7-year-old Sara Woll: A life (already) committed to hockey

  • Article by: Mike Kaszuba , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 5, 2013 - 10:49 AM

As in many households throughout Minnesota, the debate over how-much-is-too-much with youth sports goes on almost daily in the Woll home, a modest, two-story in south Minneapolis with an aging Ford Taurus parked out front.

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dottyNov. 5, 1312:42 AM

Wow, where do I begin? I should preface my comments by saying I have a seven year old hockey player myself. He has two practices a week and a couple hours of open time November through March. That's it, and he's a great little player. And sometimes I wonder if it's too much. To be honest, this article was difficult to read and believe. This is crazy off the charts. I mean I'm sure these are nice people but they honestly should see a psychologist. This whole story could be a front page example of what's wrong with our society today. I mean how greedy, materialistic, and near sighted can we get????

lars471Nov. 5, 1312:43 AM


minneg56Nov. 5, 13 7:01 AM

I'm not one to tell someone else how to raise their kid in hockey. But as a 12 year board member of my local hockey association ... and having managed numerous clubs -mite through bantam- I'd respectfully suggest it's way too young, too much, too soon. 11-12 years old is almost too soon for specialized sports training. By 9-10 years old it would seem this skater would be well beyond the point of burn out. It's too bad there isn't a sibling in the equation. The cost of running 2 kids through 'traveling/association' hockey would pull the situation back to reality. Part of the beauty of youth sports - friendship ... and passing used equipment around amongst participating families! I MAY not know better but I'd say these folks have designs on 'positioning' their child for a college hockey scholarship. Youth hockey should never be viewed as a return on investment proposition. If there's any 'ROI' it is in the learning and the friendships and playing street hockey in the driveway or alley or shinny at the park after the 'scheduled' team practice. To move a child to another community for hockey? It rarely works. All you'll encounter is resentment from long term member parents/families in the 'receiving' association. I'd hope for the kid's sake they 'tone it down' for her. In any case good luck to the skater!

webspectre02Nov. 5, 13 8:13 AM

This kid is going to burnout too fast. As a coach USA hockey is no longer pushing the "Hockey only" mentality. as a matter of fact they now encourage kids to do other activities or sports since it works different muscles of the body which is what kids need. We take a break from all sport for atleast a month because this stuff eats up family and friends time which is just as important.

riley2020Nov. 5, 13 8:21 AM

Because she "wants to"? She's 7!!! This girl will be burned out by the time she gets to high school, if not before. As a parent of 2 boys who played multiple sports (including hockey) through high school with a healthy social life and excellent grades, I would tell this family to pump the brakes NOW. Be parents, for Pete's sakes. Set reasonable limits--it's your job.

dnelson1dNov. 5, 13 8:26 AM

What always strikes me about this stuff is how oblivious these parents are to reality. You're going to basically take away a kids' childhood and dedicate it to 1 sport, why? For what purpose? It'd be a lot cheaper and better for a child's long-term health to just pay for college. Please don't tell me that slightly improved skating technique at age 7 is going to make a big difference in the long run. My favorite quote here was the guy bemoaning how some kids who didn't have summer practice looked a bit shaky the first couple weeks of fall. Oh, how horrible?! How will they ever catch up???!!! They're doomed to be JV since they missed a summer session when they were 7!!!

Douglind33Nov. 5, 13 8:46 AM

All thoughtful comments. Missing from this draconian schedule is the best hockey time of all...rink rat time, outdoors with friends and kids of all abilities. The cost?? Nothing. I grew up playing puck in Duluth and played pickup puck with eventual Olympians and NHLers. This family is sacrificing too much and the kid will feel bad if she chooses to give it up. Don't need that kind of pressure.

viczee26Nov. 5, 13 9:24 AM

As I began saying as my kids were growing up, the major problem with the game of hockey today is THE PARENTS. The Woll family is no exception. Today's kids often don't come close to having my memories of playing on an outside rink as a young elementary school kid. There were some former Gophers, Fighting Sioux, Bulldogs, Wolverines, Olympians, and professionals home during Christmas vacation when everyone from the neighborhood went to the rink. Priceless! Let the kid have fun.

mwibachNov. 5, 13 9:37 AM

No thanks.

oldmotorheadNov. 5, 13 9:39 AM

The very first time that some rich family in Mn. sent their kid to a Canadian hockey school, sports were doomed. Now if a kid doesn't play a sport year round, they don't have much of a chance of playing high school level sports, at least competitively. The days of the 3 sport athletes are gone !!! How would you like to be this girl's high school coach if she isn't getting enough ice time?


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