball or golf or throwing the damn javelin, doesn’t matter what the sport is. Doesn’t matter if it’s boys or girls. The only reason a child should be playing sports at the age of 8 is for 3 reasons…
1. To learn to play the sport.
2. To learn if they WANT to play the sport.
3. To have fun.
That’s it. Nowhere in that list is there an edict that a kid who is 8 years old needs to WIN every game that he/she participates in. Winning is for the parents. Kids at that age simply want to have fun and play sports. So why not let them?
This is just me venting but I think it’s ridiculous everytime I hear a parent saying, “So-n-so just isn’t fast enough. So-n-so isn’t big enough. So-n-so should be in the band.”
What?!?! Ya know what…I remember when I was 8. I was small and not very athletic. Eventually by the age of 12 I was one of the tallest kids in my class and I was playing center for my school basketball team. I was uncoordinated and slow…but I had a decent hook shot and could take up space. By my senior year in high school I was a shooting guard and was a pretty damn good ball-handler. So don’t judge the book by it’s cover. The game at the age of 8 is just that…a game. Don’t take it away for YOUR benefit. It’s their game. Let them play! And who knows…maybe you’ll have the 5’11” runt of the litter sophomore year who later blossoms into one hell of an athlete.
Can’t happen? Sure it can…ask THIS guy…
It’s amazing how quickly they grow…