Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Coming soon, a national title for high school tennis

Just announced: IMG, the ubiquitous event planner and sports promoter, plans to stage annual high school sports championships at its posh academy for young athletes in Bradenton, Florida.

Steve Wieberg, reporting in Monday's USA Today:

"IMG executives foresee their championships landing on national television, and say they anticipate strong sponsor interest. The company, in partnership with the National High School Coaches Association in Easton, Pa., plans to roll out events in boys' and girls' tennis, golf and lacrosse and 7-on-7 football this summer and ultimately stage championships in 20 sports.

"Its objective is to showcase IMG's 350-acre Bradenton facility to athletes and their families. The company, which made a major foray into college athletics 2 1/2 years ago, also is staging a nationwide series of training and competition combines for high school-age athletes."

Again - and again?- this raises the issue of whether it's appropriate and healthy for kid athletes to have their sports games turned into made-for-TV productions. And if we're giving the green light to national championships for high school athletes, then what about middle school players? And if that seems innocent enough, then what about elementary school kids. And if that really does no harm, then....

It reminds me of an annual youth sports spectacle featured in Until It Hurts - the Tee Ball World Series.

1 comment:

Andy said...

Clearly, youth sports has gone too far. I think it starts at the top. Professional sports has gone too far. College sports has gone too far. So naturally, the obsession has trickled down to the youth level. I was an all-state football player and track athlete, so I love sports and enjoyed some success, but I think it's gotten pretty silly now. Here's something I wrote about it.. http://growingupwell.org/2010/01/01/liars-cheaters-and-role-models/