Kudos to LMU Magazine for continually raising the bar and providing interesting and practical stories. I enjoyed reading “Time Out” (Winter 2017) by Seth Davis. Having been part of the Amateur Athletic Union and club sports scene both as a parent and coach, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve personally witnessed the all-or-nothing arms race strategy with the hope of landing a college athletic scholarship. For some parents, it’s about recognition, status and parental fulfillment that leads them to drive their kids toward specializing in a particular sport at an early age. I remember when a parent once told me the ONLY way his daughter would attend college is through a basketball scholarship. That child was in the fifth-grade. My heart went out to that little girl who was destined to face mountains of pressure going forward. In another instance, a parent told me my daughter was not dedicated to basketball because she also played volleyball. I hope more parents realize that there are many pathways for their children to attend college. Working hard in the classroom is one great way. Sports is a wonderful outlet for growth both physically and mentally, and there are many lifelong lessons that are learned both on and off the court. At the end of the day, it should be 100 percent about your kids having fun.
Andy Hui ’86, M.S. ’89
Year-round athletes have less upward potential than multisport athletes. Year-round athletes are maxed out on skill. Coaches like multisport athletes because they have great potential to improve and can be molded. Eighty percent of NFL players who played in the Super Bowl were at least two-sport athletes in high school.
Multisport athletes’ performance isn’t just seen in current phenoms like Sam Darnold and others. Look at athletes from Jackie Robinson to Bo Jackson. Of course, some specialize when they’re young, just like the few kids who “know” they want to become a brain surgeon or astronaut. But what I see with all my kids is proof-positive that the extremely high burnout rates and low dropout ages are very real. Too often, it’s the parents who fall for the fire and brimstone [message] of not being “committed.”
Melissa Thrasher-Marano ’95
As a parent, I think the “pushing” rhetoric can be misplaced. The drive to specialize is driven by the youth sports business. Many club sports are now making it very difficult to play other sports — seasons overlap, and time demands make it very hard.
The growing trend in youth sports … one-sport athletes … Just remember these names: Jackie Robinson, Bo Jackson … other great athletes played multiple sports.
This IS the best argument I have heard and supports my view on travel sports.
Parents, let your kids be kids instead of your meal ticket.
Agreed. Help your kids become well-rounded athletes and they will be able to do anything they want. AND they won’t hate any of it.
Your article, “American Limbo” in the summer 2917 issue of LMU Magazine, makes me proud to be an LMU alum. Kudos to the university for its Social Justice Scholarship. Raspberries to Congress for not coming up with a suitable, humane and practical solution for immigration reform.
Leigh Pomeroy, M.A. ’82
Catching up on my reading, I enjoyed the creativity of “Virtue Reality” in the summer 2017 issue of LMU Magazine. Kudos!
Elizabeth Yahn Williams ’64, LLS ’71
Regarding your interview with Prof. Shaun Anderson, who discussed protests at NFL games by Colin Kaepernick and other football players (“To Kneel or Not to Kneel,” online at magazine.lmu.edu), I realize this is a complex issue. But to say that politics has always been in sport doesn’t provide an excuse for this protest. I don’t believe Kaepernick thought much about politics when he chose to take a knee. I applaud him for taking a stand. I do find it interesting, however, that unlike others who fought for reform, he chose a silent yet controversial form of communication for his grievances. I don’t believe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. possessed any “platform” other than a church pulpit when he first began to talk about social injustice. As King continued to speak out, people of all colors began to listen, and he was able to establish a “platform” of credibility. Why didn’t Kaepernick choose a forum, preferably not on a football field, to openly state his beliefs and engage in a meaningful dialogue with those who can affect change? Why choose a form of protest that further divides rather than helps to unify people? I don’t believe his mission was to bring disrespect to the country. However, despite consulting with a group of veterans, he showed little regard for or knowledge of our country’s history or the contributions and feelings of veterans. I also take very strong exception to Anderson’s dismissive comment: “To say that this [protest] is something that disrespects the country is totally false.” It totally ignores how a large body of our population feels about this protest. The flag has a very strong symbolic presence in the life of all Americans, like it or not. I am certain this interview does not reflect the thoughts of all of LMU. The Jesuits taught me how to think, not what to think.
Patrick Day ’71
Fair Oaks, California