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Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children [Hardcover]

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Item description for Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children by Tom Farrey...

Looks at the hyper-competitive world of contemporary youth sports and the ways that the overly dedicated approach to child athlete training are bringing about such unwanted consequences as fewer active kids, and rising obesity rates.

Publishers Description
A first-of-its-kind investigative book on the least examined and most important topic in sports today.

Youth sports isn't just orange slices and all-star trophies anymore. It's 14-year-olds who enter high school with a decade of football experience, 9-year-olds competing for national baseball championships, 5-year-old golfers who shoot par, and toddlers made from sperm donated (for a fee) by elite college athletes. It's a year-round "travel team" in every community--and parents who fear that not making the cut in grade school will cost their kid the chance to play in high school. In short, a landscape in which performance often matters more than participation, all the way down to peewee basketball.

Much as Fast Food Nation challenged our eating habits and Silent Spring rewired how we think about the environment, Tom Farrey's Game On will forever change the way we look at this desperate culture besotted by the example of Tiger Woods. An Emmy award-winning reporter, Farrey examines the lives of child athletes and the consequences of sorting the strong from the weak at ever earlier ages: fewer active kids, testier sidelines, rising obesity rates, and U.S. national teams that rarely win world titles.

He dives into the world of these games that are played by more than 30 million boys and girls, and along the way uncovers some surprising truths. When the very best athletes enter organized play. The best approach to coaching them. And the powerful influence of wealth and genetics. Farrey has written a surprising, alarming, thoughtful, and ultimately empowering book for anyone who wants the best for the newest generation of Americans, as athletes and citizens.
"Game On's the Silent Spring of sports: the book that launches a movement to protect a natural resource. Our children." -- Robert Lipsyte, New York Times contributing writer

"Farrey provides an insightful analysis of American society today and gives us a provocative look at its future." -- Jay Coakley, author of Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies

"Everyone involved in youth sports should pledge to solve this mounting crisis so artfully exposed by Tom Farrey." -- Mark Fainaru-Wada, coauthor of Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal That Rocked Professional Sports

"Illuminating, penetrating, sobering, Game On is dead-on: a fiercely intelligent, must-read portrait of athletic ideals gone horribly wrong." -- Armen Keteyian, chief investigative correspondent, CBS News

"Youth sports has become hyperorganized and deadly serious. Game On identifies the problem and points us toward some solutions." -- Bob Costas, NBC sports analyst and author of Fair Ball: A Fan's Case for Baseball

"Game On debunks the myths of child rearing and shows the lengths we go to and methods we use to build our children into athlete-entertainers at almost any cost." -- Former U.S. senator Bill Bradley, author of Values of the Game
Tom Farrey is an investigative journalist whose work has been recognized for excellence in print, on television, and online. A correspondent with ESPN's prime-time newsmagazine E:60, he also has reported on air for ESPN's Outside the Lines and SportsCenter, as well as for and ESPN The Magazine, where he is a senior writer. He joined ESPN in 1996, after eight years with The Seattle Times. In 2007, he was one of seven journalists selected among the 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America by the Institute for International Sport at the University of Rhode Island. His reports have won many honors, including two Emmy awards for Outstanding Sports Journalism. Farrey lives in Connecticut with his wife, Christine, and their three children, Cole, Anna, and Kellen. This is his first book.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   383
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 9.75" Height: 6.25"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   May 6, 2008
Publisher   ESPN
ISBN  1933060468  
ISBN13  9781933060460  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Sports > General
2Books > Subjects > Sports > Miscellaneous > Sociology of Sports

Reviews - What do customers think about Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children?

GOOD READ  Jun 29, 2008
As a person who reads a great deal about sports and who has a twenty-five year background in High School and College Athletics, I felt Farrey did a great job of providing some fresh information and certainly made me think a bit outside of the box. I would recommend this to parents, coaches, and athletes and give a thumbs up to the author for his insights.

I enjoyed the format of the book and how the information was presented, therefore, making it a pretty east read. Farrey provided me with some key observations that warrant deeper and further investigation. I would have given this a 5 star rating but I was bothered by a number of factors I felt were omitted.

First, I realize that the author works for ESPN and it may not be in his best interest to touch on the role the national sports media plays in youth sports in particular ESPN, but to fail to mention how this effects the youth sports culture took something away from the book personnally. He is correct in placing blame on some organizations such as AAU and in some cases the school systems, but he fails to address the comparitive damage caused by his employer and its representatives. To give ESPN and the culture they have created a pass is an omission by Farrey. Second, most of the information and chapters deal with the upper levels of youth sports and athletics. Farrey, chose to focus most of his attention here, but in doing so neglected to touch on Middle America and the average youth participant. High school sports are much larger than the national power schools, there are hundreds of high schools who have provided great experiences for student-athletes. I also objected to Mr. Farrey's indictment of private schools and recuiting the argrument was much of the same with very little new insight.

Despite these objections I salute the author for his efforts and research.

I'm not even a parent...  May 29, 2008
...and I still think this is one of the most important books I've read in a long time. How a society treats its least powerful members--and I would say that kids definitely fall into that category--can tell you so much about what its values are, and what lays in store for its future. So what does it say about us that we pimp our kids (or their athletic abilities) to profit-mad sneaker companies, glory-seeking coaches who've never received training in child development, and NCAA colleges who in turn sell the kids' talents to TV networks in order to fund megastadium complexes? About the only good thing it says, I think, is that parents are genuinely doing these things out of love, and because, in the completely nutso youth sports system of today, there's precious little alternative. A great, alarming, incredibly well-researched book.
Game On is right on   May 21, 2008
Game On should be required reading for all parents currently spending their weekends in the stands watching their beloved child grind through a hockey, lacrosse, soccer, basketball, baseball or football game. With hard statistical data (don't be counting on that college athletic scholarship after looking at the tables in the back of the book) and revealing anecdotes (the Canadian golfing star at 6 who is burned out by 12 but still has a website tells you all you need to know about junior golf pressures) that should cause every parent traveling 100 miles to watch 8 year olds play hockey: what are we doing here exactly? (Interestingly, the author's kid is on a travel soccer team) Do the long odds of sports justify the unbelievable sacrifices. In addition, Farrey tackles the thornier question: does this early exposure and specialization really work? Are we producing superstar athletes in the US. Increasingly, the answer seems to be no. Also, it reveals that the club coach who has taken a special interest in your child for his/her team is, at their core, a businessman running a business over what we used to call child's play.

Would be a great book club topic, since increasingly you can't talk about parenting young kids without talking about the sports culture that they are growing up in.

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