she's not wrong

This Mom's Argument for Rec Sports Over Travel Sports Is Very Persuasive

She wants to bring back rec sports instead.

Originally Published: 
One TikTok mom is going off on how, in today’s parenting world, youth sports are just not the same a...
@bloominonbridge / TikTok

A TikTok mom, Alli, is going viral after sharing that she wishes we could all go back to the times when recreational sports were popular, and kids could just be kids, no matter their skill set or talents.

She explains in her video that, growing up, she played soccer. While by no means was she an all-star player, she enjoyed her time on the team because of the friendships she cultivated. Now, kids don’t have time for that kind of fun. It’s all business.

“I loved soccer, and I loved my friends on the team. And I literally, one of my best friends to this day is somebody that I met playing soccer when I was in fifth grade. School now is not even really the place where you make your true substantial friends anymore because these kids are just constantly like, there's no fun time anymore,” she said.

“There's like a 15, 20-minute recess lunch. They're shoveling food in the 20 minutes that they have to eat. So they're really not even like getting to do anything with each other.”

Alli goes on to say that, in today’s parenting world, youth sports are just not the same.

“Parents can be crazy. The coaches can be crazy. The tryouts are insane. Sports are what everyone used to say is what keeps kids out of trouble, and it keeps kids on the right path, and we need sports. Yet all we've done is take them away from kids, and we've taken the opportunity for sports away from kids,” she said.

On top of youth sports being taken way too seriously, the cost for these types of travel teams is astronomical.

“The financial commitment for my mom to have me play soccer was a pair of $15 shinpads, a pair of $30 cleats, and the $40 registration fee for me to play for the whole season. Now a single season of rec league baseball is $120. And I'm not stupid, I get it, that goes to the refs and all of that. But it just has changed drastically,” she notes.

There is more pressure than ever on parents to get their young kids in as many sports or activities as possible to get them on the “right” path for the rest of their youth. Once mom and dad spot a small talent in one particular sport, parents are putting their eggs in that one, singular basket because travel sports are all the rage. It seems like, these days, kids need to be in a sport at a very young age to get anywhere down the line. However, it didn’t always use to be like this.

“Even now, when I was a kid, you played a different sport every season. Now kids have no choice but to specialize in one singular sport way early on. And there's actually humongous studies talking about how this isn't even good for their growth and their development and their bodies. That's a whole other thing. If your kid plays hockey, he's gonna play from August until around March, April. There's no time for other sports. And if there is, they have to fit it in and then it becomes just a craziness,” she explains.

The TikTok mom goes on to say that recreational sports should be brought back for the kids who maybe don’t want to work to go pro and for the parents who don’t want to shell out thousands of dollars for their kid to maybe play for a minute or two.

Rec sports are a way for kids to be kids — laugh and joke with friends, understand how teamwork is done, how to treat others with respect, and how to be a good sport.

“You learn how to just understand and listen to other adults besides just teachers and your parents and your own family. My son's been playing baseball now for five years in the town, and I have seen just so many things happen and I just really would love to see what could happen if we changed it back to what it used to be,” she vented.

“Let the kids that play travel who excel at sports keep playing travel. Let them play club ball. Let them play club hockey. No one is asking those kids to change anything. But we are asking for an opportunity for the kids who just want to play to have fun and meet friends to be able to do that again.”

Several parents resonated with Alli’s opinions, commenting on her video with their takes on how youth sports have gotten way out of hand.

“And if they don’t start at age 4, they don’t have a chance to make the team and try something new at age 9,” one user wrote.

One user noted that her town does have rec sports and said, “Our area has rec sports for all sports still. Our town and park district are still like that. No try outs. Not expensive.”

The OP replied, “That’s amazing. It’s so location dependent I’m seeing.”

“It’s hard having athletic kids too, when they want to do all the sports and they’re awesome. We have 19 practices a week for four kids,” one mom noted.

“my son is 9, and now wants to try something, and he can't...there's try outs and he has no idea how to play,” another user noted.

“This is the sad truth. A lot of kids find interests at that age for the first time and are too old. It’s awful. 9 should never be too old to try,” the Op replied.

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