I went to pick up my oldest at his cross country practice. My youngest was in tow, having just come from his soccer practice.
The coach approached me to ask why my youngest wasn’t on the cross country team that season.
The reason was simple: he was playing soccer, on the school’s running team, and practicing with the school chess team. There are only so many hours in a day, days in a week, etc. so I let him choose what he wants to do.
But the response I received was that he would have a better shot at a college scholarship for cross country than for soccer.
My son was nine at the time.
He’s ten now and I’m not concerned about college scholarships.
Of course, I’d love for him to get a scholarship someday. I have three boys to put through college. If some/all of them don’t get some sort of scholarship, things will be pretty rough.
But, he’s TEN.
And my other boys are thirteen and twelve.
They all have their sports and activities that they’re interested in. Ones they’re pretty darn good at.
But, what they like to do right now might not be what they still want to be doing as they get to high school and college.
And a child who is good at a sport at ten might not be a college-scholarship candidate when it’s time to recruit.
That child may stand out now, but maybe his teammates/competitors will grow taller, bigger, stronger. Kids develop at different rates and their skills do, too.
Or maybe that child will still stand out and have colleges looking at him and those colleges will compete with each other to be the most attractive offer.
But to have that expectation, to put that on a young child, is an awful lot of pressure.
Kids should be having fun playing youth sports. Once it stops being fun, that’s when a lot of them quit. And then all of your athletic scholarship hopes really are dashed. If a child is enjoying a sport and wants to continue with it, it doesn’t make sense to me to try to convince them to change for the possibility of a college scholarship years down the road.
As kids get closer to college-age, they will have to make some decisions. At that point, it might be wise to make a choice between two sports based on which is more likely to lead to a scholarship offer.
But when it comes to the stage my kids are at now, don’t talk to me about college scholarships.