All over America later this month, we will celebrate and give thanks for the wonderful country that we live in as we remember the Pilgrims' voyage from England to America in 1620, and their subsequent landing at Plymouth Rock.
Apparently the Pilgrims played games that didn't involve a lot of equipment or organization, almost the opposite of youth sports today. Games like tag or leap-frog, and possibly our version of stickball. The Pilgrims vs. the Native Americans doesn't quite have the same ring to it as Red Sox vs. Yanks. Regardless, little did they know that they were merely laying the foundation for the future of youth sports, and the craze that it is today.
While we tend to celebrate wins and losses year-round, this is the perfect time to give thanks for all the other essentials that make youth sports what they are today, almost 400-years later. Elements that are often overlooked and taken for granted, but without, would make us feel like we were playing sports back in the Pilgrim ages.
Volunteer coaches - overworked and underpaid (actually, not paid).
League board members - without them, there is no youth sports and we'd all be bored.
Oranges at halftime - and every other snack that has ever been served.
Stain remover - for those rainy, muddy Saturday soccer games, which kids just happen to love.
Underpaid officials - no matter how much they make.
Volunteer officials - becoming almost extinct.
Something to do on a Saturday - and every other day that ends in the letter "y."
Cold sodas from the concession stand in the summer - and hot chocolate in the winter.
Cold hot dogs and undercooked pretzels - year-round.
Getting trophies - even if your team doesn't win a game.
Postgame snacks - more important than the final score (at least to the kids).
Team Moms - and Dads - and Grandparents.
Siblings who watch siblings play - even though they really could care less.
Comfortable spectator chairs - and now they even come with roofs to block the sun.
Fast food - it is now the official pregame meal of the decade.
The parents who cheer regardless of the outcome - and the leagues getting rid of the parents who don't.
Kids who care more about having fun than winning or losing - and the parents smart enough to listen to their kids.
Thanksgiving Day - anymore, one of the few days of the year with no youth sports events. YET!