Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Analysis of a Youth Sports Social Experiment

The Sports Letter blog recently interviewed Doug Merlino, author of the book, The Hustle: One Team and Ten Lives in Black and White. In the book, Merlino has followed up on a social experiment he was a part of while in the 8th grade in 1986, in which his basketball team was created specifically to mix players from different racial and socio-economic backgrounds.

I found this interesting because of some general similarities to our own league. We are not a social experiment, but we do have a healthy variety of families.

Merlino says that in order for kids to truly benefit long term from such an experience, it must extend from the playing field into other areas of life. He says, "We went to play basketball because we liked to do it.  In that sense, it was very useful in bringing these two different cultures together. On the other hand, if things are just about what's happening on the court, you can start to fool yourself.  If you say, it's integrated on the court, therefore everything's fine, you're missing something.  As I point out in the book, sports has its limitations."

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