Sports

Kids Play. Parents Compete.

On Sunday, The Dallas Morning News ran a story about Kenny Troutt, the local billionaire who flies his son's basketball team to tournaments on a private jet normally used by the San Antonio Spurs. He has also hired three full-time coaches, two skill instructors, a general manager, a traveling secretary and a trainer-nutritionist. His son is 10. In a word: Ridiculous.

Today, ESPN.com runs this story about a Little League baseball game in Bountiful, Utah, that took place June 23:

"In the final inning of the Mueller Park Mustang League 10-and-under championship game against the Yankees, the Red Sox's Romney Oaks found himself at the plate with two outs and the tying run on third base. Oaks is a frail boy whose growth was stunted by a malignant cranial tumor at the age of 4.

...Romney, who had managed only two hits in a dozen previous games, never had a chance. With two strikes, tears already filling his eyes, he swung weakly. His bat hit nothing but air. And so, the Yankees won.

But did they really?

Seven weeks after the fact, the decision by the Yankees' coaches that thrust Romney into that difficult position in the first place has sparked an emotional national debate about the importance of winning in youth sports and the lessons we teach our children. After he conferred with assistant Shaun Farr, Yankees coach Bob Farley elected to intentionally walk Jordan Bleak--the Red Sox's best hitter, who already had thumped a home run and a triple--to get to Romney."

I once coached youth soccer. We lost every game. In fact, I think we only scored one goal the whole season. It was humiliating. For me. The kids, who were only 6, didn't even know the difference. --Jesse Hyde

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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