Youth football league needs to reset priorities

With the millions of dollars coaches and players in the NFL get paid, the “win or die” mindset is appropriate. That mindset, unfortunately, is alive and well in the Marysville Youth Football League.

What is equally mind-boggling is the silence of the parents of the children who are victim to this mindset. I have watched these teams for over two years, and week after week, a number of children stand on the sidelines, getting little (2 minutes) to no playing time. There are games where the point spread is so great that there is no reason that the younger, smaller and less experienced players can’t be put in the game for a significant duration of time.

This is the time in a child’s life that they are put in sports to learn the game, to experience the different positions, to learn how to win and lose, to experience being part of a team, where every member is seen as valuable, regardless of their athleticism, talent, drive, physical size, age, etc. How has winning become the ultimate goal to the adults running and coaching these teams, at nearly any cost, when the players are so young? Before age 11 or 12, winning should be the last goal on the minds of the adults involved, not the first. These young kids are not going to remember how many games they won when they were 8 and 9, but they will remember what they learned, if they had fun, the friends they made, the lessons their coaches taught them.

Every family has paid the same cost to enroll their child in this football league. And, every family has taken the time and effort to get their child to all the practices … starting in the middle of summer.

One mother finally spoke up, in a non-threatening manner, to the coach and was not well-received. She was berated and her child was belittled in front of other parents, players and bystanders.

It is my hope that the board of the Marysville Youth Football League will evaluate and re-evaluate the mission of this league. Perhaps it could be mandatory that every child gets a reasonable minimum amount of playing time, or the third quarter could be reserved for the non-starters. There are numerous ways to make sure that every child gets to play for a reasonable duration of time during the game.

Kim Stults

Marysville

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