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The Negative Effect of Sport on America's Youth

The Negative Effect of Sport on America's Youth - The...

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The Negative Effect of Sports on America’s Youth As one of the major institutions within American society, sport has an effect on the every day lives of millions of citizens all across the country. Whether a participant in youth sports, a college or professional athlete, or just an avid fan, sport plays an important role in the lives many. Sports are often viewed as a positive thing. They’re fun to play, fun to watch, and play integral roles in the socialization of not just Americans, but people worldwide. Through sports, people at a young age are taught important character traits such as hard work, discipline, and commitment, all traits that are necessary to be successful in today’s society. While it is clear that sports have a positive effect on the lives of many, what is often overlooked is the negative effect of sports in modern society. Sports can cause hatred between rivals, teach kids to be aggressive, and put pressures on youths that they may not be capable of handling. What is interesting, though, is to think about why these negative aspects so frequently get overlooked and get a “free pass” on these types of issues that most other institutions within our society would not get. Maybe this is the case because parents want their children to have the aspect of sport in their children’s lives regardless of the possible consequences or maybe it’s simply due to a general ignorance to the fact that sports do indeed have a downside to them. Either way, the goal of this paper is to take a look at these negative roles that sport can play in modern American society that are often overlooked. In Joan Ryan’s book Little Girls In Pretty Boxes the harsh realities of the negative effects of sport are seen, and in a very disturbing way. Ryan exposes the truth behind the closed doors of what is young teenage girls training with the hope of one day being Olympic champion in the sports of gymnastics and figure skating. She reveals the pain, the suffering, and the harassment these young girls endure all with the hope of representing their country in the Olympics.
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One of the many disturbing stories that Ryan shared was of Julissa Gomez, a 15-year old girl who had devoted her life to gymnastics. It is a case study that exposes the injuries that gymnasts are forced to play through and the brutal coaching tactics that force them to do so. Julissa endured the brutal coaching of several gymnastic instructors and even moved to a different part of the country with hopes of finding a better, less harsh coach to help her one-day go to the Olympics. Ryan explains that at one time, when Julissa was training with gymnastics expert Bela Karolyi, that “she was always in pain, first from a stress fracture in her ankle, then shinsplints, then hamstring pulls and finally a strained knee that would eventually drive her from Karolyi’s (training center) for good.” Karolyi would then call her stupid for not fighting through the pain. “No matter what ugly words the coaches threw at her, Julissa didn’t fight back. Few
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The Negative Effect of Sport on America's Youth - The...

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