$15 Billion

$15 billion is a heck of a lot of money.  Coincidentally, $15 billion is the size of the youth sports market in  America.  This figure includes league fees, travel costs, apps to manage teams/organizations and live stream games.  Consider that DropBox and AirBnB are both worth only $10 billion, while SpaceEx is worth $12 billion.  That’s a lot of freaking money.

At this point, I feel like our family alone has contributed $1 billion.  With all three kids playing travel hockey, I feel like we’ve been “hockey poor” for most of our adult life.  When I was growing up, our sports followed well defined seasons.  Year round participation in one sport, which drives up costs significantly, simply didn’t exist in our youth.  Now kids are specializing in one sport early often by the time they’ve started middle school.  The problem with specialization in one sport early on is for the increasing incidence of overuse issues and burnout.

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There’s a ton of pressure on kids to make both club and school teams as they pursue college scholarships.  Its a vicious cycle.   As parents we complain about early specialization, but we’re also a big driver in extending the seasons of sports.  I read an interesting article on this topic today in the Star Tribune.  The author wrote how many high school coaches had been pressured into offering off season training for their programs.   This, in my opinion, created a vicious cycle where athletes feel that they have to specialize and work at their craft year round, while coaches feel pressured to coach and offer programs year round.

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How do you solve this problem? I certainly don’t have the answers.  But somewhere in the middle, there’s gotta be a balance.  All I know is that its exhausting and rewarding for everyone involved.

Meanwhile, we had our 5th game of the weekend this morning.  My morning was more than a bit hellacious.   Sadly, my phone wasn’t working correctly and I couldn’t get the rink info off of it.  I sent a text to a group text, but alas we’re all super sarcastic so that didn’t work.  Coincidentally, it didn’t help the lack of mimosa situation either, but I digress. As a consequence, I drove Goalielocks to the wrong rink.  He was livid (to put it mildly.)  Sadly, the game, much like my morning, was a charlie foxtrot.  Nevertheless, I’ve added a 16th bullet to my hockey mom wisdom blog reinforcing the importance of showing up at the right rink.

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The rest of our day, ascended from the ashes from a crazy morning.  Sometimes its all about perspective.  Midway through the first period, one of Goalielocks’ teammates got kicked with a skate leading to a deep laceration on the inside of his ankle.  In the end, medics had to respond to the rink and his teammate ended up in the ER at the local hospital.  Its amazing how insignificant  my untimely rink tour of S. Florida became against the back drop of this serious injury.  It truly is all about perspective and realizing even our worst morning isn’t that bad.

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