Opinion: Drama is Ruining Recreational Sports

by Brady Rivkin

About three-fourths of families in America have at least one child in an organized sport, which is around 45 million children, but, worryingly, nearly eighty percent quit by the time they reach fifteen years of age, says the Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine. This statistic would mean that by eighth grade, the number of people in programs by the Lincolnshire Sports Association would have dwindled extremely. Why they desert the association has much to do with drama in sports, and it is an atrocious impediment to the improvement and learning in sports by those who are truly serious about progressing in a sport. Drama in sports exists in many forms, some of which exist off the playing field. It could be that someone is told not to sit at a certain table at lunch because they are not “good enough” at sports or not in the travel league. (I still vividly remember the day in fifth grade when I sat down at the “travel” table for lunch and one of the other students told me I couldn’t sit there. I ate there anyway because I did not want to let cowardly ideas control me.) Most, however, are in practices and games, and there it passes on to unassuming children who look up to those considered to be proficient at sports and try to emulate their feats. Classic examples include how so many basketball players practice shooting and a few “fancy” dribbling moves, leading to many more taking out-of-range shots in games and letting down their teams. I used to do that, and my team despised it. Still, it happens in practices and games, and when people are told to practice ball handling more, they dribble into a corner and get trapped. Even though both shooting difficult shots and dribbling into places that make the game difficult have been vehemently warned against in the few years that I have been playing house league basketball, they still happen way too often. When this happens, people’s attitudes toward others become increasingly cruel toward one another and they screech for things like foul calls when they were not even touched. Antics like this are easily preventable, so this epidemic should have been ended long ago. If the LSA truly supports learning, it must commit to shifting the dynamic of its leagues away from that of a cutthroat musical audition. The sake of our futures as children depend on it.