In March 2005, The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine published my article exploring how the over-the-top youth sports culture was affecting kids and families. Titled “How Much Is Too Much?” it generated tremendous reader response, and two months later I signed a deal with Gotham Books to investigate the issue on a national scale. The results of that research, conducted in the academic year 2005-2006, appear in my book, “Revolution in the Bleachers: How Parents Can Take Back Family Life in a World Gone Crazy Over Youth Sports.”
In the book, I look at the way youth sports have changed in the past 20 years and how those changes have altered the nature of childhood in America and patterns of family life. Many households are putting demanding sports schedules above bonding rituals such as eating dinner together, taking family vacations, spending holidays with relatives and relaxing at home on weekends. Lots of kids are stressed out, and some are getting burned out. I wondered if, for this generation, success at sports was coming at too high a cost. And I came up with suggestions of how parents can bring balance back into their children’s lives.