INTRODUCTION TO THE GUEST AUTHOR
Mike Manahan is a friend I met in college. To be honest, I can’t recall exactly when I first met him; he was one of those guys everyone just seemed to know. I do remember, after returning my senior year from a semester abroad, Mike worked as a bartender at one of our local watering holes. A truly witty and sarcastic character, he said to me, “So, what? Are you expecting a free drink now or something?” “Absolutely not,” I responded. “I’m expecting 10.” He rolled with it, laughed, and I knew we’d be friends. He continued to entertain everyone at the bar – and school - for the rest of the year.
Turns out that character has come in quite useful, as Mike has since moved to the south, become a successful salesman, charter school advocate, married a beautiful woman and has four (yes, 4!) equally beautiful children. Children who are heavily involved in the madness that has become youth sports, which is what he chose to write about.
What the Hell is Wrong with Us When It Comes to Youth Sports?
I grew up in a small town where you knew what month it was, not based on the calendar, but on which sport you were playing. We rode our bikes to games, where our parents sat in the stands and cheered. Honestly, I don’t recall ever hearing an over boisterous parent in the stands, let alone one who was allowed near the dugout or sidelines. We played hard knowing that if successful, we would be rewarded with an 8-inch trophy – the ultimate sign of success for that season. If we came up short, we may have been lucky to get a single scoop of bubble gum ice cream, but were more likely to get a quick pat on the back and a “You’ll get ‘em next time,” from mom or dad. They were good days.