In a New York Times article yesterday about the allure of high school football, sportswriter Jere Longman writes wistfully about the tradition of Thanksgiving-Day games among high schoolers. Although Longman concedes -- and a companion article about steroid use among athletes confirms -- that high school football is "not pure," Longman adds: "It is still a game, not yet a business."
The operative word may be yet.. Longman writes that prep football is in an "encouraging twilight" -- a hopeful metaphor for the way things are changing. High-profile rankings and a funding system for youth sports that is increasingly squeezing out lower-income students are two factors in the evolution of youth sports into a money-driven model. (Mark Hyman's blog, Youth Sports Parents, is a great way to follow the evolution. His latest recommends that we consider banning youth sports tournaments on national holidays.)