Youth Sports and our displaced values
Sticking to the theme of the Roman Empire, the cost of the gladiatorial games eventually came to one third of the total income of the Empire. Sports are a privatized industry, but think about what the average family spends on them through youth sports?
Youth Sports is now a $15 billion industry with an average cost of $7,500 per household, and often more especially when dealing with multiple kids. The real median family income was $72,707 in 2016. This equals about 20% of their income. That’s the safe bet, and ominously close to the 1/3 of the fallen Roman Empire. Sure, it’s not the State spending the money but America’s engine and pride and joy has always been the middle class. If the middle class is spending that 1/5 to 1/4 of their income on a pipe dream based on fulfilling glory in a made up game, the lost opportunities for the future will only weaken the next generation. That's a lot of money. Money that could go toward traveling, new experiences, better tutoring in code, Chinese, Spanish, all kinds of things that have a better social Return On Investment. Instead public money is being funneled toward sports:
College football coaches earn $5+ million per year making them the highest paid state employee. Football is little more than bragging rights and it is indicative of the shift in our culture, that "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." Thanks Vince.
The argument is that sports teaching young kids values like teamwork, perseverance, while developing social skills and overcoming adversity. This is hardly the case anymore as more and more pressure is put on the kid succeeding, tasked with living out the dreams of the failed parents. Sports do not teach math- like the odds of playing professionally are roughly .1% for an average lifespan of:
MLB 5.6 years
NBA 4.8 years
I am a product of competitive youth sports but now the product has become so dominate that it has displaced the values that make America competitive at the global level and we are only now starting to see the repercussions. To train kids to be the best at sports where 2 out of 3 aren't really played outside of the US is not my idea of domination.