Ezra is really good at sports. He can throw a good spiral almost 100% of the time (whereas, in comparison, I can only throw a good spiral 37% of the time). He is also good at hitting and throwing a baseball and swimming and running really fast.
So, what am I going to do with all his unbridled talent and enthusiasm for sports?
My natural inclination toward this approached was re-affirmed in reading the book Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. In it, Payne talked about how:
- Children under ages 8-10 need unstructured play more than they need sports, both for the activity and for the developmental benefits it offers.
- According to studies reported in the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 35% of participants withdraw each year from organized sports, while up to 67% of participants drop out of sports between the ages of 7 and 18. The Journal of Sports Behavior reported that by 10th grade, more than 90% of high school sophomores had dropped out of an organized sport they'd started.
- When kids younger than 10 or 11 become occupied with organized sports, especially to the exclusion of time for free, unstructured play, that involvement can cut crudely across the progression through a variety of play stages that are vitally important to their development.
- Equally disheartening is the fact that so many kids are quitting as they approach adolescence, just when the structures and rigors of organized sports have so much to offer them in their quest for individuality, independence, and maturity.
Playing. Learning. Loving. Growing.
Note: I am not saying that organized sports are wrong or bad, but, as Payne writes, "...too may scheduled activities may limit a child’s ability to direct themselves, to fill their own time, to find and follow their own path." and "I am not against sports, I am against the way that we’ve transposed adult endeavors – with an adult sense of competition, fanaticism, and consumerism – into children’s lives."
Also, this is what Ezra has going on in his room. He colored all these pictures of team logos:
And, P.S., Ezra will be cheering for the New York Giants tonight. (In the video, he was even wearing the Giants colors and pretending he was Eli Manning.)