My kid is almost 8. She loves playing baseball - batting, catching, tagging kids out and especially running the bases.She's an exception to the trend of baseball’s declining popularity among kids. Last year, for the first time, ESPN Sports Poll’s annual survey of young Americans’ 30 favorite sports players had no baseball players on the list. Youth participation in Little League declined from 3 million in the 1990s to 2.4 million in 2012. Around the nation, little leagues are consolidating with their neighbors.
In Marc Fisher’s Washington Post article about baseball’s “struggle” to connect with kids, he reports that participation in all sports has dropped by more than 9 percent nationwide over the past five years.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal shared a report from the Sports and Fitness Industry Association showing how specific sports have lost ground among kids aged 6 - 18:
The percentage of inactive 6-to-12-year-olds—youths involved in no physical activities over a 12-month period—rose to near 20% in 2012 from 16% in 2007, according to the SFIA/Physical Activity Council survey.
Inactive 13-to-17-year-olds rose to 19% from 17%.
It seems that kids aren't just playing less team sports because they're doing other things - schoolwork, video games, alternative sports, social media, watching TV - they're playing less team sports because the structure and interests of the American family are changing.
This reminds me of another study reported by NPR (How We Become Sports Fans) that found that fathers have the greatest influence when a kid chooses his or her first favorite sports team.
This is all to say, LET'S GO RED SOX.