by Kevin O’Hara D.C.
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. --Michael Jordan
Are your children enrolled in organized sports? Do they want to play and why? I see the answers every weekend at the hockey rink, football field, and at the baseball diamond. You’ve probably seen it, too.
There are about 138,000 athletic scholarships available for Division I and Division II sports combined. A lot, you say? Well, there are over 1 million high school boys playing football. Nearly 603,000 girls compete in track and field. The average NCAA athletic scholarship is about $8,707. Track and field and sports such as baseball usually see about $2,000. Yearly tuition for NCAA schools usually runs between $20,000-$50,000. Your child would be lucky to receive 15 percent of a $40,000-dollar tuition bill. Is it worth it for $6,000? Along with the wear and tear of the mental and physical aspects of the sport? Men get 57 percent of the scholarship money. The best paying sports scholarships: men’s ice hockey, ($21,755) and women’s ice hockey ($20,540). The odds are your child will not play Division I anything and the likelihood of a full-ride scholarship is remote. I’m not trying to be the half-empty guy here, but these are the facts.
Once upon a time, we played sports for the joy of it. It was fun, our friends played, and we needed to get out of the house so as not to drive our mothers crazy. It taught us sportsmanship— winning and losing gracefully— not how to manipulate the rules and stack your team to win a tournament. That’s cheating. Where has honesty gone, or sportsmanship? How about “nice try buddy” or “good game” when you lose?
Teamwork, integrity, hard work, dedication, sacrifice, camaraderie, working together for a common goal, the thrill of victory or agony of defeat: this is winning at sports and the life lessons our children need in playing them, organized or not. It is not your life, your team or your friends. It is your child’s. Stop living vicariously through them. Let them play, learn and have fun. Let them be disappointed after a loss.
Over 3 billion dollars in private academic scholarships are awarded to college students each year. You want to give your children a leg up in the world? Teach them how to study, the value of good friends, and how to face adversity. Teach them something other than how loud you yell at the referee or “the loss was that other kid’s fault”. Over the years, I’ve been blessed to have had parents, coaches, teammates, teachers and friends that helped me find what really matters. Will you do the same for your child?
Dr. O’Hara’s office is located at 940 S. Arthur Avenue in Arlington Heights. For more information, call 847/577-3597 or visit www.oharachiro.com.