Tuesday, August 20, 2019

There Are Other Reasons Than Money

There are PSAs currently running on television bemoaning the fact that kids are dropping out of youth sports.  CBS News recently released a report stating that middle-class and poor kids are pulling out of sports due to not being able to afford to participate in them.  Lack of money is an issue especially in certain sports like tennis and golf, which carry heavier prices to play than others.   know of at least a couple of kids who dropped out of the boxing program because of their parents not being able to afford money for gas or bus fare to get the kids to the gym.  That happens.  However, lack of money is not the sole reason for the lack of participation in every case.

Technology is heavily to blame.  We now live in a world where playing video games is considered a sport.  There are massive gaming competitions that take place, some on a worldwide level.  I've had kids in the boxing gym tell me they can't wait until class is over so they can go home to their XBoxes, Nintendo Switches, and Play Stations.  Often, the kids are registered for my program because their parents and guardians want to keep them from sitting and playing video games constantly. 

It appears that many grade schools have cut back on physical education classes.  Some grade schools don't have those classes at all.  Of the ones who still do, kids have told me they play kickball or dodge ball during the classes.  They don't do exercises.  I know because of all the blank looks I receive when I ask the kids to do crunches, push-ups, leg raises, etc.  The kids don't know how to do any of that.  It makes me wonder if the kids are moving much during recess if that is still allowed in most schools.  I'm guessing recess is probably another chance to play video games on their cell phones.

Housework is a way to get exercise.  Judging by the kids I deal with, it doesn't seem they are required to do that at home.  A kid on one of the sports teams at the field house asked me where he could find a broom and I pointed to a nearby utility closet.  They pulled out a mop.  When I corrected them, they went back to the closet and pulled out another mop.  I remember another kid telling me they shouldn't have to do housework because their only job should be to have fun. 

Parents who don't support the youth programs are another reason.  I have to deal with parents who use my program for babysitting purposes and don't care what their kids are doing while in class. On the other side of the coin are helicopter parents who push their kids to the point where the kids no longer find sports fun.  Those same parents grumble to me and the volunteer about everything from the length of the gym hours to the quantity of equipment available for use. 

The cries about kids dropping youth sports don't tell all of the stories. 

No comments: