You’re Just a Number . . . in Youth Sports?

Looking at our description of this blog, you’ve might have noticed that we referenced professional sports on how they view athletes as just a number.  I’m sure you would not be surprised to find out that is also happens in youth sports. I can speak from experience, as it happened with my son.

My son is a baseball player.  This story has its beginnings when he was about 12 years old.  My son signed up for a defensive camp through a local baseball academy.  The owner of the academy was also the instructor. He was impressed with my son and even said at the end of camp that my son “has a chance.”  Needless to say this was inspiration to my son to keep working hard. He was taking lessons with the local high school coach at this academy. One day, my father went to one of my son’s hitting lessons.  While there, my father struck up a conversation with an alumni from the academy. The player mentioned how grateful he was for TJ (name changed), and how great of a coach he was. He stated that if it was not for him, he would not be playing college baseball.  This peaked my father’s interest. He looked into a 20 week hitting camp. After some research, my father paid the nearly $1200 for the camp. He did this 2 years in a row.

Fast forward to the end of my son’s freshman year in high school.  He was looking for a travel/tournament team to try out to make for the following year.  He went to try outs, which was another $250. Tryouts came and went. My son performed well and thought he had a chance to make the team.  After a week or so, I received an email stating my son was not chosen. I was a little dumbfounded, but my son made another team, so neither of us were heartbroken.  When we went to this academy, I spoke with TJ because I heard a rumor that the coach was not accepting any players under 5’10”. When I brought it up to TJ, he did not deny it.  He did state that “decision on which kids to accept was up to the coaches of that team, and he had no say in it.” I was not very happy with that answer.

The point of the story is, my son was good enough when we were investing $1000s into the baseball academy, but not when it came time to make the team.  My son was just a number to this academy. His number was his height, although TJ would often say that baseball is the one sport where size does not matter.  I can tell you, after going through the recruiting process, this is untrue. Size does matter, even in a sport where some of the best players in history stood under 6’ tall.  However, I would like to say how grateful I am to TJ and his staff at his baseball academy, as well as my father. Because of their time and effort and financial backing, my son is now living out his dreams of playing college baseball!

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