I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Young Athletes

My two stepsons played basketball in high school.  It often controlled not only their lives but the life of my wife and I.  High School basketball had become a nearly 12 month a year experience including trips  to school gyms in July that did not have air conditioning.  Below you will find an interesting article by Dr. Gary Malone, M.D. & Susan Mary Malone.

Spring Sports Madness Reveals the
Losing Side of Student Athletics
Psychiatrist Shares 4 Ways Sports-Obsessed
Families Can Affect Young Athletes
They’re called student-athletes, but many youth advocates – including psychiatrist Gary Malone, are concerned that the emphasis is on “athlete.”
“Anyone who follows sports knows that college-level and professional recruiters are looking at recruits – children – at increasingly younger ages, and it’s not because they want to ensure these athletic students get a well-rounded education,” says Malone,  a distinguished fellow in the American Psychiatric Association, and coauthor with his sister Susan Mary Malone of “What’s Wrong with My Family?” (www.whatswrongwithmyfamily.com).
“In my home state, Texas, a new high school football stadium is opening that cost $60 million dollars and seats 18,000. That’s all funded at public expense. We constantly read of districts across the country cutting academic and arts programs and teachers’ salaries due to budget shortfalls. How can this make sense?”
As a high-performing student-athlete throughout his own high school and college years, Malone says he appreciates the benefits of extracurricular programs.
“But the NCAA.’s own 2011 survey found that, by a wide margin, men’s basketball and football players are much more concerned about their performance on the field than in the classroom,” he says.
Malone reviews how the imbalance favoring athletic pursuits can damage student-athletes and the family unit:
• Life beyond sports: Only 3 percent of high school athletes will go on to compete in college; less than 1 percent of college athletes turn pro, where the average career is three years with risk of permanent injury, including brain damage, for football players. Even if they’re among the successful elite, wealth management is likely to be a major problem; some studies show that up to 78 percent of NFL players go broke after three years of retirement. Is this the best future for a child?
• Misplaced parental priorities: A parent’s obsession with a child’s success in sports can be extremely damaging to a child, to the extent of bordering on abuse. Parents who look to their children to provide them with the validation, status or other unfulfilled needs don’t have their child’s best interests at heart. Parents who tend to be domineering can be especially dangerous in the face of an athletic success obsession.
• Siblings left behind: When the family values one child’s athletic prowess over the talents and gifts displayed by his or her siblings, the latter children risk growing up without a sense of personal identity, which leads to co-dependency problems in adulthood. 
• Pressured to play: Especially in the South, but throughout the entire United States, football is huge. Basketball dominates inner cities and regions like Indiana; wrestling is big in the Midwest and parts of the Northeast, and hockey might be the focus for children throughout Northeast and upper Midwest. Children, especially boys, may feel obliged or pressured to play a particular sport even if they have no talent or interest in it to the detriment of other talents that might have been developed.
“Athletics can be extremely beneficial to a young person’s life, but I think we have our priorities backwards,” Malone says. “Imagine how much better off our country might be if, instead of football, we were obsessed with our children’s performance in science and math.”
My oldest stepson played basketball at a community college but did not even get his associate degree.  The younger did not play basketball in college but went on to not only get a bachelors degree but a masters.  While student athletics often brought our family together it was not without frequent fiction.  Even 20+ years ago it cost a lot of money and vacations were often spent in places we would not really want to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be Nice