Take Away All-Star Games

When private sports organizations started decades ago, the opportunity it provided children to experience the thrill of tournament play was great because there was no other way to experience it. But that is not the case anymore–the number of travel teams seems to grow exponentially every year. Thus, the opportunity for tournament play abounds. There are numerous travel teams for which those parents and children seeking that can play.

At its core, recreational athletics is all-inclusive; all-star competition is not. Recreation administrators need to take a step back and reassess all-star participation. Is it truly in the best interests of an athletics program, or is it a program better left to the travel organizations?

Mark W. Moore, is the assistant director for the Botetourt County Parks, Recreation & Tourism department in Virginia. He can be reached via e-mail at mmoore@BOTETOURTVA.US.

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3 comments on “Take Away All-Star Games

  1. David Coleman on said:

    One of your points seems to be that since travel ball offers the elite players a venue to perform, Little Leagues should no longer offer All-Star opportunities because they are not all-inclusive, and in return, all players can play more games. In my experience as a coach, most of the players are satisfied with the length of the schedule and want to move on to other things, but the players with a higher degree of passion welcome more games against tougher competition. If Little Leagues omit All-Stars, those players who have the skill and passion to become All-Stars would, most likely, move on to other organizations, and in their wake many Little Leagues would suffer, not only from the lack of players, but from the influence of the passion and presence.

    It’s not like they gather all of the players together and select the All-Stars gym-style while the non-selected players slump away embarrassed. At some point we need to prepare our youth for life in the real world. I’m sure that most of us were not awarded our jobs just becasue we filled out an application, but because we were placed into a competitive situation. Let’s teach our kids to handle rejection. Who knows, maybe some of these players will work harder and be an All-Star someday, isn’t that what we’d like to teach our youth?

  2. Pam Vanderkolk on said:

    I sang while reading your article. It is an issue we deal with here in our community every year. I actually had one of the league reps tell me from another community that they weren’t sure they wanted to continue to “allow” us in the league because some of our teams aren’t competitive enough! They told me I needed to “lose the recreation mentality”! I was pretty sure when I answered the phone that day I did say “Parks & Recreation Dept.” so since that’s what I’m paid to do and it’s what I believe in, I won’t be changing my ways anytime soon! The other issue is we start the seasons so early that we have to deal with so many rainouts and by the time the season ends (one age group is done Mid-June) the diamonds are just starting to look good and the weather is great but the season is over and the parks are empty and 90 percent of the players are now bored with nothing to do. How very sad! Thank you for a great article!

  3. Billy Moore on said:

    All Stars can be ok or can be a real negative. If they interfere with the overall youth season it is not a positive. Our local baseball league ends the first week of June so the rest of the summer can be for allstar play. Games and practices are so early in March that there are times teams are practicing in 30 degree weather. Then when the summer comes there is no baseball for most of the kids. On the other hand, we have gifted programs for academically advanced children. If allstars are done properly it can be a good thing. It should never negatively impact the league as a whole. A bigger problem may be in house with youth leagues. The keeping of standings has more negative impact on the overall league. Coaches wanting to win the “championship” play the best kids more and the lesser skilled kids play way less. You can legislate playtime rules til the cows come home, but there are always a few coaches who are going to abuse those rules. Not keeping standings, while not completely elinminating that, doeas help.

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