(Little soldiers) More than a game..

Posted: August 18, 2011 by DC Sports Bar in Basketball, Football
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

AAU Nationals

July 22nd, Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s the final four at the AAU Nationals. The gym is standing room only. Not an empty seat in the house. Everyone is there to see the Memphis team that had dominated the tournament up until this point. They are bigger stronger and more athletic than any other team in the tournament. (That wasn’t caught cheating). And their next game seems to be no different. They are about  to play against a Greensboro team, whom they beat by 20 points just a month earlier.  The game starts and the crowd anticipates the show they are about to see from Memphis, Greensboro gets the ball makes a couple of passes their kids are visually nervous, and then all of sudden their best player who happens to be named (Kobe) stairs down his defender  drains an NBA range three. Then looks into the crowd and screams at the top of his lungs “Lets go m*therf*cka”!!
The crowd goes crazy! A kid from Memphis bumps going as they are going down the court and knocks him down. No foul is called and someone from the crowd yells out “Uh Oh, We got a game”! I know what you’re saying. “Pretty vulgar language for just a game. But guess what, Kobe and the rest of these players are only 10 years old.
This is just one of many example on how big and out of control youth sports has become.  In the Washington D.C area, personal trainers now start working with young football and basketball players as early as five years old, being paid from 30-125 dollars per session. Just so their child be “the best” Parents are forcing their kids to repeat grades sometimes as young as 8 years old so their child can get a leg up against the competition by being a little older and bigger. How did things get this way? If you go to a game and say these are just kids it isn’t that serious, the question isn’t whether or not you will get cursed out, but by how many people. A lot of these  parents are living their dreams through their pre teen children.  My hoop dreams is an after school basketball day and that host 75-100 children per day. They pick the kids up from school, have them do their homework, after which the kids ages 5-12 proceed to do basketball drills every day of the week. So from the time they finish their homework to the time their parents pick them up from work. They are working on their game.  Football is no different.  A popular football trainer makes up to 100,000 dollars a year just training youth and high school athletes.
Now more and more youth teams and leagues are receiving corporate sponsorships from groups such as Nike, Adidas and  Under Armour.  Why would Nike invest money in a 9 or 10-year-old basketball team? Very simple, these 9 and 10 years old phenom’s won’t be 9 and 10 years old forever. Nike and Adidas get to the kids early so they can  have them in their pocket as they get older. They see it as merely investing in the future.  Major youth organizations are paid up to 500,000 dollars a year to bring in the best talent in their area  from ages 6-14 in football and 8-17 in basketball.
 In these parents eyes, they all see their child as the next Kobe, Lebron, Mike Vick or Adrian Peterson. In corporate America eyes they “hope’  one of the kids they are backing becomes the next Kobe, Lebron or Mike Vick. The saddest issue within all of this is kids like little Kobe. Who are asked to carry their families dream of making millions on their fragile 10-year-old shoulders. The people around Kobe will tell you he is “a little soldier,” the next “black mamba” or he isn’t like other 10 years olds. So no one that knew him was shocked when Kobe finished the game against Memphis with 29 points hitting 6 threes leading his team to an upset victory. His twin brother Keyshaun added 14. After the game the crowd rushed the floor mobbing the kids and bouncing with the team at half court. Once the mob on the court was  finally cleared by security Kobe dressed in all Nike (their sponsored affiliate) found his dad and said what apparently had been on his mind all day.   Kobe having just played the game of  his life  in front of thousands of people including the head coach of the University of Charlotte, a local  television station and hundreds of his talented peers. Asked the question that must have been on his mind all day. Could he get an italian water ice and get in pool when they got back to the hotel. What did you think he was going to say… He is only ten. Hopefully dad doesn’t forget that..
Comments
  1. Mason says:

    Nice post, enjoyed reading it. Sad that basketball gets made into more than just a game for those kids.

  2. Roscoe says:

    GREAT post.

  3. Earl says:

    This is a great read, parents dont let them kids grown up to fast and forget how to have fun with the sport.

  4. MoMo122583 says:

    my lil man is four looks like he about to be behind.. Smh.. This is crazy..

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