Monday, May 21, 2007

Participation vs. Fandom:
On "The Dangerous Book..."

As this blog is dedicated to raising young sports fans, not young athletes, I'm totally ignoring the New York Times story today on the state of the new Little League rules about pitch counts. (Seriously: The fact they have to have those kind of rules at all is why "I want my kid to be an all-star athlete" is among the most debilitating parenting trends of the last few decades.)

No, I'd much rather focus on the genius of "The Dangerous Book for Boys," the surprising (and runaway) bestselling book* that covers tons of "lost" games and activities for kids, some totally sports-related, some more tenuous. (Stickball! Go-Carts! Slingshots! More!)

The NY Times (Sunday Styles section, no less) had an article on the book -- and its accompanying larger "trend" -- yesterday. Here's the story link.

The book is totally aligned with the Varsity Dad philosophy: I'm all for the value of having kids play competitive sports for almost any reason except "my kid WILL be a pro athlete!" and "my kid WILL succeed in sports where I failed!"

But there has GOT to be room for participation in sports (or sports-ish) activities, like the ones described in the book, for the sheer joy and thrill of exploration and imagination -- of expanding your world or your mind or your character.

I'm not saying the "Dangerous" book replaces anything, but by NOT incorporating it (or related thinking), you are doing a disservice to your kid as an all-star anything.

-- D.S.

* -- Father's Day is coming up in a few weeks. Not a bad gift idea. For dad, not kid (even though kid will love it, too).

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