Academics or athletics for your child?
By Don Valentine
The enthusiasm for Pee Wee football in the Black community has run amok. Take a close look as you pass your local park this fall and you will see an alarming sight. The parking lot at your neighborhood park is inundated with enthusiastic dads pushing their sons to play football. Pee Wee football starts at the early age of five, six, seven and eight-year-old. Would our community [Black or white] be better served by putting that same preparation into honing those children’s academic skills? I posit that learning the paradigms for reading and math builds a better foundation than learning tackling techniques.
An old adage says Numbers, Never Lie!” The N.F.L. has 32 teams. Each team has 53 players on the active roster and up to 10 on the “taxi squad”. That equates to 3,276 jobs for players in the league. Now contrast that to the approximate 43 million Black citizens. The math will not mislead you on the chances of getting on the N.F.L. payroll. 3,300 is not a promising percentage for your son to make his mark in society.
My guess is that the health risks for
an Accountant, Dentist or Attorney are not close to that of an aspiring N.F.L. athlete. How many Real Estate Agents do you know that have C.T.E. issues?
As an educator it is disgusting to pass these parks. It is depressing to see the energy wasted on investing in what amounts to a lottery ticket on our youth. Share with your family and peers the lasting reward of applying that effort to educating our youth. The average tenure for the lottery winners that make it to the league is around three years. What do you think the earning years are for an Electrical Engineer might be? [15-40 years]. Then again, you could invest the time into hoping little “Johnny” becomes the next Odell Beckham Jr.