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Fun Should be the Focus of Youth Sports

Over the last two decades the growth of youth sports has reflected the popularity of professional sports in our society. To a foreign observer of the American culture we appear to be a sport’s obsessed society. Sporting events and news are available to us twenty-four hours a day on television and radio; sports are an enormous industry. In 1995 it was determined that the sporting industry generated 85 billion dollars worth of business. It is now estimated that by the year 2005 the sporting industry will be worth more than 150 billion dollars, making one of the top ten industries in the U.S. (Murphy 32).

The outstanding popularity of the sports industry has had a profound affect on youth sport’s organizations. Recent surveys place the number of children participating in various team sports at around 20 million. However, critics estimate that as many as 73 percent quit sports by age thirteen. The majority of children drop out by middle school age because sports are no longer fun for them. There are several contributing factors to this phenomenon, parents and coaches putting excessive pressure on children, over competitiveness, anxiety, and simple loss of interest.

Children join sports at a young age, and it is usually the parent who decides what sport the child will play. Parents are often very involved in their child’s sport. The parents buy the team trophies, uniforms, and equipment and shuttle their child to and from games and practices. Most children enjoy this time they spend with their family and friends. There is little emphasis placed on competition and children all have an equal chance to participate. They are able to “play” with their friends outside the school environment and simply have fun, which in turn keeps children interested and involved in their sport.

As children get older they ascend to a higher level in their sport, for instance, from T- ball, to little league. During this time pressure to succeed starts to rise. Parents and coaches often become more involved with the game than with their children, attention starts to focus to the more “talented” players on the team, and competition and “who wins” takes precedence over having fun. In his book The Cheers and the Tears, sport’s psychologist Shane Murphy Ph.D., claims that “One way in which many traditional youth sport programs fail to meet the needs of children is by introducing too much competition too early.

Codependency in Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome

Codependency in Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome

“Dependent personality disorder.”(Morris) To people who suffer from this disorder, making a decision is virtually impossible. It is only by getting assistance from others that they can make even the simplest of choices. When some of these people come together, they rely on each other to help them with decision-making. Unfortunately, the codependency created by this situation frequently makes it impossible for these people to separate. In fact, they often become so interdependent that subconsciously they increasingly act in ways that will maintain the status quo. In Edith Wharton’s novel Ethan Frome, the three major characters are so dependent on each other that no matter what they try, they remain stuck together. To underscore this point, Edith Wharton uses both language and diction to illustrate each of the three major characters’ basic inability to make their decisions and their resultant codependence on each other.

Ethan Frome, the most predominant character, exhibits his codependence throughout the story and consistently requires other people to either make or help him with decisions that affect his life. At one point, Ethan describes his relationship with his wife saying, “She’s always had her way”(61). In addition, Wharton describes Ethan’s actions as follows: “Lowered head he went up in his wife’s wake”(28). Ethan’s own words show his dependence on Zeena and on his reliance on her to make all the decisions in the house. His constant pattern of yielding to her is a telltale sign of his inability to run his life. Another example of Ethan’s dependence is how he only fights Zeena over one issue, Mattie. However, in this instance …

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…ever, illustrate the possible consequences of refusing to take responsibility for one’s own decisions. Although most people do not suffer from dependent personality disorder, many people do have trouble making important decisions that will change their lives. Ethan, Zeena and Mattie illustrate how far astray a refusal to think for oneself can lead a person. Had any of them chosen to consider the repercussions of their actions, a lot of heartache and tragedy might have been avoided.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Bell, Millicent. The Cambridge Companion to Edith Wharton. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Morris, Charles G. Psychology Englewood Cliffs Prentice Hall Inc, 1994.

Springer, Marlene. Ethan Frome: A Nightmare of Need. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1993.

Wharton, Edith. Ethan Frome. New York: Penguin Group, 1993.

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