Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Put Them On A Diamond

When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. Now, I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. Because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.- General Patton

Every time I look at the playgrounds of Brooklyn, the basketball courts are as empty as the average Keith Olbermann fan's mind. Kids just don't fill up the schoolyards to play basketball like they used too.

Now, a lot of these kids they are playing video games instead. Maybe its video basketball instead of you know, real basketball. So instead of spraining their ankles, kids are getting carpal tunnel at age 12.

If you look at the baseball diamonds, their not exactly bursting with activity either.

And traditional street games like stick ball are also gone with the wind.

But there is one sport that I see a lot of kids playing: soccer. And it makes me shake my head in dismay.

I watch these soccer games,and all I see is little kids running around green pastures. I can't tell whose winning or losing. There is no accountability, no pressure, no accurate way to evaluate performance. Just running around together in packs. No heroes or goats.

Its all designed so kids don't get their feelings hurt.

Compare it to baseball: You step into the batting box. Just you. No one can help you. Your performance is kept in a score book. You can get a hit, strikeout, make errors, or make a great play on defense.

In baseball, kids learn valuable lessons. Their feelings may get hurt. Or they may do something so great, they will remember it for the rest of their lives.

Unlike soccer, there is no hiding in baseball. Even the worst kid on a baseball team, and if you don't know who that is, its usually the right fielder, even that kid learns infinitely more from baseball the the best kids in little kid soccer.

What the hell is the attraction to soccer over traditional American sports?

I believe the key is that a lot of parents want their kids to exercise and make friends without the pressure of competitive sports. And soccer fills that void .

So, its sort of like a "play date" that takes place with a bunch of kids in the grass.

But by deciding not to play to win or lose-the kids lose.

They lose the exhilarating feeling of ripping a line drive to the outfield.

They lose the valuable lesson on dealing with failure after striking out.

We have so many great traditional American sports that kids have played for generations, it kills me dead to see the schoolyards & diamonds dying on the vine. I mean, we import so many things into this country, do we really want to import sports as well?

The next generation is currently being weaned on video games, soccer and play dates.

When the time comes, and it will come soon, think they're going to be ready to lead?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

oh no no no. you did not just disrespect soccer in such a simplistic uninformed way. i've been enjoying your posts, but this!i am the first to say that i love american sports--football included. football is full of strategy, grace, exuction, force, intelligence, etc. it is also a sport that requires tons of equipment, several hours of game time, sofisiticated technology, as well as multi-million dollar advertising endorsements to thrive. all soccer requires a is a ball, and some space. you can make a goal post out of anything and you can play it barefoot. pele grew up in the slums and became the world's best soccer player by learning to play barefoot on the beach. soccer is a sport anyone in the world can play, and it is a sport of poverty. but that doesn't make it a sissy uncompetitive sport, where people hide. soccer games are only cancelled if there is lightning, and someone can be killed. you play to the death and you are one with nature (in altitude, sea level, etc). soccer is about teamwork, endurance, speed, agility, timing, and life. everything can change in a split second, and practice and luck are just as important as your ability to execute. just because you are not being tackled by a 300 pound lineman does not mean you are hiding!