A winner-take-all mentality that undermines sportsmanship principles and alienates many young athletes. Parents questioning coaching decisions and harassing game officials. Poorly maintained athletic facilities and equipment shortages.
Add to this list mounting concerns about head injuries and potential abuse in the post-Jerry Sandusky era, and the landscape for youth sports can look pretty bleak. Yet these programs, staffed mainly by well-meaning volunteers, remain vital parts of every community’s social fabric in ways that go far beyond win-loss records and trophies.