I need to share something with you, but fair warning, it’s quite shocking. Many of you are not prepared to hear it but it needs to be said. So keep reading only if you’re ready for the cold, hard, dream-shattering truth. Ready? Ok. Well, I hate to be the one to break it you, but your kid will not play professional ball.
There, I said it. Take a moment. Breathe. I know it doesn’t seem possible right now. Your kid is dominating Little League and you see nothing but Nike endorsements in the future. Sorry. It ain’t going to happen. They might get a chance to play a little college ball (if they’re lucky), but in all likelihood their sports career will end with high school.
Consider these stats from the NCAA:
-31,999 will make a college roster (6.7%).
-693 will be drafted by the MLB (9.7%).
That means there’s a .51% chance of a high schooler playing professionally. If you mix in the 11 million plus little leaguers out there, you’re looking at a .006% chance.
And baseball has one of the highest percentages because of its minor league system. Consider football and basketball:
-69,643 will make a college roster (6.4%).
-253 will be drafted by the NFL (1.6%).
So there’s a .08% chance of a high schooler playing professionally. That’s eight out of every 10,000 players.
-17,890 will make a college roster (3.3%).
-51 will be drafted by the NBA (1.3%)
That works out to a .03% chance of a high schooler playing professionally. It’s slightly worse for women’s basketball, about the same for men’s soccer and they don’t even keep track of softball or volleyball.
Bottom line. The great majority of kids you see on the court or field (including yours) will not make the big leagues. I know that’s hard to hear considering the incredible amount of time and money we invest in developing their future sports careers. But it’s true. Most of it’s just for the love the game (or at least it’s supposed to be).
And please don’t get me wrong here. I love sports. I grew up playing them and encourage my kids to play all they can. We play school ball, rec ball and usually have private lessons on Saturdays. I’m not anti-sports by any means and there’s nothing wrong with spending a lot of time here. As long as we keep things in perspective. The problem is we usually don’t.
I’ve seen way too many families allow kids sports to crowd out other priorities in life. Namely, participation in their faith communities. It happens every season. When ball cranks up, faith takes a back seat. There’s long-distance weekend tournaments, Sunday practices and even Sunday games (rare occurences when I was growing up). My question for Christian families is what are teaching our kids?
I’m afraid we’re teaching them that church involvement is nominally important while sports involvement is vitally important. We’d never allow them to skip practice or games, but we rarely think twice about letting them skip youth group. After all, the youth minister can’t bench them for not showing up. The coach can and will. So we bow to the sport. And, along the way, we subtly teach our kids that there are some things in life more important than God.
Ouch! I know that hurts. Trust me, I’m stepping on my own toes as much as yours. And I do believe there’s value in kid’s sports. I’m just encouraging us not to lose sight of the big picture. Let’s not sacrifice our kids’ faith development for temporary glory. At best they’ll play ball for a dozen years or so. We hope they’ll be a Christian their entire life. So let’s spend a little more time developing that area too.