October 18, 2011

The Draft


I got the stomach flu yesterday. As a result, I let a lot of things slide (my kids ate grapes, saltines, and ice cream for dinner), but there was one thing that I couldn't avoid.

For the first time since moving to Florida, Cortlen and Kellen are playing in a community basketball league. Last night was their mandatory skills test.

The so-called draft took place at the local high school gym. Upon arrival, the boys were given numbers to pin on the back of their shirts. Then they were instructed to join one of four pick-up games.

A row of coaches lined each court. Each man had a clipboard in his hands, which he was using to evaluate the players and place each of them into one of the following skills categories: a) exceptional b) average c) below average.

My daughter and I observed that there other ways to group the boys as well, including a) those who were belching b) those who were making fart sounds with their armpits c) those who professed to be able to belch and fart and play basketball at the same time.

The coaches too could be divided into groups according to a) those whose greatest disappointment in life is being only 5'6" tall b) those wearing Orlando Magic jerseys c) those wearing Air Jordan anything.

I understand why you have to give a skills test to second graders. I also understand why you can't just form teams by picking players' names randomly out of a hat. I get why you have to classify some seven year-olds' basketball skills as "exceptional" and others as "poor."

Wait--no I don't. The whole thing struck me as unnecessary and completely ridiculous.

I pulled the plug during the first water break and took my kids home.

I'm still unsure if my kids are going to be allowed to play in the league, or if I even want them to. All I do know that I'm going to do everything in my power to keep them unranked for as long as possible.

34 comments

nyshamurray said...

That seems crazy! They are way to young to feel that pressure. I think you made a good decision!

Tiffany said...

I totally agree! I would guess that they could burp and fart and play basketball at the same time though. That seems like their skill set!

Deputy's Wife said...

2 grade is a bit much, but at least it will keep the teams from being stacked with all of the future Michael Jordans on one team. In the local youth football league, they divide the players by height and weight. Can't have all of the corn-fed, brick houses on a team!

Amy said...

I'm so darn proud of you! Way to go, seriously. Stuff like this makes me crazy!! How can you rank the skills of a 2nd grader? They haven't been around long enough to HAVE skills!

Mal said...

Yes, I think height and weight is probably the most logical at that age. It's ridiculous to waste a bunch of time doing something like that. Glad you left.

Cassandra said...

They did a draft for my 1st grader's soccer league as well. It sounds harsh, but it really is to make sure the teams are evenly stacked. Each kid got a number (which only the coaches were privy to), and then the teams were assigned equal amounts of each number.

Rachel :) said...

For Heaven's sake! Sheesh, some people nowadays are just crazy! (Not in the normal crazy way... lol)

My word verif. is quiters... Which I will take to mean good choice!

Anonymous said...

I don't think your kids would have ever known how they were ranked. Dividing them into even teams will make for a better season for those who are "poor" at the sport but want to play and deserve the chance.

Anonymous said...

We've had similar problems with every sport over here in Louisiana. My boys love sports but wow - we have enough kids to play pick up games at our house anyway.

Mum on the Run said...

7?
Man. I find the pressure a bit OTT there.
For the boys - and the parents.
Kids sport is supposed to foster enthusiasm, sportsmanship and fun - isn't it?
:-)

Mom of 12 said...

I'm so glad you stuck up for yourself and your boys! What a good mama.
Sandy
www.twelvemakesadozen.blogspot.com

Mona Baker said...

so that the teams are as evenly matched as possible, do you want your kids to have the experience of winning or losing every game, no, and this keeps that from happening, the kids usually have no clue in what order they are chosen, they just get a team

sandi said...

That is ridiculous. I am glad you went home. I hope that they get to play, because organized sports can be so great, but they are there to learn HOW to play, right? What 2nd grader has actual skills?

Casey said...

Good for you. It is supposed to be fun. At that age everyone should get equal playing time and all kids should be told that they are wonderful! Crazy how others think... or don't think for that matter! I <3 your blog!

douberlyfamily said...

I am glad you left. That's rediculous. It seems parents are so stinkin' worried about how they are going to pay for college that they want to make superstars out of their little children. It's crazy. I honestly don't think any of the teams would be "stacked" when the players are all about 4 ft tall and busy making fart noises.

No Drama Mama said...

I don't mind team try-outs; in fact, I truly believe that people need to learn the value of hard work, practice, etc--and also that more often than not, someone is always better, so work your tush off.

That being said, I don't think it is good for anyone under 13. How do you even have skills yet? Anything would just be natural talent, and that isn't important at that age. I think you definitely made the right decision.

Melody R said...

Craziest thing I have heard this week. Too bad more parents don't follow suit. Do yourself and your kids a favor. Sit this one out. I'm thinking it can only get worse.

AshHadAns said...

My husband signed up to coach our daughter's soccer team this year and he said that they are already ranked if they play the previous years. The first and second grade team had stars by all the good players names and you were only allowed to pick a certain amount of stars per team. It really made me angry.

Becky said...

I so agree! My husband completely buys into all of that and pushes way too hard on my son to be the best. It only gets worse as they get close to HS age because then the coaches will only look at kids who have been playing on those darn leagues for years. If you felt like you needed to walk away then that was the right decision for your family.

Jennifer said...

Love, love, love this post! The self esteem of our kiddos is such a delicate thing. Most, probably, cannot see that they are being ranked. However, there are those, my 6-year old is that kiddo, that know when they are being catagorized. They will be labeled with a number soon enough. Give them a few precious years of being a kiddo with mad skills in everything they do! Good for you Momma!

alohakeiki said...

Sounds like a great editorial in the local paper!

Julia said...

THANK YOU!!!! How sick I am of children having to be professional athletes, before they enter kindergarten, in order to play on a local team... CRAZY!!! in my book anyway!

Chrissy Jo said...

I have heard of this exact thing. I have also heard of teams being put together when they are super tiny and then they stick together, and "trade" players for years to come... you know, like 1st and 2nd and 3rd grade. Yuck! To be honest it has made me NOT want to put my kids in team sports. Sad.

Sheila said...

WTG! We don't have it to that extreme, just need to write their height/weight on the sign up sheet.

tulipdjc said...

In grade 2????? Ugh! Here at the community level you get your name put on a roster and that is who you play with, some years you get a great team by chance and the next, luck isn't on your side! But the kids have fun and they improve a bit every year! If you want crazy competivitive there's a differnt league for that! Sheesh!!

Beangirl said...

awesome!

Ang said...

I have to slightly disagree - they didn't balance teams for my girls AT ALL last year - and both kids won zero soccer games. Zero. And wihle recreational soccer isn't about winning, never winning really stinks. This year we're in a different league.

mom24orsinis said...

Good For You!

Seriously...Just let them play...ALL of them...good, bad or other...FORCE the kids who hear they are the best, all the time, to learn how to cheer on kids who aren't as good...to stop rolling their eyes and acting totally unkind to the "less skilled kids"...LET the kids that aren't as good gain the CONFIDENCE to play and maybe even improve because they have had a team (and those super cool awesome sport kids) cheer them on even when they didn't do so well!

EITHER WAY, they will all learn hard work and to TRULY learn how to be a team...supporting EVERY member of their team!

And, people, don't fool yourselves into thinking the kids don't QUICKLY figure out who the best and worst are on the team...kids aren't dumb. You so did the right thing Jana!!

vanilla said...

Good for you!

Chey said...

Sports are like that where we live too. It's a good thing. Makes it so there's not one crazy good team and one crazy bad team. It's crappy to lose every game and the kids never know what their ranking is. Even in 2nd grade some kids have more skills and athleticism then others. It's a fact of life.

Ang and Rick said...

I agree with you. Sports should be kept innocent fun at that age and for many years to come.

Anonymous said...

Ranking little kids is just insane. What ever happened to just having fun with it????

jeorgee said...

I think the same thing happens in all sports now for kids. I think it is all about the super parents and not about the kids anymore! Some of the OOBER parents need to take a back seat and let the kids have fun! They had their chance (when they were six), now they should play on an "old fart" league if they really want to play! THEY SUCK!

Kari M. said...

You're my hero.