“Can’t we just let ‘em play?”

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS March 16, 2015 #532 Up next…”Can’t we just let ‘em play?”

After further review…It’s a rhetorical question –”Can’t we just let ‘em play?”…that you should be familiar with if you have youngsters. But for many parents who subject their children to the frantic world of media attention, ignoring it has reached a crisis point.  There are too many examples today of parents “pushing” kids to extremes in search of financial rewards in the sports world. A father creates a website, stuffed with photos, videos and stats of his son; it’s as if he were a college and pro recruit. The lad’s in the sixth grade. Just let him play!

“It’s ridiculous” said one sports psychologist. He’s right, but his assessment doesn’t go far enough. It’s obscene! Overzealous parents have been exploiting their kids in many venues for years. Hollywood, California and Nashville, Tennessee are inundated with young people wanting to be in movies and the music industries. Burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee was a famous example of a daughter who never achieved the level of fame that her relentlessly manipulative mother Rose dreamed of for young “Louise Havick”

In the sports world, parents have been just as selfishly driven, and we may now be observing a breaking point. The sixth-grade boy mentioned above is being groomed, it would appear, as the next Peyton Manning. His parents have hired a quarterback coach and are sending him to QB school to get him noticed – at age 11! Certainly, as parents, we love to see our sons and daughters perform well on the sports field.  Further, we want to support and encourage their athletic dreams. But we have to recognize the difference between a parental fantasy and a kid’s natural progression through the games he or she loves to play.

Youth sports are a great way to teach youngsters the value of hard work, overcoming adversity, and working together with others. These values are available to any kid who participates at any level, starting in backyards and sandlots. So let them go play, with no coaches or referees. Let them make up their own games with their own rules and just have fun!

Will you allow your youngster to grow and become the person he/she wants to be?

To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email jim@jimtunney.com.

Editor’s note: Be sure to look into Jim’s offer of three books he has authored: “101 Best of TunneySide of Sports”, “It’s the Will, Not the Skill”, and “Impartial Judgment” a $60. value for just $40. Please contact via email and include names for autographs.

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