Baseball fields sit empty. A breeze blows through a vacant basketball court. Weeds grow in front of a soccer goal.
“I want to play, but my broken heart and lack of positive examples won’t let me,” says Jackson Wilson, age 7, tearing up while staring through a chain link fence at his suburban Chicago neighborhood’s Little League baseball field. “I am too disillusioned.”
Sadly, it’s a sentiment held unanimously by children from sea to shining sea in the wake of Major League Baseball’s latest performance enhancing drug suspensions – a scandal set to take down Alex Rodriguez, one of the biggest names in the sport.
“I run a free basketball camp for kids, and no one showed up yesterday,” said Michael Ramirez, a Los Angeles resident. “I drove around looking for my campers and they were all in an alley shooting drugs. These are 5 and 6 year-olds, man. One of them carved NO ROLE MODELS into his chest with the end of a metal hanger. It was tough to see, but expected. What other choice do these kids have? A-Rod took steroids. They’re empty inside now.”
Sarah McIntosh, age 8, lives in the Atlanta suburbs and has played soccer for four years. But she decided to quit sports yesterday, too.
“My grand-pap was reading the newspaper out loud to my gram-gram and a man in the newspaper wrote that these athletes today are sending a bad message to the kids of America,” said Sarah. “They both sighed and shook their heads in disappointment. I don’t know exactly what that newspaper man meant, but I thought it best that I no longer be associated with sports. I think I’ll just stare out of the window now until I’m a grown up.”
But not every child is quitting sports due to the negative influence of today’s unethical professional athletes.
“I quit playing sports because I don’t want my brains to be mush,” said Dylan Peterson, age 4. “My parents make me wear a helmet if I get anywhere near a ball, so it seems easier this way. It gives them more piece of mind.”