A first-of-its-kind investigative book on the least examined and most important topic in sports today.
Youth sports isn't just orange slices and all-star trophies anymore. It's 14-year-olds who enter high school with a decade of football experience, 9-year-olds competing for national baseball championships, 5-year-old golfers who shoot par, and toddlers made from sperm donated (for a fee) by elite college athletes. It's a year-round "travel team" in every community--and parents who fear that not making the cut in grade school will cost their kid the chance to play in high school. In short, a landscape in which performance often matters more than participation, all the way down to peewee basketball.
Much as Fast Food Nation challenged our eating habits and Silent Spring rewired how we think about the environment, Tom Farrey's Game On will forever change the way we look at this desperate culture besotted by the example of Tiger Woods. An Emmy award-winning reporter, Farrey examines the lives of child athletes and the consequences of sorting the strong from the weak at ever earlier ages: fewer active kids, testier sidelines, rising obesity rates, and U.S. national teams that rarely win world titles.
He dives into the world of these games that are played by more than 30 million boys and girls, and along the way uncovers some surprising truths. When the very best athletes enter organized play. The best approach to coaching them. And the powerful influence of wealth and genetics. Farrey has written a surprising, alarming, thoughtful, and ultimately empowering book for anyone who wants the best for the newest generation of Americans, as athletes and citizens.
About the Author
Tom Farrey is an investigative journalist whose work has been recognized for excellence in print, on television, and online. A correspondent with ESPN's prime-time newsmagazine E:60, he also has reported on air for ESPN's Outside the Lines and SportsCenter, as well as for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine, where he is a senior writer. He joined ESPN in 1996, after eight years with The Seattle Times. In 2007, he was one of seven journalists selected among the 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America by the Institute for International Sport at the University of Rhode Island. His reports have won many honors, including two Emmy awards for Outstanding Sports Journalism. Farrey lives in Connecticut with his wife, Christine, and their three children, Cole, Anna, and Kellen. This is his first book.
"Game On's the Silent Spring of sports: the book that launches a movement to protect a natural resource. Our children." -- Robert Lipsyte, New York Times contributing writer
"Farrey provides an insightful analysis of American society today and gives us a provocative look at its future." -- Jay Coakley, author of Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies
"Everyone involved in youth sports should pledge to solve this mounting crisis so artfully exposed by Tom Farrey." -- Mark Fainaru-Wada, coauthor of Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal That Rocked Professional Sports
"Illuminating, penetrating, sobering, Game On is dead-on: a fiercely intelligent, must-read portrait of athletic ideals gone horribly wrong." -- Armen Keteyian, chief investigative correspondent, CBS News
"Youth sports has become hyperorganized and deadly serious. Game On identifies the problem and points us toward some solutions." -- Bob Costas, NBC sports analyst and author of Fair Ball: A Fan's Case for Baseball
"Game On debunks the myths of child rearing and shows the lengths we go to and methods we use to build our children into athlete-entertainers at almost any cost." -- Former U.S. senator Bill Bradley, author of Values of the Game