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The Youth Athletics Of America

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Youth Athletics in America Drive through any town in America on a Saturday morning and I am sure that you can find a park or school field that has a practice or games going on. It is estimated that 36 million youth between the ages of five and eighteen will participate in one or more organized sports each year (statistic brain). That is more than the entire population of Texas and most of Oklahoma. What is it that brings all of them, and their families out to line the fields throughout the United States? By the numbers, one can see the impact of athletics in America, if it is positive or negative is the real question. Many believe that this is part of growing up and that it will build character. Others are worried about the effects of competition and risks of injury to the young athletes. When did all of this start in America? According to Hilary Friedman of The Atlantic, it started about one hundred years ago in the streets of the big cities. Most of the first participants were poor or immigrant children that were not in school and were simply filling time by starting games and keeping themselves occupied. Those of a more fortunate means were typically engaged in music, dance, or other non-competitive activities. Friedman continues to explain that there began to be a concern for these youth and that they needed good examples to teach them “American” values of cooperation, hard work, and respect for authority. So, in 1903 New York City’s Public School Athletic League for
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