Where are the athletes?

December 12, 2013
By

When the IHSAA opened up high school sports to a year-round schedule, no one knew just what some of the side effects might be.  On behalf of the IHSAA they did it to alleviate the increased difficulty in policing off-season practice.  Coaches were using any remote form of conditioning as an excuse for practicing year round.  What the IHSAA didn’t realize would happen is that now young athletes (9th graders) are choosing NOT to do sports year-round.  When they come from the Middle School and are thrown into 5 a.m. weight lifting in June, they are asking themselves “Is this worth it?”  Also, they are choosing to just do one sport and they are no longer enjoying the variety of sports that fall, winter, and spring have available.  At this age they should be exploring what they are good at doing, not making a decision as to what might be their best sport when they are older.  Too many boys, especially, are still boys as freshmen; but they will be men when they are seniors.  This puts a whole different light on what sports they might excel in before high school is done.  There are so few of these kids who will play at the next level that they should not limit themselves to a single sport.  Most schools used to get 20 or more boys out for freshmen basketball, and now they are lucky if they get 10.  I have not even addressed the dilemma of summer practice for the typical high school kid today.  That’s another story.

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