Let's Not Forget That 'games' and 'play' Ought to Be Fun

Chello WebbContributor INovember 9, 2009

On the youth sports level we continue to see a growing problem. 70 percent of children participating in youth sports drop out by the age of 13.

The primary reason is not video games or laziness. The primary reason is, “it's no longer fun.” The primary result is that young people are not cultivating life long habits of physical activity and sports participation.

With an increasingly alarming youth obesity problem, this is an important problem to be addressed. The fact that “play” and “games” are no longer fun for children should cause alarm.

Young people should be learning citizenship, teamwork, loyalty, and sacrifice through sports. However, too often there are stories from parents and kids about a winner-take-all mentality, stacking teams, using the language of sports to attack a child’s character in an effort to inspire or degrade.

This creates an atmosphere where the role of sport in our society becomes distorted. The altruistic qualities of teamwork, sacrifice, compassion, and dedication are given way to entitlement, selfishness, and intolerance.

For youth coaches, the question is not whether sports are good for children, but rather, what are we teaching them when they participate?

Please encourage good sportsmanship by demonstrating positive support for all players, coaches, and officials at every game and practice. Let’s not lose the altruism of sports. Remember this is their opportunity to enjoy playing the game.