Select level sports require significant investment on the part of parents and players.
First, there is all the financial investment — for games, practices, instruction, training, uniforms, equipment, travel, etc… It adds up to a big number in baseball, and an even bigger number in hockey and other sports (try figure skating or gymnastics!!!).
Second, it is a tremendous time investment on the part of the player and the parents. Practices, games, working out, travel, fundraising, etc.. It takes so much time. For passionate players, this is fun and they enjoy it. But, there is no question that the time commitment pushes other activities down the list of priorities. This is an investment.
What’s the payoff from all this investment in time and money?
1. The opportunity to learn how to succeed — the value of character, hard work, discipline, teamwork, focus, etc.. that select level sports provides an incredible platform to teach.
2. The opportunity to pursue a passion at the highest level that you are capable of, which creates self-satisfaction, happiness and is a whole lot of fun.
3. The opportunity to build deep relationships with teammates and coaches that share your passions. Relationships matter.
The most important payoffs are qualitative. Select sports can make you a better person. If you want to convert it to numbers, in select HS baseball you also get the opportunity to get 30-60% of your college paid, worth about $80-100k.
So, the equation is simple — you put in the investment in money and time, and then just collect the payoff of the 3 points above plus $100,000 in college costs. It’s that simple right? Unfortunately, not even close.
Investment of money and time/effort does not “entitle” the player or parents to anything except the opportunity. There are no guarantees you will get the results above. That’s just real life.
There is no entitlement to success in sports.
There are no guarantees that:
If you spend money on training, you will be an above average player in games
If you train and eat like an Olympic athlete, you will succeed on the field
If you attend every practice, you can throw strikes on the mound or hit strikes at the plate
You can do everything right, and fail in the short-term. No one is entitled to success. Sometimes, it is really, really hard and takes a lot longer than patience allows. My personal belief is that hard work and perseverance will eventually create success. If not, David Eckstein would not have won 2 World Series rings.
But, feelings of entitlement derail this journey. If players/parents feel entitled to success, then they lose patience when things get tough. No one goes through youth baseball without some tough months. But, if you feel entitled to succeed, you start looking for excuses and blaming others when you experience failure. Perspective is lost. You look for the easy way out, when in reality there is not one.
No one is entitled to success. Sometimes you just fail, even if you do everything right. Maybe that is the single most important lesson that select sports can teach. It’s about the journey, not the destination.