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"Game On"

This article is more than 11 years old.
Growing up and playing sports in the United States seem to go hand in hand. From little league to youth soccer, children are expected to learn from an early age the meaning of teamwork and good sportsmanship. However, do all children get equal chances on the playing field? Tom Farrey's book, Game On: The All American Race To Make Champions of Our Children, explores the world of youth sports and makes readers realize that our kids don't have it as easy as it may seem.

As the title of this book suggests, the author, Tom Farrey, is dismayed by the trends which characterize youth sports in this country. Among those trends is the early culling of children into two groups, potential champions and all others. The potential champions are encouraged and sometimes bullied into joining travel teams and elite teams before they are out of elementary school. Some of them are advised by their coaches and their parents to specialize in one sport to the exclusion of all others. Meanwhile, “all others” are left to make what use they will of underfinanced recreational programs. Many of them watch a lot or t.v. and eat a lot of chips. Tom Farrey suggests that this system is not only cruel and stupid but inefficient as well. Lots of the aforementioned culling goes on before kids can demonstrate their potential, consigning children who might be good athletes to the scrap pile. Often the people doing the culling are unqualified for the work. At several points in Game On, Farrey suggests systems that might be preferable to the ones operating in this country…systems that might result not only in more successful Olympians, but in a healthier population.

This program aired on May 22, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.

Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.

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