My oldest daughter will be in fifth grade next year. As a result, she'll have the opportunity to explore many new avenues. School sports are on her to do list and she's quite capable. Her natural athleticism, strength and determination would make her an asset to any team she made.
But here's the problem. I'm not so sure she'll make the team. She's determined to try out for the volleyball team, partly because she really likes it and because she knows I played in high school and college. While I don't doubt she has the ability to become a good player, I have to consider the many girls whose parents can afford the club teams they put them on in an effort to give them a head start.
One mom suggested we get her into a club team as soon as possible because she "wouldn't stand a chance" against the other girls. Although she practices regularly with me, I wonder if it's enough. With a mortgage and other children to consider, we can't go into debt with the hope that doing so will give our daughter a leg-up on the competition. These club organizations are expensive. And what we do for one daughter, we must do for the other.
Is it not enough that she practices with me and attends the high school volleyball camps each year? Maybe not. And therein lies the problem. How far are we willing to go to give our kids an advantage? Is it fair to compare a coachable, natural athlete with potential to a child whose parents had the means to expose her to a higher level of play at an earlier age?