How much does a family’s income affect a child’s ability to participate and excel in sport? How difficult is it to transcend an impoverished upbringing, not just in sport but also in life?
These are some of the questions raised by writer Linda Flanagan in her article What’s Lost When Only Rich Kids Play Sports in The Atlantic.
She writes that compared to their peers whose families make more than $100,000, children ages 6 through 12 whose family income is under $25,000 are nearly three times as likely to be “inactive”—meaning they played no sport during the year—and half as likely to play on a team sport even for one day.
“Sports in America have separated into sports-haves and have-nots,” Tom Farrey, the executive director of the Sports and Society program, tells The Atlantic.
Some sports – ice hockey, swimming, and golf to name a few – require costly facilities just to take part. Even soccer, where the only really necessary equipment is a ball, costs parents thousands of dollars a year to put a child through the club system. Many clubs like to talk about the scholarships available but, in truth, there are not nearly enough of them and parents are often unwilling to accept help.
To understand what Pure Game is trying to achieve for our children, it is important to know the obstacles we face. It’s never really an even playing field, but our children should know that the American dream is possible for everyone – not just those that can afford it.