Message Delivered in “Travel County”

Loudoun County.  LoCo, baby!!  One of the fastest growing and highest income-level counties in the country.  Everything that happens in LoCo is always so competitive…Welcome to God’s Country…the Mecca…the Promised Land…the Chosen One…Northern Virginia!  NoVA…it will chew you up and spit you out if you are not careful!  Youth sports in LoCo and NoVA are no different, very competitive and very unforgiving.

LoCo could change their name to “Travel County”, and seriously, not many would argue–certainly it would be more fitting.  We live in a County that lives for travel sports–always “travel this” or “travel that”.  More and more travel teams pop up every day, and shockingly, there are not enough fields or gym space to support them all.

Side note:  Someone should figure out a way to have a “percentage of proceeds” from sales of something go towards the building of such a new “multi-million dollar facility”, for say, basketball.

Put it this way, if you were at a cocktail party recently and parents were not talking about their kids travel sports, that cocktail party was not in LoCo. You all know exactly what we are talking about.  Football, baseball, softball, basketball, gymnastics, hockey, lacrosse, field hockey, swimming, track, tennis, golf, rugby, martial arts, cheer, dance…the list is endless, we probably forgot a couple…or thousand.  It’s a little ridiculous.  With the small percentage of kids that actually go on to play sports in college, one could argue it’s outlandish.  Given the amount of money families in LoCo spend on travel sports, one would think it equates to a sports lifestyle similar to:

sports-travel-300x225

When in reality, at the end of one season, the money looks like this:

100646_vintage_sports_equipment
FYI–we are all guilty of being caught up in this insane travel sports process, don’t be a hater!  Deny all you want, we know the truth!

What’s that you say, your kid isn’t in “travel sports”?  Thank you…we found normal people.  Oh, wait…we judged to early.  What about all the clubs and arts, such as Math Club, Science Club, Debate Club, DECA, Band and Choir–a lot of them travel to compete or to attend events.  And not just basic competitions or events…ones that are centered around Amusement Parks, ropes courses or fancy locations–these are not the same clubs we knew back in the 70s, 80s, 90s or even the 2000s.  There are more clubs than you can possibly fathom.  Go to your local high school’s website and count the number of clubs, go ahead, we’ll wait…yea, we stopped counting at 50.

What about Spanish Club, French Club and German Club?  Language clubs travel over Spring Break to countries where they speak the language.  We know, we know…when you were in school you were in language clubs and they did the same thing.  Yes, correct, you traveled to Spain, France or Germany.  NEWSFLASH:  the language clubs these days don’t just travel to the basic country that speaks the language, that would be….”pedestrian”.  No, today’s kids need to participate in something better…the Spanish Club goes to Cuba and the French Club goes to Saint Martin or Monaco, because Spain and France…well, they just aren’t good enough.  The German club goes to…well, Germany.  Sorry, German Club, other than small provinces in Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and Italy that speak a dialect, you got nothing else going on for you–buy a Eurorail pass and have fun!

Excuse us?  Your kid isn’t in travel sports or those arts / clubs?  You’re so lying, but that’s fine.  We guess there is nothing else for today’s kids in Loco to….hold on!

academic-excellence

How about we throw in Honors classes, Advanced Placement classes, National Honor Society, National Honor Society for languages,  “A” Honor Roll, “A&B” Honor Roll, being in Spectrum, trying to get in to TJ High School and GPAs of 4.99999?  (All you tech people, please notice the five “9s”.)  We even heard there is a new “Loudoun Academy” in the works, and we all know trying to get our kids into that school will resemble the madness that breaks out in Walmart the day after Thanksgiving.

Better yet, change the County name to “Academic Over-Achiever County”, more or less it’s the same thing, and being from this County and trying to get into a good Virginia college only proves this point even further. In fact, kids get more upset about not getting into Spectrum versus not making a travel sports team.  Even in elementary school it is a fierce competition for kids to get their art work displayed in one of those exhibits in one of the local Country government buildings….FIERCE!!  This kind of fierce:

Call it “Elite County” if you want, that will work, too. Money flys out our front doors in order for our kids to be “elite” in everything–lessons, camps, equipment, facility rentals, sports doctors, tutors, life coaches, etc.  Everything is competitive in LoCo!  Hell, some parents want to get their teenage driver a 10-year old beater car, and then they turn around and their kid’s friends are getting their parents “really, old, used, downtrodden” luxury SUV that just turned three years old…even modes of transportation are competitive. (Drive by the local high school parking lots, tell us we are wrong…)

(And don’t pretend like you don’t know what a beater car is.  Someone in your group of friends had one in high school, ranging from the old Chrysler station wagon to the dented-up old Oldsmobile sedan, either of which could be used to play mailbox baseball in, or all sorts of other bad things.  Courtesy of “Freaks and Geeks”:)

freaks-and-geeks-mailbox-baseball

All joking aside, make no mistake, these kids wanting to be “elite” in whatever sports / arts / academics they do, they push themselves, and they gain quite a list of intangibles if it is all done correctly–discipline, teamwork, leadership, hard work, commitment, time management, handling success and failure, late nights burning the midnight oil–all carrying over into other aspects of their life, it will truly benefit them throughout life.  Ok, ok…so maybe the investment of money, time and mileage IS worth it…being “elite” is a good thing.  Maybe.

Rambling over, time to make a point.  Having said all that, what does it tell you when 100 % of returning players of one SRRBBL Travel Team, and 75% (9 of 12) of another SRRBL Travel Team…in a County that lives and breaths travel sports…don’t return for travel tryouts this current SRRBBL season, with 85% of them in total not returning to the league at all, pulling out of the league to go play somewhere else?  Wait, this is LoCo, right?  We live for “travel” in “Travel County”!  Come on, what’s going on?  This is a big deal for these kids, right?  These two teams pulled out, are securing their own practice gym space, finding different leagues to play in and are paying for their own new uniforms?  That seems like a lot of work!  Why would they do that, go to such great lengths, when the SRRBBL Travel teams are right in their own backyard?

Simple, and yet not surprising.  In both cases, coaching decisions made by the SRRBBL Board were the catalyst for the departure of theses players and families, Members of the SRRBBL Community.

  • In one case, the SRRBBL Board “unintentionally” (intentionally) disregarded a coach (valuable asset to the SRRRBBL Community) due to that individual not following the exact process required (he spoke up about the league management) and not doing as all the emails said (he was removed from the email distribution and didn’t get the emails), and we all saw the backlash from the SRRBBL Community on that ill-advised decision by the SRRBBL Board.  The qualifications of this Coach would require any youth basketball organization to track him down and ask “You don’t want to coach the travel team?  What’s going on?”
  • In the other case, the SRRBBL Board refused to listen to Members of the SRRBBL Community about a SRRBBL Travel Coach who treated the players without care or concern, and the SRRBBL Board placed “friends of the SRRBBL Board” above the betterment of the kids, which is just unacceptable.  When SRRBBL parents make it clear, prior to SRRBBL Travel Coach selections, that the previous Coach needed to be removed, and they are looking for change, and 90% of them are not even registered before tryouts because of this, and the SRRBBL Board still chooses their friend as the Coach, you have to wonder why!  Or not really…

At the end of the day, disregarding a pillar of the SRRRBBL Community, and disregarding a portion of the SRRBBL Community…we’ve all seen this movie before!  Poor decision making, league mismanagement, not truly in it for the kids, ulterior motives…it’s patterns, SRRBBL Community…see the PATTERNS!

Bottom line…these two teams did what had to be done, for the benefit of the players and because, whether it is girls or boys, rec league or travel league, one SRRBBL Member or 270 SRRBBL Members…the SRRBBL Board, once again, not only doesn’t understand their audience, they just don’t care!

Well, message delivered…in Travel County!