Why kids love organized sports
This is my 6-year-old son, Ryan, who is in his first year of T-ball. With his father being his manager, Ryan got the privilege of trying on his uniform before anyone else. It was an extremely exciting moment. “I’ve been waiting for years to put this on!” he told me as he handled his Phillies shirt.
Ryan has spent years watching his older brother and sister putting on their uniforms, so he had a long time to think about how this moment would feel. (Putting on his shirt for his bowling league apparently didn’t count, because it didn’t come with matching cap, pants and socks.) He kept his uniform on all afternoon, until it was time to get ready for bed.
Often there is the assumption that kids would be happiest with adults staying out of the way. But for a lot of children, organized sports is a big moment. It’s a sign they’re growing up, that they’re big kids, because what little kid gets to put on a uniform and have people watch him play? The problem with youth sports isn’t always that adults are involved. The problem is how they’re involved.
My job as manager is to make sure that Ryan — and all his teammates — are still as excited about baseball as the moment they got their uniform. Or at least not make them less excited that I’m not the reason they decide baseball isn’t their sport.