Competitive youth football, in addition to all youth sports in general, gets a bad rap in the general media. Unfortunately, the public usually only hears about incidents that occur with bad parents and bad coaches. What doesn't get reported are the success stories. Many of you either participated in youth sports when you were younger and/or are involved in your children's youth sports organizations in some way today. Personally, for me, I played youth baseball and football back in the late 70's and early 80's. Football was the sport I enjoyed the most. Unfortunately, a brain injury (insert joke here) prevented me from continuing to play the sport as I entered High School (don't bring up the topic with me -- it still a sore spot with me :icon_cry:). Youth sports has grown in popularity since I was a youngster and there are now many choices for children/parents of varying sports and leagues. Within each sport, each league can vary in intensity and competitiveness. As many of you know, I have been coaching my youngest son's competitive football team and have coached girl's softball and boy's baseball previously for my kid's teams. Have I seen instances of bad parenting and bad coaching? Of course. I've seen parents scream at their kids in the middle of a game. I've seen parents 'coddle' their kid at a critical point when the kid was on the verge of breaking through and 'getting it'. I've seen coaches handle kids improperly, either verbally or physically. I've seen fistfights between parents and coaches on more than a few occassions right in front of the kids. However, these instances are much fewer than the success stories. I have coached kids who were never allowed to play organized sports because their parents couldn't afford it and the team covered their costs. I've coached kids who needed male coaches in their lives because their fathers either left them or were in jail. I've coached kids who never thought they were good enough to compete on a playing field and when the light bulb goes on for them and they finally believe their coaches, you couldn't wipe the permagrin off their face. I've had to cut kids that my kids go to school with and that my wife and I know their families. In most cases, it actually motivates most kids to work harder. Contrary to what they are taught in the rest of society that 'everyone is a winner' and the other bullcrap that is spouted, for many of these kids, this is the first time in their lives that they have personally been handed a challenge that THEY can control the outcome. To see how many of them take the bull by the horns, make another roster, and work their asses off to get better, is what makes it all worthwhile. It teaches them and helps them practice getting up off the ground when they're knocked down in life. Unfortunately, society no longer teaches people how to do that in most avenues of life. That's why there are so many people that fail to launch. The first time they are knocked down in adulthood, they don't know how to get up because they were never in a situation where they could learn it. Youth sports IS a good thing, especially with good parents and good coaches involved that understand the deeper meaning.