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(Great Falls Tribune)   Youth sports have become an athletic arms race, as parents sacrifice vacations, thousands of dollars, kids' study and play time--all to put precious snowflakes through Olympic-level training programs to ensure a spot on the high school's JV squad   ( greatfallstribune.com) divider line
    More: Asinine, junior varsity, tee time, arms race, holidays, teams  
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1211 clicks; posted to Sports » on 24 Nov 2012 at 6:55 PM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



46 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2012-11-24 06:04:13 PM  
It's child exploitation.

/Published a book about American sports culture some years ago. Made a little money from it.

CSB, and I know nobody cares.
 
2012-11-24 06:04:22 PM  
totalprosports.comView Full Size
 


Come at me bro
 
2012-11-24 06:33:27 PM  
...and then complain they can't afford college.
 
2012-11-24 06:54:48 PM  
The first thing you learn in college is that nobody gives a shiat about what you did in high school.
 
2012-11-24 06:58:17 PM  

One Bad Apple: [www.totalprosports.com image 399x600] 


Come at me bro


LOL
 
2012-11-24 07:07:41 PM  
There's lots of bad parents and lots of great parents. My oldest sons both played lacrosse and football by their choice, not mine. One gave up sports after high school, the other just got a full scholarship to play lacrosse in college. All I did was drive them to games and tournaments and cheer.
 
2012-11-24 07:15:12 PM  

beantowndog: The first thing you learn in college is that nobody gives a shiat about what you did in high school.


Well mostly, but if your friends are putting together an intramural basketball team, they are probably not going to ask the guys who captained the chess team.
 
2012-11-24 07:22:11 PM  
Sad thing especially at at least 90% of kids who are pushed into sports that hard by their parents will never be able to make a career of being a pro athlete.
 
2012-11-24 07:40:54 PM  
Best quote of the article:

Now a 6-foot-6, 270-pound defensive tackle and end, he's so big and muscular - and so dedicated to his training - that his friends call him "the freak."

"I never in a million years thought it would be like that," says his dad, who figures he spends $8,000 to $10,000 a year on sports, including training and travel to tournaments.

But, he adds, "Why wouldn't you spend that on your son to make him a better person? And if he ends up walking away with a scholarship, it was the best investment I could have ever made."
 
2012-11-24 07:41:23 PM  

grimlock1972: Sad thing especially at at least 99.99% of kids who are pushed into sports that hard by their parents will never be able to make a career of being a pro athlete.

 
2012-11-24 07:41:54 PM  

beantowndog: The first thing you learn in college is that nobody gives a shiat about what you did in high school.


Except for the colleges who together recruit thousands of high school athletes every year and pay out hundreds of millions of dollars worth of scholarships.

But yeah, aside from those people. There totally isn't a multibillion dollar industry built around them or anything.
 
2012-11-24 07:43:21 PM  

themeaningoflifeisnot: There's lots of bad parents and lots of great parents. My oldest sons both played lacrosse and football by their choice, not mine. One gave up sports after high school, the other just got a full scholarship to play lacrosse in college. All I did was drive them to games and tournaments and cheer.


It's different now. I started to see it when I was in high school in the late 90's and I can only imagine it's gotten worse. The varsity high school teams were basically plucked directly from the club teams because it's a whole system that you're trained to learn and stay in, often times with behind-the-scenes instructions to the club coaches from the varsity coaches (or the other way around, sometimes). The club teams cost money for travel, coaches and training as opposed to volunteer parents. It was possible to make the teams if you weren't on those club teams, but it was damn tough and, with the networking that goes on with those teams and the high school and college coaches, along with the prestige that 95 percent player placement carries in the club world, it got to the point where there felt like there was a subtle obligation for coaches to just keep the club teams in tact.

The thing about it is it's the nature of competition. By its nature, it's about doing it better than the other guy, so it will always escalate. It's not cool because it's becoming like anything else -- basically a matter of money and how much you're willing to put in, as opposed to effort and want-to. But I can't really think of a way to stop it. Sports are becoming more and more for the rich, sadly. Playing stickball in the street won't get you to the bigs anymore, or anywhere close.

grimlock1972: Sad thing especially at at least 90% of kids who are pushed into sports that hard by their parents will never be able to make a career of being a pro athlete.


It's more like 99 percent. I feel like I did the smartest possible thing when I was in high school by playing baseball as long as I could, but becoming good at other sports-related skills, like announcing and doing stats for games. Yes, I was the egghead around the team, but I've made more money off sports than a lot of folks through the years because I pull more and better paying gigs for colleges and whatnot as time goes on.
 
2012-11-24 07:44:44 PM  

grinding_journalist: beantowndog: The first thing you learn in college is that nobody gives a shiat about what you did in high school.

Except for the colleges who together recruit thousands of high school athletes every year and pay out hundreds of millions of dollars worth of scholarships.

But yeah, aside from those people. There totally isn't a multibillion dollar industry built around them or anything.


They can brag about their four td game when they're selling shoes
 
2012-11-24 07:51:25 PM  
I remember a few years John Kruk of all people addressed this. He said kids are being forced to pick a sport way too early and pointed out how in high school he played football and basketball in addition to baseball and no he wasn't very good at football or basketball but that doesn't matter, he was having fun and managed to make the teams and got to play. Indeed there was the distinct impression no one was more surprised by Kruk becoming a major league baseball player than John Kruk.
 
2012-11-24 07:51:58 PM  

beantowndog: They can brag about their four td game when they're selling shoes


4.bp.blogspot.comView Full Size
 
2012-11-24 07:53:13 PM  
and if anyone wants to see an example of the consequences of kids who only play organized sports and only one from early on, look at baseball pitchers and how fragile they are now. You have people talking about innings limits for 13 year olds. I can remember what the limit on innings pitched was when I was 13, mom said it was time to come home cause it was getting late.
 
2012-11-24 07:56:46 PM  
Fark auburn
 
2012-11-24 08:03:07 PM  

Pfighting Polish: themeaningoflifeisnot: There's lots of bad parents and lots of great parents. My oldest sons both played lacrosse and football by their choice, not mine. One gave up sports after high school, the other just got a full scholarship to play lacrosse in college. All I did was drive them to games and tournaments and cheer.

It's different now. I started to see it when I was in high school in the late 90's and I can only imagine it's gotten worse. The varsity high school teams were basically plucked directly from the club teams because it's a whole system that you're trained to learn and stay in, often times with behind-the-scenes instructions to the club coaches from the varsity coaches (or the other way around, sometimes). The club teams cost money for travel, coaches and training as opposed to volunteer parents. It was possible to make the teams if you weren't on those club teams, but it was damn tough and, with the networking that goes on with those teams and the high school and college coaches, along with the prestige that 95 percent player placement carries in the club world, it got to the point where there felt like there was a subtle obligation for coaches to just keep the club teams in tact.

The thing about it is it's the nature of competition. By its nature, it's about doing it better than the other guy, so it will always escalate. It's not cool because it's becoming like anything else -- basically a matter of money and how much you're willing to put in, as opposed to effort and want-to. But I can't really think of a way to stop it. Sports are becoming more and more for the rich, sadly. Playing stickball in the street won't get you to the bigs anymore, or anywhere close.

grimlock1972: Sad thing especially at at least 90% of kids who are pushed into sports that hard by their parents will never be able to make a career of being a pro athlete.

It's more like 99 percent. I feel like I did the smartest possible thing when I was in high school by playing baseball as long as I could, but becoming good at other sports-related skills, like announcing and doing stats for games. Yes, I was the egghead around the team, but I've made more money off sports than a lot of folks through the years because I pull more and better paying gigs for colleges and whatnot as time goes on.


I can see your point, but not all club programs are like that. My older boys played on multiple club/regional/national teams for many years. Sure, it costs money and requires time commitment, but with most of our parents it's a kid-driven thing.

Yes, I've seen more than a few Marinovich-style parents who are living vicariously through their children. But my kids play/played on one of the top varsity teams in NY, and the vast majority of parents are just average folks with average jobs happy to see their kids enjoying lacrosse. We place kids with good DI and DII programs every year, but parents are discouraged throughout the process from viewing the program as an avenue to college scholarships. Only a small number of parents are fairly characterized as whack jobs with delusions of glory for their kids, and they're usually weeded out of the program when they realize that the program isn't going along with their delusions.
 
2012-11-24 08:03:26 PM  

grinding_journalist: beantowndog: The first thing you learn in college is that nobody gives a shiat about what you did in high school.

Except for the colleges who together recruit thousands of high school athletes every year and pay out hundreds of millions of dollars worth of scholarships.

But yeah, aside from those people. There totally isn't a multibillion dollar industry built around them or anything.


No idea if this is a troll, but most of the "elite" athletes I know today end up paying more in ridiculous fees over the lifetime of the kid than they'll ever get in scholarships. With the exception of football and basketball, even the top tier college programs in sports like soccer, etc really don't have that many scholarships to give out. I grew up next door to a kid who played in the pay-to-play national circuit soccer clubs (now known as the Development Academy, which no longer allows their players to even play HS ball, much less any other sport). He even spent a year at the USSF's U17 national team (which admittedly was fully funded by Nike... but that's just one year). He was recruited by a lot of the top soccer programs in the country, but even then the scholarship packages worked out to saving him less money than if he'd just paid in-state tuition at Michigan or Michigan State. He washed out after a year of getting homesick and ended up playing DIII.
 
2012-11-24 08:07:04 PM  

Pfighting Polish: themeaningoflifeisnot: There's lots of bad parents and lots of great parents. My oldest sons both played lacrosse and football by their choice, not mine. One gave up sports after high school, the other just got a full scholarship to play lacrosse in college. All I did was drive them to games and tournaments and cheer.

It's different now. I started to see it when I was in high school in the late 90's and I can only imagine it's gotten worse. The varsity high school teams were basically plucked directly from the club teams because it's a whole system that you're trained to learn and stay in, often times with behind-the-scenes instructions to the club coaches from the varsity coaches (or the other way around, sometimes). The club teams cost money for travel, coaches and training as opposed to volunteer parents. It was possible to make the teams if you weren't on those club teams, but it was damn tough and, with the networking that goes on with those teams and the high school and college coaches, along with the prestige that 95 percent player placement carries in the club world, it got to the point where there felt like there was a subtle obligation for coaches to just keep the club teams in tact.


I was in high school in the early 2000s and I think you're on the right path but taking it a few steps too far. In my state, there were limits on number of players who could play for a single club team and they couldn't get instruction from any coach affiliated with their high school. There is always going to be some level of politicking but by and large the club teams were far and away better than the high school teams -- at least the ones that were filled with potential college athletes. By and large the high school coaches couldn't hold the jock of the club coaches I had. Neither could the ones my brother had. The high school teams are plucked from the club teams because, by and large, the club players are just a lot better than players who play in rec leagues or CYO. I didn't play club soccer until I was 15, and I was definitely pretty far behind in a lot of basic skills and barely made up for it with size and athleticism. My brother, OTOH, played club from elementary school on and played with a team that competed regularly in the National competition and played with the local ODP (olympic development) team for a few years in high school.

Basically the players who belong to a club team are generally on the receiving end of better coaching, training, and networking, but the networking is by far the smallest part of it in my experience. Maybe it's different for basketball and baseball, but it looked pretty similar from the way it played out for my friends. Football was a totally different beast entirely, in my state anyway, because I don't think I ever really saw a club league or structure. Even the all-star games were hosted by the IHSAA. It might be different down south where football is a bit more serious.
 
2012-11-24 08:18:19 PM  
I see it all the time in youth hockey, parents pushing their kid towards some level they'll never reach no matter how hard they try and how badly they want it. I'm sorry that you didn't play in the NHL, but your kid isn't going to either.
 
2012-11-24 08:20:19 PM  

Longtime Lurker: No idea if this is a troll, but most of the "elite" athletes I know today end up paying more in ridiculous fees over the lifetime of the kid than they'll ever get in scholarships. With the exception of football and basketball, even the top tier college programs in sports like soccer, etc really don't have that many scholarships to give out.


Agree 100%- I wasn't trolling, just hyperbolically pointing out that some people do in fact care what some others do in high school. I am also aware of the fact that what he was referring to was "nobody cares that you were president of the drama club, or that you had a sweet car and banged all the cheerleaders."

If nobody cared what anyone did in high school, I'd have gone to a better school.
 
2012-11-24 08:32:42 PM  

Longtime Lurker: the Development Academy, which no longer allows their players to even play HS ball, much less any other sport).


that is not a good thing
 
2012-11-24 08:45:07 PM  
My usual rant:

Why must it be either (A) push your kids like they are goddamn professional athletes; or (B) "we don't keep score because we don't want to hurt the kids' feelings everybody wins"?

shiat - what's wrong with "we tried hard, we lost, wish we won, but fark it's just sports - let's everyone go out for pizza"?

/that was my youth sports experience
//yes - we usually lost
 
2012-11-24 08:56:20 PM  

AliceBToklasLives: My usual rant:

Why must it be either (A) push your kids like they are goddamn professional athletes; or (B) "we don't keep score because we don't want to hurt the kids' feelings everybody wins"?

shiat - what's wrong with "we tried hard, we lost, wish we won, but fark it's just sports - let's everyone go out for pizza"?

/that was my youth sports experience
//yes - we usually lost


I had the same experience- but at the private prep school I was at, if you weren't football, you weren't shiat- so us soccer players didn't kill ourselves in practice, smoked and drank, lost about 95% of our games, and when we won two in one season, we acted like we'd won state. Given the horror stories I heard about 2-a-day practices in full pads in late-august midwestern 100F 100% humidity days, I'd say we got the better deal, even though we lacked the glory.

/only 3 dudes got recruited from the varsity fb team
//2 went to the sec
///they still got absolutely housed by a 3rd string rams wideout on a 100yd PR
 
2012-11-24 09:02:58 PM  
To my 12-year-old daughter's great credit, she harbors no illusions of someday being a pro athlete or even a scholarship athlete. She decided not to do the travel basketball league this year because the other kids were just too intense, so now she just plays in the town rec league, where she does quite well (albeit at a lower level) and acknowledges it's all just for fun. This was a mature decision that she made on her own, which I fully support.
 
2012-11-24 09:49:26 PM  

AliceBToklasLives: My usual rant:

Why must it be either (A) push your kids like they are goddamn professional athletes; or (B) "we don't keep score because we don't want to hurt the kids' feelings everybody wins"?

shiat - what's wrong with "we tried hard, we lost, wish we won, but fark it's just sports - let's everyone go out for pizza"?

/that was my youth sports experience
//yes - we usually lost


When I was seven, I remember winning a soccer game because the coach, my stubborn old man, gathered together enough players during a torrential downpour. There was no thunder, so we could technically play. He called the head ref. before we left, and that poor schlub had to come out and verify that we were there, and the other team forfeit.

Then we went out for pizza.

And on that magical, wet day, I learned the importance of organization and logistics in any victory! Sun Tsu would have been proud; we defeated our enemy without having to engage. And we got pizza.
 
2012-11-24 10:09:26 PM  
Fun fact of the day for all you Snowflake Helicopter parents out there:

There are more Microsoft millionaires in the U.S. than pro sports athlete millionaires.

Put the pyschotic living-through-your-kids dementia down and tell them to go back to their farking room and study.
 
2012-11-24 10:47:23 PM  

bronyaur1: It's child exploitation.

/Published a book about American sports culture some years ago. Made a little money from it.

CSB, and I know nobody cares.


NCAA is actually a form of slavery. There is no other segment of society where we would allow people to generate that much income and not get paid.
 
2012-11-24 11:11:13 PM  
The juxtaposition seems unlikely, but a longstanding survey from the National Sporting Goods Association found that youth participation in most team sports has steadily dropped in the last decade.


It's decreased because of the kids playing on club teams taking up the roster spots on the school teams.

"I never in a million years thought it would be like that," says his dad, who figures he spends $8,000 to $10,000 a year on sports, including training and travel to tournaments.

But, he adds, "Why wouldn't you spend that on your son to make him a better person? And if he ends up walking away with a scholarship, it was the best investment I could have ever made."


You know instead of putting that money towards his education yourself. If your kid is driven enough to be good at a sport he/she will find a way to get a scholarship.
.
 
2012-11-24 11:15:54 PM  

AuralArgument: "I never in a million years thought it would be like that," says his dad, who figures he spends $8,000 to $10,000 a year on sports, including training and travel to tournaments.

But, he adds, "Why wouldn't you spend that on your son to make him a better person? And if he ends up walking away with a scholarship, it was the best investment I could have ever made." 

You know instead of putting that money towards his education yourself. If your kid is driven enough to be good at a sport he/she will find a way to get a scholarship.
.


Well simple math is going to reveal that the worst the dad is going to do is break even on the investment. Given that his son loves playing, I can't fault him for that. The fact that he might potentially save 70K (post HS expenses) seems secondary.
 
2012-11-24 11:52:29 PM  

grinding_journalist: AliceBToklasLives: My usual rant:

Why must it be either (A) push your kids like they are goddamn professional athletes; or (B) "we don't keep score because we don't want to hurt the kids' feelings everybody wins"?

shiat - what's wrong with "we tried hard, we lost, wish we won, but fark it's just sports - let's everyone go out for pizza"?

/that was my youth sports experience
//yes - we usually lost

I had the same experience- but at the private prep school I was at, if you weren't football, you weren't shiat- so us soccer players didn't kill ourselves in practice, smoked and drank, lost about 95% of our games, and when we won two in one season, we acted like we'd won state. Given the horror stories I heard about 2-a-day practices in full pads in late-august midwestern 100F 100% humidity days, I'd say we got the better deal, even though we lacked the glory.

/only 3 dudes got recruited from the varsity fb team
//2 went to the sec
///they still got absolutely housed by a 3rd string rams wideout on a 100yd PR



My school was kind of odd. You were pretty much looked down upon if you didn't play a sport...but at the same time you could play a sport... ANY sport... and you'd be ok in the social pecking order. You could be the socially awkward band geek/chess club player, who just happened to be on the JV track team and people would still treat you with respect in the school gym/weight room. We usually could build a state title contender in cross country just with kids cut from soccer or football.

My HS was a strange place. Though last I heard it became crazy religious in the past few years.
 
2012-11-24 11:55:58 PM  
Because if you don't do those things you don't get on the high school team, which means you have no chance of getting a partial scholarship to a D5 school for a halfway decent priced education.
 
2012-11-24 11:58:46 PM  
My husband's cousin did the club baseball teams all through junior high and high school. It was insane watching his aunt and uncle spend so much and all the traveling. He got a scholarship and now plays for a MLB farm team but man, that's not for me. I'm sure I'll love my future children but it's just insanity.
 
2012-11-25 12:08:30 AM  
My 3 year old takes dance. Her grandparents offered to pay for her lessons ($70/month), and I buy the clothes and shoes. I always make sure she's there, but if she decides she doesn't like it, we won't waste our time and money. It's fun for her now, and a great way of getting out of the house, but I don't see julliard in our future.
 
2012-11-25 12:14:19 AM  

bborchar: I don't see julliard in our future.


You're a horrible parent for not expecting only the best for your kid.
 
2012-11-25 12:45:23 AM  
What? There are entire industries built upon promising that there's only one way to get the best things for your kids and you need to pay a lot of money for them to have the opportunity to succeed at that? NO! Surely this is limited to sports and we should all pretend it's "sports culture," say the people buying Baby Mozart and sending their kids to piano lessons that their kids hate.
 
2012-11-25 01:37:39 AM  
People should stop conflating a tiny minority of delusional parents with parents as a whole. In twenty years of coaching sports and raising my own kids who play sports, the vast majority of parents simply do what they can to support their kids' interests in playing sports. Some kids dabble in sports, others dive right in and are passionate about it. Supporting a kid who loves hockey or baseball or swimming by giving them opportunities to play on travel teams or with private clubs if they want to do that is not wrong or even bad. It's recognizing that your child has a passion for something and encouraging them to follow it.

So far, my kids lean towards sports and I do what I can to help them pursue their interests. My youngest doesn't seem to have the same passion for sports that his older brothers do, so is someone going to criticize me if it turns out that he loves music and private lessons and instruments turn out to be expensive? If he decides photography is his gig, is it somehow being a "helicopter parent of a snowflake" if I buy him a nice camera and some unfortunately pricey lenses? From some of the comments I've read in this thread, it appears to be perfectly acceptable to drop some coin supporting a child's non-sports interests, but if you do the same in support of a child's passion for a sport, it's somehow wrong.

So yeah, there are dirtbag parents in sports just like their are dirtbag parents in just about every other activity related to kids. But they are most definitely the exception, not the rule. Most of us are just doing what we can to help our kids be happy, and look at that as the only reward.
 
2012-11-25 02:26:01 AM  
One of my in-laws have a son and a daughter. For years it was nothing but Mark this, Mark that, Mark in sports. Daughter? It was like the girl was invisible. Mark gets into college, is an idiot like his father, craps out of school before freshman year is up, grades pathetic. Parents get divorced, the whole nine yards. At least now the Mom acknowledges she has a daughter.
 
2012-11-25 08:15:28 AM  

AuralArgument: bborchar: I don't see julliard in our future.

You're a horrible parent for not expecting only the best for your kid.


Well, I waited too long to sign her up at the age of 2. I should have had her with a private instructor much earlier if I expected anything of her.
 
2012-11-25 08:27:48 AM  

bborchar: Well, I waited too long to sign her up at the age of 2. I should have had her with a private instructor much earlier if I expected anything of her.


Snark and sarcasm aside you sound like a caring father, keep it up.
 
2012-11-25 10:43:11 AM  
As a soccer referee, i see this first hand. There are tournament promoters out there who make Don King look like Gandhi and parents are all to quick to shell out thousands so their 12 year old can join a team called "Elite Rush FC Premier" enabling them to go around playing other kids on similarly sounding teams. It is all a racket but it gives parents the impression that if they spend a boatload of money, that Junior will be able to walk right into his high school team as a frosh, captain the damn thing and have offers from Duke, UCLA, Stanford and UNC rolling in by the end of his sophomore year.

Overpays for youth soccer dad? backwards Univ of GA baseball hat, oakleys, goatee and never misses an opportunity to tell the rest of the world how much it sucks.
 
2012-11-25 11:00:09 AM  

o5iiawah: As a soccer referee, i see this first hand. There are tournament promoters out there who make Don King look like Gandhi and parents are all to quick to shell out thousands so their 12 year old can join a team called "Elite Rush FC Premier" enabling them to go around playing other kids on similarly sounding teams. It is all a racket but it gives parents the impression that if they spend a boatload of money, that Junior will be able to walk right into his high school team as a frosh, captain the damn thing and have offers from Duke, UCLA, Stanford and UNC rolling in by the end of his sophomore year.

Overpays for youth soccer dad? backwards Univ of GA baseball hat, oakleys, goatee and never misses an opportunity to tell the rest of the world how much it sucks.


That's crazy. Fortunately, with lacrosse in this area the reputable private teams are invitation-only and are sponsored by major sports companies. Anyone paying thousands of dollars to buy their way onto a team would be mocked mercilessly.
 
2012-11-25 04:47:26 PM  
I have a relative who was playing 3 sports competitively as a high schooler. Three falls sports competitively. At the same time. The kid got a scholarship offer to play a college sport, but didn't take it because he didn't think he was smart enough. Spent lots of time playing sports but not much time studying.

Also, I once saw a patient who was an 11 year old girl playing a seasonal sport year-round in various leagues. She had overuse injuries from constant training.

Parents are not helping their kids out physically or intellectually by putting them through rigorous competition schedules and training programs. The discipline might be a good thing, though. Better than vegetating and playing video games.
 
2012-11-26 06:31:28 AM  
cdn.bleacherreport.netView Full Size
 
2012-11-27 04:58:32 PM  

redmid17: I was in high school in the early 2000s and I think you're on the right path but taking it a few steps too far. In my state, there were limits on number of players who could play for a single club team and they couldn't get instruction from any coach affiliated with their high school. There is always going to be some level of politicking but by and large the club teams were far and away better than the high school teams -- at least the ones that were filled with potential college athletes. By and large the high school coaches couldn't hold the jock of the club coaches I had. Neither could the ones my brother had. The high school teams are plucked from the club teams because, by and large, the club players are just a lot better than players who play in rec ...


OK, makes sense. I'll admit, a lot of my thinking is just speculation because I wasn't a club-team guy.

I was extremely passionate about the sports I played, but I grew up in a house divided -- my dad shared my passion, but my mom, who basically wore the pants, was of the belief that us males in the family wasted way too much time on sports and complained about even how much time and money the "rec" league required. I was never going to convince her to allow the family to invest the money on me being on a club team, not to mention we were somewhat from the other side of the tracks. I think I was one of two or three players in our suburban city league who made the freshman team in high school, and none of them made the JV or Varsity squads.

It was kind of amazing how the kids who did make those squads all were friends and knew each other, how the parents all knew each other, and how well the coaches knew them and their strengths coming into tryouts. Most were on an elite club team together.

I was offered a token spot my senior year because the coach asked a lot of baseball trivia questions during that year's tryouts and I knew all of them. I think he then realized, "Hey, this is a kid that loves the game and wants to play -- why haven't I noticed him?" (Being 5'6" didn't help.) I had gotten used to playing in rec leagues over the summer, though, and preferred to get playing time. The team won state. Don't think I would have helped.
 
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