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March 07 , 2011

Game On

How the Pressure to Win at All Costs Endangers Youth Sports, and What Parents Can Do About It


A first-of-its-kind investigative book on the least examined and most important topic in sports today.
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Youth sports isn't just orange slices and all-star trophies anymore. It's 14-year-olds who enter high school with a decade of football experience, 9-year-olds competing for national baseball championships, 5-year-old golfers who shoot par, and toddlers made from sperm donated (for a fee) by elite college athletes. It's a year-round "travel team" in every community – and parents who fear that not making the cut in grade school will cost their kid the chance to play in high school. In short, a landscape in which performance often matters more than participation, all the way down to peewee basketball.

Much as Fast Food Nation challenged our eating habits and Silent Spring rewired how we think about the environment, Tom Farrey's Game On will forever change the way we look at this desperate culture besotted by the example of Tiger Woods. An Emmy award-winning reporter, Farrey examines the lives of child athletes and the consequences of sorting the strong from the weak at ever earlier ages: fewer active kids, testier sidelines, rising obesity rates, and U.S. national teams that rarely win world titles.

He dives into the world of these games that are played by more than 30 million boys and girls, and along the way uncovers some surprising truths. When the very best athletes enter organized play. The best approach to coaching them. And the powerful influence of wealth and genetics. Farrey has written a surprising, alarming, thoughtful, and ultimately empowering book for anyone who wants the best for the newest generation of Americans, as athletes and citizens.

From the Hardcover edition.
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