It's the end of summer, and as a someone who grew up around a football field (my Dad was The Coach) I always associate this time of year with the beginning of football season. In fact, my best friend has her twin 8 year old boys in their own tackle football league right now. They practice a lot and are even expected to have the playbook memorized. This is different from when I was growing up. More intense. Younger.
I gotta say, I was totally shocked that the majority of those polled were ok with recruiting middle-schoolers for collegiate scholarships. I feel like the people who think it's a good idea are at minimum, medically shortsighted.
In fact, that is why I'm so uncomfortable with our 8 year old friends playing such hard (tackle) football. I think it is medically dangerous. And this is coming from someone who loves the sport dearly, I lived it for most of my life. In fact my husband laughs at me and calls me a weirdo because I love the way he smells when he comes in from mowing the lawn. Like fresh grass and sweat. A familiar smell from the fields, the stadiums, the Thursdays and Fridays under the lights.
I fear that if kids this young are being recruited, there will be more push to train harder and harder at younger ages, before their bodies should. Before their (bone) growth plates are mature. And what happens if the child's middle school athletic potential doesn't pan out?? Or if they get injured? What then?
I'm the mom of a very athletic (already) 3 year old boy. Sport Talent (with a capital T) is heavy on both sides of our family. But I just think this is too young. And when my son is a pre-teen, I will not entertain recruiters even if he turns out to be some kind of a phenom.
What do you think? Is athletic recruiting of middle-schoolers a good thing? Would you encourage it as a parent?