A local friend writes a parenting blog and does a weekly radio/podcast on the subject of empathic parenting, (Bonus points to Amy M. for the correct use of empathic!) She introduced me to Mark Hyman's book Until it Hurts: America's Obsession with Youth Sports and How it Hurts our Children. (A sidenote: I am not particularly interested in youth sports other than to sign my kid up for soccer every spring and fall. Truth be told, I love my kid, but I find going to those games dreadfully boring. No big danger in me turning into a psycho parent.)
Mr. Hyman has written a very short book (no more than 150 pages) that really packs a punch. Youth Sports has become a billion dollar industry fueled by parents and coaches and big business who have taken over the games, all games, in an effort to prepare their kids for the big time. Not many kids are having any fun playing games any more. Well meaning parents and coaches who are past their glory days turn sandlot ball into mini-adult training grounds. What is sad, is that when the games were corrupted 50 years ago it involved only boys...in the advent of Title IX..now we drive girls too hard as well. Mr Hyman has even talked about a new video series for babies to watch to encourage them to become athletes! (As young as 3 months old. The market is there!)
Until it Hurts is quite a page turner and a must read for anyone who has kids, or grandkids or nieces and nephews in youth sports programs. Let's give the games back to the kids.