Monday, May 13, 2013

Holding Serve

Overheard this morning on Mike & Mike: Jimmy Connors bemoaning the fact that tennis, as a sport, isn't getting its hands on kids until they're 15 or 16 and have already tried soccer, basketball, etc.
It's not that he's wrong. It's that the implications of that statement are kind of frightening. What he's saying can be boiled down to:

  • By age 15 or so, it is already too late for these kids professionally.
  • Being well-rounded and trying different things is bad for you professionally
  • We need to identify, find, and focus future tennis prodigies at a very early age
Back in the '70s and '80s, when A)I was growing up and B)Connors was a force to be reckoned with on the tennis court, there was constant hue and cry over the Soviet "athletic factories", whereby kids were plucked from their parents at an early age, trained exclusively in a sport, and discarded at an early age if they didn't pan out.
We thought it was a bad idea then. We thought it was unfair and dehumanizing.
We appear to have changed our minds.
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