Buzby: Kids should get to make decision about which sports to play

jonbuzby@hotmail.comMay 21, 2014 

It might only be spring, but this is the time of year when high school student-athletes, most notably eighth-graders, typically begin the process of deciding which fall sport they'll try out for so they can start preparing mentally and physically as soon as that last day of the school year ends.

I had a parent write and ask my opinion about her son who is slated to start on the varsity soccer team next year. He has asked to instead play football, citing soccer burnout and having always wanted to try football as his reasons for the change.

For some athletes, choosing a fall high school sport is an easy decision. They love the fall sport they play, are confident they can make the team, and can't wait for the season to get here.

For others, it's not so easy.

Players who have always been the star in the recreation league but are now going to a school that has a rich tradition in whatever sport they play, making the team is not always automatic. Players might question whether or not they'll even make the team, let alone play.

Just as importantly, there's the worry of what to do if they get cut, especially if by then it's too late to go out for another fall sport.

My advice to this soccer mom was pretty simple: Let the child decide what sport he wants to try out for next year. Her role is to just make sure he understands the plusses and minuses of what he decides, and in some cases, the consequences if it doesn't work out.

This player has no "feel" of whether or not he'll even make the varsity football team, let alone start like he most likely would have on the soccer squad. But as he apparently told his mom, "I won't know unless I try."

How many times have we parents told our children that?

By sitting out the soccer season, as a junior, he's more or less giving up his starting position on the soccer team and will have to earn it back should he decide to return for his senior season.

But as I suggested to this particular mom -- sometimes we have to let our kids make these types of decisions ... and live with the results.

It's a difficult decision this young man is going to have to make. And he won't be alone, as there will be thousands of boys and girls around the country making similar ones in the coming weeks as high school coaches hold interest meetings for next fall.

For his sake, and the mom's, I hope it works out for the best. But if not, it's a life lesson about making decisions and living with the consequences.

And let's be honest, in the grand scheme of things, it's not a bad way to learn a lesson about making choices -- especially when compared to other ways when decisions come with more serious life-altering consequences.

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service