Friday, September 28, 2007

The Cost of Children's Sports

Well DN2 is (almost) officially on the swim team here.
She's 8, so it's not the high school swim team but the local rec league.
They have them tryout twice to see if they will be able to keep up (it's not a learn to swim program, as they like to say, and it can get pretty boring swimming laps for an hour and a half three nights a week).
You'd think it would be pretty inexpensive; after all, what do you need but a suit, some goggles and a cap on your head.
Unfortunately her practice suits cost upwards of $45 each.
And besides the practice suits she'll need 2 team suits which will equal $100.
Plus swim caps with the team name on it and then probably more goggles.
We as a country complain about childhood obesity but then the cost of playing sports -- for both the equipment and the team cost -- is so high!
I spoke with a guy at work and his two children play tri-county hockey - cost for him for both children is $1200 for the season. And that's just for them to play, not for the skates, their stick, and other equipment.
SN2 plays on a travel soccer team - we paid $200 to the league and then we pay another $200 to the team. Plus the $120 pair of boots - for outdoor - then you have the shoes for indoor too.
It's a wonder there's obesity in our country - we sure push the wrong sorts of food via the television and then we charge enormous amounts for sports clothing and sports teams!
And the other problem is this rule about cutting kids from teams.
You want to encourage kids to get fit -- keep anyone who tries out.
I'm a slow learner. Through the years I've come to realize this. What some kids were doing athletically it took me to high school to figure out how to do. Cartwheels? Couldn't master that until middle school (although if necessary I can still do one today - but it's probably not a pretty sight).
But we cut kids off teams before they even have a chance to learn and now that our school district has decreased the days in PE to one day a week - when will kids ever be exposed to sports?
Not only that but we build more suburbs without parks and play areas -- if they can't even put crosswalks down what makes you think they'll put in a place for kids to run around and play games? We are a nation intent on driving ourselves from store to store.
Which was one of the primary reasons I moved to my town: we walk or ride bikes to where we need to go and we can because we have sidewalks.
Our kids are fat because we Americans don't walk anymore -- unless it's a town intentionally being built with sidewalks no new communities allow their residents to walk (again, no sidewalks and no crosswalks).
This originally started as a diatribe against the cost of sports for children and slowly segued into a rant against town planners.
So let's segue into the women's defeat against Brazil yesterday in soccer in the Women's World Cup semifinals.
Did anyone see that game?
Aside from the extremely poor officiating the American women were very sluggish. Before I watched the game (and not all of it because we had swim tryouts) I knew the score and was anxious to put the blame on the coach and Brianna Scurry. But after watching for 20 minutes or so it wasn't the replacement of Hope Solo by Scurry that caused the loss: the Brazilian women's team was tremendous!
And Cristiane from Brazil, although looking like someone who would chomp you up, played better than many men I've seen. I shouldn't make that comparison - it seems rather sexist - but she was amazing! Shannon Boxx's red card in the first half was a horrific call, or as they said in the half-time show, "The worst call we've ever seen in our lives," it still didn't make that much of a difference because the U.S. women were not playing well anyway.
Alright, enough about sports.
But if you have any horror stories about the rising costs of sports for kids feel free to share them.
I'm off to get ready for work.
Tomorrow we'll see if we can get Hannah Montana tickets - wish us luck!


Purl said...

I still can't do cartwheels or roller skate or ice skate. Yes, I am sedentary by nature, but I wonder what I would have become if PE hadn't been so humiliating. Maybe they should have encouraged me to find something that I like.

Good luck with the tickets! There was a big flap over Hannah Montana in Houston--scalpers bought all the tickets within minutes, and the tickets sold for outrageous amounts on eBay.

Kat said...

Movie Boy's football cost us $95 and Ben Ten's soccer cost us $70 (and he's only 5!!! how can it cost that much?) And you are right--that is just the beginning. Then there are the cleats, and the shin guards and the mouth pieces... and now I find out that there is all kinds of protective equipment for football that is "optional" (translated-"not provided") but would make him safer/more comfortable.

And don't even get me started about our foray into karate.... that was a $2000 nightmare....