View From the Press Box: Dion Clisso 3/22

Dion Clisso

By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Posted: March 27, 2018 - 9:28 AM

I’ve had several different phases of my career in journalism. I started as a part-time writer, became an editor, branched out into radio and TV and for the last eight years I’ve been running my own media site.

I’ve also had some life changes as I got married and had children. Now as my son is venturing into the world of youth sports it puts me on the other side of fence. I’m now the one watching as he starts his journey.

What I’ve seen just in the first few years is very interesting. He plays soccer, baseball and is starting to get into swimming. The schedules can get hectic, but he is interested in the sports and if he is having fun and trying hard we are happy to make those opportunities available.

A funny thing happened after his first soccer game of the spring season. It was a chilly Saturday and he was playing in his rec league game and from what we could tell he had fun and so did the rest of his team. That’s a win in our book so we headed off the field and went to lunch.

Before we got off the field as I was talking with one of his coaches a man walked up to the coach and handed him a flier for a club team. The man told our coach that he watched the game and there were a few players who could play for his club team. He asked if our coach would give the information to the parents.

This was a game of second graders playing 4-on-4 soccer and this guy was out scouting on a 40-degree day. I’m sure it was because he was looking to develop young players in a more competitive setting and I’m sure he does that for free. Well maybe not.

I know there are plenty of people who feel 7 and 8-year olds should be playing competitive sports and we are all soft because we don’t keep score when they are that age. I’ll listen to that, but I will tell you my son is no less or more competitive about a game because he is playing in a rec league.

I am a firm believer you either have that desire and fire or you don’t. It can be built, and a child can become more engaged but if they don’t have it they don’t and that’s not a terrible thing. There are plenty of people in this world who succeed who didn’t play competitive sports.

I know there is a time and a place for it, but I don’t think scouting a bunch of 7-year olds to get their parents to pay you money is really going to make them the next great American soccer player. I do know what it will do, make money for that coach.