Sharpe, E.K. (2006). Resources at the grassroots of recreation: Organizational capacity and quality of experience in a community sports organization. Leisure Sciences, 28(4),385-401.
After examining Sharpe’s (2006) case study that explored the Appleton Minor Softball League, our class actively discussed problems that affect the experience of those youth sport participation.
At the end of the study, one problem that really stuck out was the importance of winning and losing that seemed to be stressed on these kids. Unfairness was a big issue as parents were upset that some teams were much better than others, and umpires sometimes would not make the right calls.
Now, I personally define recreation as “physically and/or mentally active relaxation”. Recreation should not be something you win at, but rather enjoy doing. Whether that is because you love a certain sport, you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, or you just want to have fun with your friends, recreation should not be competitive. It was sad to see through this case study that the tyke division (5 – 7 year olds) had the most troubles of unfairness.
These kids should be concerned about learning more about the sport, and enhancing their social and physical skills, instead of focusing on who wins or loses, or which team is better or not. We discussed how some leagues have now begun to exclude scoreboards for certain ages, this way, learning and fun come before winning.
Let’s take out the scoreboards, and have parents and coaches put emphasis on learning and development at a young age, instead of keeping score. Players and volunteers alike should not feel any pressure in a Rec. league. Competitive leagues should be competitive, recreational leagues should be those looking to have fun, improve their skills, then perhaps advance to the higher leagues if they want too.
What do the readers think? What is your definition of Recreation? Is removing the scoreboard a good idea? Or even more radical which was an idea brought up in class…should PARENTS be removed from games?
A bit extreme perhaps, but its exciting to think about what would happen.