I had worried about this day from the point my kids went to a bigger school 8x the size of the one that I did growing up. Yes from an education perspective where we live is a great place to be but, growing up for me I loved playing sports too. To be fair I just liked playing sports to hang out with friends but also because I just liked doing things. True some sports I was probably more “in it to win it” focused than others but overall I could do them all and that isn’t because I was a stellar athlete. Running sure, I worked hard after my Freshman and Sophomore years to make sure I was one of our top runners for cross country and found a niche for myself in track running 800s and 400s.
However, this isn’t just a story about my memories yet I should in my future right more of them down so when I am old I won’t forget. This is a story about my kids, but more specifically my oldest who found out tonight that he did not make a Freshman team 😔. I had a feeling this day would come as he was mostly always on the 3 team out of 4 for Travel basketball and once you hit Freshman year they only take 2 teams ~18-20 kids out of the 64 that tried out this year. Granted other years my son in theory was in the top 18-27 (as they took 9 to a team) so it wasn’t that there wasn’t a chance but he had a hill to climb as you also get new kids coming out or kids that moved into the district. So here we are today and the die has been cast unfortunately not in his favor.
It isn’t to say that the kid can’t still play basketball but it isn’t the same, I can still play basketball today but that is not like playing in High School. I was able to do that because I lived in a small school and I was not by any means a good basketball player. I only stopped playing voluntarily before my Senior year because I wanted to lift and run so I was ready for my last time on a track the following spring (I might have felt good about my running but I knew my career would be over in High School). The other thing that bothers me in today’s youth sports world and maybe it isn’t just at a big school but you have to specialize early on. They say they want multisport athletes but then there are camps year round that you have the “opportunity” to attend and you end up devoting yourself to that sport with never a guarantee that there is a spot for you down the road. Not saying it is right but if at HS age they then said hey you are on the team and now this is your only focus, maybe that would make more sense or I would feel better about such a thing even though I still don’t agree with that. However, it is still so hard for me to comprehend as it was never an issue for me and back when I was younger we played a sport a season not one sport for our youth career. That is something I have disliked during my kids time growing up it seems like kids do benefit from doing it year round but that still isn’t a guarantee that everyone will still thrive by doing it year round because you never know what kind of camps or coaches you get in the offseason to push you forward.
It is still crazy to me to think of all the kids that got cut today and I would say probably 10-15 of those kids if they were in a smaller school most likely would have had a shot to continue to play in High School in front of a crowd of people on a Friday night. However, now all of these kids have swag ball, which from what I can tell is like a pickup game of basketball on the weekend which kind of sounds like something I could be a candidate for today. Well, probably not as I am not that tall or still not very good (maybe worse).
Proud of all my son had one over all his years of basketball and I just hope he knows that it is not the end of playing as this is just a setback. I know it will take him some time to get excited about it again as I am sure it is tough as he needs to process all the feelings. However, there are other options just probably not the one he was hoping for and in the end, basketball is one of those things he can continue to do for quite a long time at his age.