Because I still haven’t learned how to say “no,” and because I’m just an all-around nice guy (obviously), I agreed to help a family friend set up a website to showcase his son’s lacrosse talent. I walked into the situation with adrenaline pumping (I’ve only built a website once before), but I was relieved (and a bit amused) to see Chris had purchased a space on godaddy.com’s servers. All the work is practically done for you! Cut and paste stuff. No <div>’s or pixel to em conversions for me.
But, as we were discussing the layout and content we wanted to put on the page, my family friend (Chris) said, “Man, people take this shit so seriously nowadays. But the recruiters told me this is exactly what they want to see. It was nothing like this when I was a kid.”
That’s when it clicked. I couldn’t focus for the rest of our conversation because my mind focused on this one idea (Oh my God, I have an idea!!). So, I’m proposing a look into the severity and dedication with which children/teens (K-12 grades? maybe just middle school through high school) practice sports and the effect it has on them.
And the amazing part is, as far as research topics go, there are so many different angles from which to approach the subject: One could look at it from a parenting standpoint, as a story of growing up, as a sports issue, etc. Also, although I am limited to the immediate surrounding area, this issue affects parents and children globally.
Although thinking about immersing myself in this foreign issue terrifies me, I’ve already considered my options in approaching it: interviews with sports psychologists, attending youth and high school games in various sports, interviewing coaches and trainers at specialty facilities (where I would imagine they mean business), speaking with kids who participate heavily in one sport (or many), etc. Do these kids embrace the challenge? Or do they feel overwhelmed in a society that values and rewards individual achievement and accomplishment?
I’m no stranger to the world of sports (I watch ESPN on occasion), I’ve never been a parent. I know nothing of sports psychology. I’ve read of the tremendous stress we put on high school-aged students academically, but what about in the realm of athletics? I’d like to know, because some people take this stuff VERY seriously. Of course, I would expose myself to many different sports, from baseball to dancing to polo (do they have youth polo in New Jersey?) to get as much info as possible.
The topic is wide open any genre, I would imagine: dialogue between parent and child, a poem about the stinging disappointment children face (from within or from coaches/parents) after a defeat, a straight-up feature article, etc. Perhaps once I delve into my research a genre will present itself unto me.
My thoughts for potential publications to send this to include parenting magazines, such as Metrofamily Magazine and Metro Parent Magazine, to something more general, like New Jersey Monthly (four $ signs a stretch?).
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel I was in over my head with this subject, but I’m sure it would be infinitely interesting to hear peoples’ perspectives on it. I’m hoping for an approval soon!