. . .When games are fun, no one worries about children participating. They do it naturally.
Parents and psychologists see great benefits when children go outside and organize themselves into neighborhood games. There, they learn leadership, negotiation and teamwork.
Jerry Keenan, athletics director for Harding High School, has been coaching in St. Paul since 1961. He said most kids in the 1970s played street-corner games that they controlled.
For example, he said, baseball hall of famer Dave Winfield played at a local playground unsupervised by adults.
"There were one or two games a week, and you'd be lucky if you saw two parents at one of those games," said Keenan. "It was all playground-driven."
Parents today won't let their kids play out in their own neighborhoods, much less go to a playground unsupervised. Parents today have to supervise every event and if little Suzie gets her designer jeans grass stained it's the end of the world. If little Johnny's team loses then they call foul and claim everyone's a winner.
As for that kid who quit football after 20, I dunno. While I've know more than enough bully coaches, I leaning toward that mama and kid were just whiny babies.