So here I begin my blogging experience and my son has a new soccer adventure. He is now old enough to play in an under-8 league and so today was the first of two tryout days for the rep team. I’ve been to every one of his games since we’ve registered him in a league and I’ve watched him grow as a player over the last four years. It has also meant that I’ve found a number of friendly parents that are watching right along with me and supporting their boys.
This is the first age group where parents have had the choice to opt their child into the more competitive division. Up until now the league offered supplementary training before gametime to those with an extra hour to kill, but it was open to all comers. Essentially this season of competitive soccer should work the same way, but it’s clear from the tryouts that the level of soccer will be quite different. These kids usually or always attended the supplementary training, and many we know from summer camps and leagues that we’ve previously played in. Now the boys will be receiving three hours a week practice in addition to whatever festivals the teams attend. We’ve hit the point where boys who are interested get extra to be good, by being good they get extra and so on. Very soon they’ll be on their way to racking up the 10,000 hours that Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers) talks about to become a master at something. Speaking of which, next time I’ll swipe the register so I can get the birthdate data and see if Gladwell is also correct in stating that these competitive leagues tend to be skewed to children born at the beginning of the year. He reasons that the older children (January babies) in an age cohort will be marginally more developed mentally and physically and so will appear to be more talented than a comparable child born in December. With their elite status they then receive more resources, which reinforces the difference in talent that really only existed because of when they were born.
I can see this happening but I don’t think I’ll mention it to my boy with a July birthday.