My mom sent me an e-mail the other day. It had a video attached of a young kid doing what I would consider some unbelievable basketball skills. Some of it was so remarkable that it would leave the Harlem Globetrotters scratching their heads in disbelief. There was something that bothered me about the whole thing…the omni-present dad. Meanwhile, a reporter interviewed the kid and egged him on to do more tricks, almost like a trained monkey. I figured there had to be more of this out there. Sure enough, there were other kids doing the same tricks in other videos on YouTube. It was as if they all went to the same circus school and graduated in ball handling.
If you watch the video I put up, young Jaylin is bragging about colleges offering scholarships. Last time I checked, that’s illegal. To be honest with you, I wouldn’t put it past any NCAA team. I remember back when I was being wooed to different schools, they would try to impress me with prostitutes. I wonder what they offered young Jaylin. A Snickers bar? A video game? I told you that to tell you this. I have a nephew who is around 11 years old. He’s been in athletics since he was 5 or 6. According to his parents, he’s picked up my gene for wanting to be the best. He works hard at it. I’m told he wakes up at 5 a.m. and shoots baskets until breakfast time, then goes off to school. Do I think there’s anything wrong with it? No, for one reason only. No one is making him do it. He wants to do it and he wants to get better. His mother told me back when he was 9 that they went out and bought baseball equipment. He got his own bat, a special glove, cleats, helmet and so on. The whole set up cost my brother and his wife around $800. Are you effing kidding me? I asked her why she spent the money. She said she didn’t want to, but didn’t want to be the one parent who didn’t do all of that. It’s the whole being judged thing I guess. What happened to the days when a coach showed up with a bag full of bats, helmets and balls. He would then eye up where the bases were supposed to be, and there you have it, we were practicing. Sometimes there were cow chips on the practice field. What are we teaching these kids? Unless they have the same stuff the pros use they’re worthless? Should kids be talking about scholarships and contracts? I don’t think so. We already see a separation in this country. We have a very wealthy rich upper class and we have poor people. Our economy has obliterated its middle class and it gets worse every day. It seems as though we’re doing the same thing with our youth. We have extremely out of shape, obese kids on one end of the spectrum, and on the other end we’re creating mini A-Rods and mini LeBrons. These classes of kids exist during a time when we’ve cut the middle class of kids out, generally speaking, the P.E. classes.