Bill Littlefield speaks with Mark Hyman about his new book, The Most Expensive Game in Town, a look at the rising costs of youth sports and the effects on children’s development and their families. Hyman is a journalist and professor at George Washington University.
Bill’s thoughts on The Most Expensive Game in Town:
Mark Hyman speaks from experience. As the father of a promising athlete, Hyman engaged in some of the excesses characteristic of parents caught up in dreams of athletic scholarships and glory beyond.
Some of the particulars in The Most Expensive Game in Town are chilling. Consider, for example, the eight-year-old softball players whose schedule runs to 70 games. The theme throughout the book is that parents have subscribed to the same sort of “arms race” that has long characterized the most competitive college football programs. They’ve decided that if they don’t sign their children up for every camp, travel team and individual coach, some number of other children will leap past theirs to grab all the roster spots.
Hyman urges parents to consider that kids’ games are supposed to be fun rather than a means to a free ride in college or a professional career. He presents the numbers to prove that most folks who feel that clinics for eight-year-olds and private coaches for children too young to brush their own teeth are more likely to lead to burnout than to brilliant careers.