ESPN The Magazine’s annual Kids in Sports issue hits newsstands today. This edition is a very special issue. That is because beginning with this issue of ESPN The Magazine kicks off two months of storytelling about youth in sports. The stories will be told in print, online, and on TV, including a town hall with the Aspen Institute. More information on all of this is available online at http://www.espn.com/kidsinsports.
This issue of ESPN The Magazine will focus on a variety of topics, including what is sure to cause quite a bit of reaction in “Parent Confidential.” This feature will focus on parents of over three hundred child athletes across the country. The athletes vary in age ranging from nine to thirteen-years old in fifteen different sports. Readers will be surprised to learn in this feature that seventy-three percent of elite youth athletes have felt pressure by their parents and an astonishing seventy-nine percent of those interviewed say that their parents have gotten upset over their performance on the field and court. The irony here is that also noted in this feature is that of those elite youth athletes interviewed, some sixty-nine percent say that they have NEVER thought about quitting despite pressures and criticisms from their parents. Even more eye opening, the interviews reveal that of those interviewed, seventy-nine percent of those youth athletes say they LOVE their sport and a minute seventeen percent say they like it a lot despite the pressures and criticisms.
The reaction by parents is just as eye opening as that of the youth athletes interviewed for this feature. Some fifty-three percent of parents interviewed for the feature say that their marriages are stronger because their children play youth sports. Eighty-four percent of parents interviewed claim that their children’s grades have actually improved as a result of playing youth sports. Most eye opening of all of these numbers is that despite the dreams of parents of youth athletes, less than one percent of high school senior athletes reach the pros. By comparison, fifty-eight percent of those same athletes say that one reason they play is to become a pro. The views of the youths that believe they will go pro is just as astonishing as the other numbers revealed in this feature. Some sixty-nine percent of youths age ten to thirteen and forty-one percent of teens age fourteen to eighteen believe that they will be good enough to go pro. Thirty-two percent of parents actually expect their children to get athletic scholarships. And eleven percent of parents interviewed believe their child will one day go pro. These are quite the interesting numbers. Why parents and their children feel how they do is explained in the brand new issue of ESPN the Magazine on newsstands today.
Speaking of parents, their children and expectations of both, readers will also find interesting writer Tim Keown’s article, “After The NFL.” The feature focuses on the impact that a career of hard hits has had on former NFL star Steve Hendrickson. It goes on to note that despite knowing the negative effects of a career of taking and dishing out hits, Hendrickson still wants his son to pursue football. From here it goes into a discussion on the nation’s youth football culture. This article and each one included in the new edition of ESPN The Magazine are sure to create a number of discussions among readers.
There are other interesting features included in this brand new edition of ESPN The Magazine, including a piece titled, “Dear Me” in which current athletes write letters of advice to themselves as young athletes. Among the athletes features in this piece are: Dwight Howard, Aaron Rodgers, Andy Murray, Abby Wambach, Gabby Douglas, Robbie Rogers, and Jeff Gordon.
More information on these stories and more is available online at http://www.espn.com/kidsinsports.
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