I agree with Ray’s op page.
April 30, 2013 | 01:44 PM

My youngest graduates from West Forsyth HS in May. There is a lot of pressure on kids with school and sports and it is crazy, but we parents are to blame. Also, the major universities are to blame in raising the entry requirements so high that even a 4.0 no longer guarantees entrance. If that is meant as a “filter” to try to limit the volume of applicants to University of Georgia, for example, and force kids to go to the other state schools to balance them out, then that creates a ripple effect into the high schools, thus creating/pushing the AP and IB classes. When my “senior” played rec sports in fourth through sixth grades (baseball, football mainly, then soccer in middle school and up), I witnessed a lot of parents who put their kid into “feeder” or “select” teams. They spent thousands per year along with travel all over the state. Instead of rec season being less than 20 games, these select schedules were greater than 60 games with practice every night and countless tournaments occupying weekends.
The “stars” at sixth grade then are either not playing sports in high school or are playing a completely different sport. Either due to being burnt out or the fact that the other kids are now the stars as they matured and the former stars are now just average and can’t handle the fact that they no longer are the best, so they left the sport. Once again, the major college programs are so focused on winning, along with the media, that the recruiting process into the high school sports creates the ripple effect that your kid doesn’t stand a chance of making the high school team with significant playing time if you don’t have the child participate in the select programs in middle school at least.
I recorded the recent “Decade of the ‘80s” shows and I am a product of the early ‘80s.
We are the decade of the “I want it now” and “It’s all about me, not the team” credos that were popular then. I graduated high school in 1982 and I didn’t realize it as I was living life then.
I can see it now as I watch the series. As parents, I guess many of us, whether school or sports, have pushed our kids into this frenzy coupled with the social media explosion and wonder why our kids are so stressed out.
I was competitive then, I recall, but we had no real coaching or specialized coaching around. You had “next level” or advanced classes, but not really college level classes.
A “B” average in core grade point average meant you could get into any college.
I think back to my baseball/football days and I was above average. I started " I played even without the advanced coaching.
Now that our generation had kids in sports, just think how good they’d be with advanced coaching we never had.
I think the intentions were good. It just gets out of hand, like many other things in life. Parents can’t see it because we’re too caught up in it trying to make things better for our kids and it backfires. I saw it firsthand as a “dad-coach” for rec baseball and football here in Forsyth County when my son was in fourth through sixth grades.
My son wasn’t a star back then, so maybe my view is twisted as we didn’t force him into select. Some of the kids were stars back then comparatively. Maybe they wanted to compete at a higher level " nothing wrong with that if it’s their decision. But, the parents could have kept this in check. Twenty games of “select” still makes sense versus 60-plus and endless tournaments that went into July. No summer vacation for the kids or parents. My son left baseball/football and started to play fall/spring rec soccer from seventh grade on. I got to be a “dad” again and enjoyed him playing soccer, a sport I knew very little about cause it wasn’t popular growing up in the Midwest. Interesting isn’t it. He never played “select” and now a senior in high school; he still plays rec level soccer and thoroughly enjoys it. Hmm.
So many of his friends no longer play the sport they were “select” in. They either quit due to burnout, got into drugs, play rec or turned to another sport.
Ever wonder why/how boys’ lacrosse got so popular in our county over the past three to five years? No disrespect to lacrosse (another sport I know nothing about), but it would be an interesting poll to find out how many came from another sport where they were once “stars.”
Credit them for still playing organized team game though. I wonder if there is a select lacrosse league yet and specialized coaches?
So here we are. Enter the stress, depression, anxiety attacks, suicides, parental divorces (which influences the preceding issues).
Seems like a lot of people I know have or are getting divorced. I guess society (us) made that even competitive and easier and for only a few $100 bucks. Funny, I’m still happily married to my high school sweetheart after more than 25 years. She didn’t play sports or go to college. Hmm.
Maybe the word is “balance.” Could be a new career, a “balance coach” for sports and education.

Jerry Sanders
Forsyth County