Why I think JV sports are good for kids:
Playing JV is not a bad thing. I feel the need to say this because it feels like every parent out there is prepping their kids to play Varsity all 4 years of their high school careers. Even if those kids are only third graders at the moment. Honestly, it’s getting out of control. When did playing JV become unacceptable? There are so many things that kids learn from sports, no matter what team they end up on, and one of the most important things I want my kids to learn is this: Hard work has a longer arc than talent. Meaning you show up and you work hard and that will get you further in the long run than just talent alone. And this is especially true if you luck out with coaches that reinforce this ethic and are just as interested in creating decent human beings as they are athletes. We’ve been fortunate that way which has been awesome.
In this era of instant gratification, I think it’s good for kids to learn that they have to put in the hard work to get to the next level. Because it doesn’t mean anything if it didn’t take you a lot of work to get there. It’s like that line from The Incredibles: “if everyone is special then no is”. Yes, I’m aware that’s a cartoon but it’s a relevant point. Just go with me on this. Not everyone who wants to play a sport is going to be awesome at it. Sometimes because they don’t have the work ethic, sometimes it’s because they just don’t have the natural talent, and sometimes it’s because they just don’t love it. And that’s what makes those kids that are naturally talented, love the sport and work hard stand out. Those are the athletes that put in the time and should receive the reward of being top league. Not everyone will do that and therefore not everyone deserves it. Unfortunately, that type of statement is viewed as harsh in the ‘everyone gets a medal’ thinking of today. But it’s true and you do your child a disservice if you teach them otherwise.
Now, I get that some kids are naturally talented athletes and deserve to be Varsity from the word ‘go’. I know a few of those kids and they are awesome to watch whether it’s on the field, on the court or on the mat. But that’s not gonna be every kid and that’s OK. Really. It is.
So I guess what I’d like to say to parents: If you kid plays sports, just be happy. They don’t have to be the best and they don’t have to be superstars. If they are, good on ya. But it they aren’t, don’t freak out. Just go to the games/tournaments/matches and watch and be proud.