Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Ornery Columnist: Snacks In Youth Sports Are Making America Soft

Photo: Oliver Hardt/Getty
Photo: Oliver Hardt/Getty

Snacks: Are there too many of them? I don’t know—when I look in my pantry, I am often disappointed by how few snacks there are. If you ask me, there should be a lot more snacks around me at all times. Snacks are good is a broadly popular opinion, judging by the contents of aisles four thru six of my local Wegmans.


This is not a view that is shared by Steve Windsor, the author of a column headlined “What’s wrong with youth athletics? Snacks, not participation trophies” in the Detroit Free Press. It is Mr. Windsor’s position that snacks—things you eat that are less substantial than meals—should not be offered to children when they are playing sports, because food = entitlement.

No, this isn’t ascreed [sic] against sugar addiction and the rise of children’s diabetes. It’s a plea to those well-meaning parents and rec-league coaches who are essentially bribing kids to play in a sport.

With treats.

This is the real source of entitlement. This is what’s making us soft.

“Us,” he says. I fear that is not the “us” of those of us who ate too many snacks while golfing this weekend, and is instead the “us” of citizens of this once-great nation. And I fear that is not the “soft” of my belly has gotten round and flabby from eating all these delicious snacks, but is instead the “soft” of back in my day America used to win wars.

Not participation trophies. Or fourth-place ribbons. At least those speak to effort and competitive risk. At least those serve as a symbol of losing, which, as [Kobe] Bryant stated, can be turned into a call for determination.

But juice boxes?

Come on. It’s a tool for coddling.

Sheesh. Mr. Windsor goes on to take the position that the rigors of sport must serve as their own reward, and that anything added to the reward beyond water and “perhaps the occasional banana or orange slice” taints and dilutes the purity of competition and the harsh, brutal permanence of an earned result. But who will stand up against these coddling parents and their confounding snacks?

Your kid doesn’t need them after practice, after games, between innings, at halftime. Mine didn’t. Yet I had to watch them gorge and, when the carefully crafted schedule dictated, provide the offending haul myself.

Yes, I protested. Yes, I was shamed. Snacks? What’s wrong with those?

Imagine the gall of parents shaming Mr. Windsor for taking a stand and, umm, protesting? Snacks? Given to children? Hmm. At any rate, I urge you to read the entire column here.

Staff Writer, Deadspin