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My New Book Review in Taki's Magazine: How to Earn a College Athletic Scholarship
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From my new book review in Taki’s Magazine:

This Sporting Life
Steve Sailer

May 11, 2022

Say you have an athletic child in middle school: Specializing in which sport in high school would make it most likely for your son or daughter to earn a college scholarship? The new self-help book from data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, Don’t Trust Your Gut: Using Data to Get What You Really Want in Life, which attempts to be “Moneyball for your life,” crunches the numbers on this and other intriguing topics.

The first question is whether your child has any particular genetic blessing from nature. Or would your scion have to make it on specialized nurture alone? For example, if your son is on track to grow to be more than seven feet tall, then basketball is of course a good bet: About one in seven of the tiny number of American men over seven feet make it to the NBA.

Stephens-Davidowitz has a clever way to estimate how genetically determined success is in different sports: What proportion of siblings at the highest level are identical twins?

For example, the NBA has had ten pairs of twins in its history, with at least nine pairs being identical. Of all the fraternal twosomes in NBA history, 11.5 percent have been identical twins, a very high fraction. If one identical twin is good enough to make the NBA, it appears the other has over a 50 percent chance of making it too. The author guesstimates that genes determine 75 percent of basketball success.

Not surprisingly, considering how dependent basketball success is upon height, which these days is overwhelmingly genetic in origin, that makes basketball one of the four sports where genes matter most.

The most genetically influenced sport is track and field, where an astonishing 22.4 percent of all Olympic same-sex siblings have been identical twins.

Read the whole thing there.

 
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  1. If your son is talented in just about any sport besides football or basketball, athletic scholarships are few and far between. Better odds for a daughter in just about any “non-revenue” sport, which includes just about all of them at most colleges.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  2. JR Ewing says:

    So, all you have to do is spend six figures on coaching and traveling to competitions for your kid to have a more than one in ten chance of winning a scholarship that might possibly be worth what it cost you for him to earn it.

    This is quite evident with youth baseball. For practically every participant, post-Little League baseball – middle school and beyond – is an expensive time-suck that does not pay off, yet the fear of missing out among most parents in the stands is palpable. They will gladly squander their time and money – and put up with a lot of nonsense – just for the slim chance of making the high school team and in turn maybe getting a partial scholarship to some tiny junior college someday that doesn’t even come close to being equal to the amount of money spent in the first place.

    The main thing with baseball is that while its one of the very first organized sports that kids are able to play, the weeding out is relentless and roster sizes and playing time dwindle rapidly as one gets older. In response, a really venal and opportunistic system has arisen to separate parents from their money a little while longer while they continue to cling to their dreams.

    The next time you past one of those complexes on a weekend, allow yourself to feel some sympathy for those poor suckers.

    • Thanks: JohnnyWalker123
  3. I was just trawling through my back catalogue when it occurred to me how fantastic for your blog were you to encourage viewer interraction with a question/response challenge.

    Winner gets to post at your blog something that takes their fancy.

    The challenge: you state something HBD like some sort of typically ridiculous HBD axiom and the readers get to post contradictions which you and your gang have to defend.

    Whoever wins the bout gets the points.

    Calculating the points at the end of the night (best make it a Friday) if you win you, or your hero in comments, gets to lord themselves about as if at the apex of the socio-sexual hierarchy, and when you lose one of my fellow cohorts gets to likewise post and cavort about.

    Thoughts?

    It’s this sort of thing that got people through the gulags (along with Gilbert & Sullivan drag performances), we can do it again.

  4. Say you have an athletic child in middle school: Specializing in which sport in high school would make it most likely for your son or daughter to earn a college scholarship?

    You lost me already.

    Think about your question and what it says about your circumstance.

    What does college guarantee a nation?

    What is it doing for our own people? Do we even have a people?

    If we don’t have a people why do you care about college?

    Colllege is premised, is built upon, has foundations in 100 years at least of self-interested blood sweat tears and toil of a people exerting themselves in a common racial goal.

    What’s the point of a deracinated college degree.

    Better to get certified in a trade.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Bardon Kaldian
  5. @JR Ewing

    My friend Don was always the best athlete I knew. He wound up playing #1 on the Notre Dame HS tennis team. At UCLA he played on the champion Ultimate Frisbee team, which may sound silly but was a big club sport at UCLA in the 1970s. But as a sophomore in high school he got cut from making the NDHS baseball _junior varsity_ team.

    It turns out there are a whole lot of guys with really good coordination at baseball, so it becomes a test of who has power as well as coordination.

    • Troll: Je Suis Omar Mateen
    • Replies: @prosa123
    , @Danindc
  6. slumber_j says:

    My wife and I are in the fortunate position of not even being tempted to pursue athletic scholarships for our children: the daughter absolutely refuses to engage in sports, and our son likes them fine but is (as I’ve always been) a decidedly mediocre talent in that realm. So that’s one less thing to worry about.

    Which reminds me: our family’s general athletic mediocrity is necessarily pretty much the norm, right? We’re hanging out there in the vast middle of the curve with most other people, and yet one seldom hears people characterize themselves that way when it comes to sports. In my experience, in their own telling people either are (or were in their heyday) really strong athletes, or they’re completely useless. Weird.

    • Replies: @Sfffhhjdss
  7. guest007 says:

    Steve, You need to add some background into the idea of athletic scholarship for one’s child.

    1. Most athletic scholarships are partial. For an NCAA Division I men’s baseball team, there are 11.7 scholarships for 24 positions on the team. Also, the scholarship s are really one semester renewable. Freshmen are the least likely to get a scholarship. the term used is that “we have a place on the team for you.”

    2. A non-revenue sports is just as time consuming as being a football player. Think of the hours being in the pool for a swimmer or cardio and weight lifting even for a member of the field hockey, lacrosse, or soccer team. In addition, there are team meetings, video review and mandatory study halls.

    3. Being a scholarship athlete can limit what one can major it. Needing to travel for the team or being at practice limits the ability to take organic chemistry, do an internship, or be a lab assistant. That is why the golf teams are made up of finance majors and the football team majors in criminal justice or recreational sciences.

    4. The Washington Post had an article years ago about the crazed suburban DC parents who thought their children would get swimming scholarships. The Post added up the fees for coaches, swim clubs, travel teams, summer camps, etc and figured out that the parents would be better off banking the money and paying for the child themselves. The ROI on pursuing an athletic scholarship is bad.

    5. For women, the risk of injury is higher than for men. Why risk adding another year to college while redshirting and trying to rehab a knee or hip injury?

  8. J.Ross says:
    @Pat Hannagan

    Shoot for a sport but train for multiple trades. If you get the sport, great. If you don’t, you have a way to talk to people in the trade and a reserve of relatable stories. You can’t do formal training programs in multiple trades (they all assume career and have long terms) but the essential book-learning for many is totally doable for the kind of kid we’re talking about. Basic plumbing, HVAC, basic mig and tig welding, machine shop stuff, basic pneumatic systems, basic hydraulics, very basic construction, handling & cleaning a firearm, very basic electricity, landscaping, the assembly of furniture, and probably automotive would be the single biggest one but would also probably be most popular. Plus this will make them more well-rounded, they’ll actually understand the stuff they depend on and use every day, and it will put them closer to the model of the classic man we want our — er, your — kids to resemble. This is what I should have done when I was a teenage screwup: I would unironically be rich now had I had and stuck to this plan.

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
  9. >90% of White people have no need for college degrees yet we’re consumed with longing for a place in the judeo mandated scheme of selection for worthiness.

    It’s as if 99% of people have no idea about quality and rely on numbers which may as well be magical for all they impart as to quality and character and worthiness.

    In the past a college degree was only afforded talents who would reward our society with the time we’d collectively invest in them, they were calculated as worth it, now it’s a money making scheme just like the rest of society.

  10. Rooster14 says:
    @JR Ewing

    The cost to play baseball is minimal compared to sports such as hockey; talk about a time and money drain. That’s why baseball is so popular in poor countries, all you need is a ball and stick. As for the time drain for the parents… everything with kids is a time drain for parents! You think the parents that take their kids to swimming meets, piano recitals, soccer, football, etc. all have a better ROI than baseball!? Once you become a parent, at least a decent parent, you give up a part of yourself so your kids can do things they enjoy, and as a parent hopefully you get some enjoyment watching them as well. If life were all about money and ROI, no one would have kids and work 12hr days.

    • Replies: @guest007
  11. prosa123 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Baseball also requires excellent eyesight, which most people don’t have.

    Speaking of sports, the fastest growing participant sport in the country is pickleball. It’s played on a fairly small court so it doesn’t require large facilities, a factor which doomed 1980’s darling racquetball. Nor does it need expensive equipment. Pickleball is also accessible to people of widely different fitness levels. Unlike its relative tennis, two people of different skill levels can still have an enjoyable game as long as the gap isn’t too great.

    • Replies: @Return of Shawn
    , @BARRY J
  12. I respectfully disagree with a lot of this commentary. As a father of three (a daughter, now 23, and two sons, 21 & 19), two of whom “chased” a lot of the AAU / high school basketball thing, for 6-7 years, I have to say … it was fun! My boys made lifelong friends, they DID SOMETHING that was generally healthy (e.g., not a lot of CTE in hoops), they stayed in shape, they didn’t drink or smoke — much — they had to make decent-to-good grades, to keep at it, they had discipline and structure “baked into” much of their lives, etc. It was a generally positive experience. Again, what the hell else would they be doing? And the older one still plays Div. III basketball, at a great school in the mid-west, studying business and has a solid internship in Chicago this summer. And, sure, full disclosure, I’m paying an ENORMOUS amount in D-3 tuition, every year. But we’re all happy with the choices. These sports experiences have helped to “anchor” my kids’ identities and focus their lives, in generally constructive ways. Maybe you guys want too much from sports? I think perhaps you’re a bit too transactional. Go ahead, hit me now!

  13. dearieme says:

    Among Olympic sports, no identical twins have ever qualified for the Summer Games as divers, equestrian riders, or weightlifters.

    OK, but what about the horses?

    • Replies: @Danindc
    , @Bardon Kaldlan
  14. Anon[126] • Disclaimer says:

    … the 2008 Olympian Winklevoss twins who are jointly played by Armie Hammer in the movie The Social Network. When considering suing Mark Zuckerberg for stealing their idea for what became Facebook, one suggests giving the Zuck an old-fashioned thrashing instead. After all, he reasons, “I’m 6′ 5″, 220 pounds, and there’s two of me!”

    This gave me a frisson of Revenge of the Nerds, so was it something actually said by a Winklevoss brother, or was it merely emoted by Jewish Armie Hammer from a screenplay written by Jewish Aaron Sorkin? Just curious.

  15. Anonymous[366] • Disclaimer says:

    It’s shameful there aren’t more wrestling scholarships. Good way to find really tough and perseverant kids.

    • Agree: Dutch Boy
  16. anon[128] • Disclaimer says:

    Per the WSJ it costs \$500,000 to train an alpine skier from childhood to 18. I read somewhere that it costs even more to train a figure skater, up to \$75k a year for 10 years. Even basketball, football, gymnastics, tennis, golf etc. cost lots of money once you add in the summer camps, coaching fees, club fees, clothing, equipment, travel cost to competitions. It’s often cheaper to just pay for your kid’s entire education. Even at full price private colleges cost \$80k a year or \$320k for 4 years.

    So the irony is most people who get their kids into sports don’t really care about the scholarship because they don’t need the money, they just want to use sports as a way to get their kids into elite colleges. Low income players who qualify for athletic scholarships through lower cost sports like basketball and football tend to go to public colleges that don’t cost that much, unless they go out of state.

    A friend told a funny story: a parent at her kid’s hoity-toity private high school donated a horse to Stanford hoping to get their kid in. Stanford took the horse and didn’t admit the kid, doh!

  17. TWS says:

    My kids matured late so while my daughters offers to college basketball started in Jr high my son didn’t get an offer until he was in college.

    My daughters career ended with back surgery. My son was playing a pick up game at college when the coach saw him playing. Within a week he was on a full scholarship. It was summer, a good few months. Then 9-11 happened. A few weeks later he had joined the Marines.

    He never got back to school. But he came home so who cares about that. Occasionally, he gets asked to play in charity games.

  18. ahh pickleball. is it tennis, or is it badminton? i prefer tennis and badminton.

    i’m trying to make beach badminton a thing…

  19. Barnard says:
    @JR Ewing

    I used to feel some sympathy for them, but the scam has been going for so long and is so well documented there really isn’t an excuse for not knowing about it now. Some parents may fall back to the argument that if their kids aren’t in activities they will be getting into to trouble which I don’t think is true in most cases. You see a few online who will allow themselves to think, “what if we had just put all the money we spent on travel (whatever sport) into a 529 instead?” The overwhelming majority come up with some reasoning to justify what they did.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  20. @prosa123

    I guess call me a bit of a pussy but after 8th grade baseball the main reason I decided to quit was because I was afraid of being hit by the baseball. I was the best on my non-traveling baseball team.

    I began to notice that high school pitchers threw hard, so going to to bat was scary. Also as an occasional pitcher for my 8th grade team I once narrowly escaped being knocked out/losing my front teeth/suffering brain damage by a line drive–fortunately, I put the glove right in front of my face and caught the ball. My 8th grade team didn’t have specialized positions from game to game so one game: I’d be 2nd base for some innings (or whatever position) and then I’d be whatever position the next. That variety was nice.

    High school baseball seemed more about winning and less about having fun, not to mention all the practice, so, those were more negatives.

  21. kihowi says:

    Using data seems about the worst way to go through life since numbers are much easier to fake and misrepresent than arguments. So, for that to have any value you’d have to pick your source extremely carefully. So, how do you do that, how do you conclude what source is the right one? You use…your gut.

    • Replies: @guest007
  22. How about your child cracks open a book? All that time and effort spent trying to get into college, and money to pay for it, could be better spent trying to become college-capable, if he has what it takes.

    Furthermore, what does ability in sport have to do with ability in academics? Pretty much nothing, although there’s probably a slight-to-moderate negative correlation, on average.

    And another thing, awarding scholarships is CHARITY, and we (or whoever) generally give charity to the NEEDY (widows, orphans, cripples, et al), and in the case of ACADEMIC scholarships, the poor-but-brainy/industrious. Why give it to the SWIFT and STRONG simply for being swift and strong, or to the RICH and PRIVILEGED for owning horses?

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  23. @slumber_j

    Mediocre IS useless in sports, and some other things. Of the hundreds who enter the Boston Marathon every year, all lose, except for one Kenyan.

    • Replies: @slumber_j
  24. @Pat Hannagan

    What is it doing for our own people? Do we even have a people?

    A good question.

    At the beginning of WW1, many German soldiers – depends on units – had carried in their rucksacks two books: The Gospel of John and Nietzsche’s “Thus spoke Zarathustra”.

    I wonder what would carry these “athletic scholarship candidates”, if anything ….

    And would they survive even 1% of this?

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
  25. Muggles says:

    The article and the column today has almost zero relevance to anyone here.

    Unless you are a very tall identical twin.

    I thought the big reveal on getting college scholarships for your kids was to bribe a rowing coach or maybe, fencing or some other obscure sport played in many colleges.

    Aside from repetitive practice and the rare high school coach who might know what they are doing, there is little that any below-college student can do to improve beyond basic sport knowledge and maximizing inherited genetic advantages, if any.

    You would do better to encourage debate skills or say, drama, since most major colleges have scholarships in those. Or just study hard, as I did.

    A study about the likelihood of college scholarship “athletes” ending up as alcoholics 15 years after graduation might be more instructive. That research might actually enlighten us.

    Major sport college athletes are now able to get paid, so these semi pro gorillas are just like the other mostly dumb pro jocks. Fodder for the dim bulb masses. No other nation operates university level sports like good ole USA. And since the college athlete craze took hold post WWII, we have lost all of the wars the US has been in.

    So much for the old Brit notion that “wars are won on the playing field of Oxford”, etc.

  26. @Muggles

    Aside from absurdity of awarding college admissions and scholarship money for athletic ability, we also have the equally stupid practice of denying children the privilege of participating in sports if their grades aren’t high enough. Sports and academics ought to have NOTHING TO DO WITH EACH OTHER.

    • Replies: @James N. Kennett
  27. I enjoy reading Steve’s column at Taki’s Magazine, and it also serves as a weekly reminder to catch up with the rest of the magazine.

    This week David Cole reports on the rise and fall of black hiring in Hollywood following the Summer of Floyd. Summary: it didn’t go well, especially for Netflix.

    https://www.takimag.com/article/hollywood-apartheid-is-ready-for-its-close-up/

  28. the actual ‘secret’ is to have daughters who play almost any sport seriously.

    like the demand for african physicists far exceeding supply, the demand for women playing sports far exceeds supply. a lot of NCAA sports scholarships go unclaimed every year. think about that. demand for women in sports is so high that universities are literally unable to give away their allotted number of full rides every year.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    , @guest007
  29. prosa123 says:
    @Muggles

    It annoys me that the NFL, the world’s richest and most successful sports league,* does not have to bother with developing talent. Colleges do it for free.

    * = with very rare exceptions, if you’re a man who doesn’t worship the NFL people think you’re at best a freak and weirdo, at worst, some sort of [email protected] And the highest quality women aren’t going to drop their panties for you.

    • Replies: @prime noticer
    , @AnotherDad
  30. ex-banker says:

    It is incomplete to limit the benefits of sporting ability/achievement to scholarships at the Division I and II level. As Steve notes, the Ivies offer generous aid and lower admission standards to gifted athletes.

    Two of my children have benefitted at DIII schools. One was able wrangle admission to a better school than he would have otherwise, and both have received more generous merit aid than they would have without the support of each team’s coach. The competitive gap between DI and DIII schools in non-revenue sports is smaller than you’d expect and the experience is far better. My son’s DIII team was ranked higher in an all division ranking than his HS teammates’ DI teams.

    The top end DIII schools (NESCAC schools like Williams/Amherst/Bowdoin and their peers outside of NE) offer nominally great education and strong alumni networks. The athletes at these places are usually about 40% of the student body and form a relatively conservative bloc. These are the people that love the school, become successful, have kids that want to go there, and donate spare cash to it.

  31. Truth says:

    if you’re a man who doesn’t worship the NFL people think you’re at best a freak and weirdo, at worst, some sort of [email protected]

    Well, I wouldn’t say it’s a 100% correlation, but as Damon Runyan once said; “The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet.”

  32. @Muggles

    I thought the big reveal on getting college scholarships for your kids was to bribe a rowing coach or maybe, fencing or some other obscure sport played in many colleges.

    Looks like the biggest factor is, “have athletic parents.”

    I knew a lot of parents who pursued the sport scholarship strategy. One dad’s kid got a free ride being a long snapper for the football team for Middle West Rural State Cow College somewhere. Tertiary education in the US is hugely distorted and an appalling waste. Beyond reform.

    • Replies: @guest007
  33. Onginer says:

    I wrestled on scholarship at a Big 10 university. While it may have a strong genetic aspect, Steve’s point about having a sibling rival would be particularly important in wrestling. My older brother also wrestled on scholarship, Division 1, but not Big Ten (The hardest conference). But I had a built in training partner who was always older and bigger than me, who could beat me and make me better. I also had two friends with older brothers and both friends older brothers wrestled on Scholarship Div. 1 while the younger brothers won Div 1 NCAA championships. I’m struggling to get my oldest son good wrestling partners but my younger son will never have that problem.

    Also, side note, Steve’s mention of Title 9 decimating wresting is infuriatingly true. Which is why I support tranny dudes taking women’s scholarships. If they want men to come to the rescue to stop the x-men from taking women’s scholarship, my response to the women is “where we’re you when men who wrestled were losing out on their hard earned scholarships?… crickets,” if women fight to get men their scholarships back that were lost to title 9, then I’ll support getting the x-men out of women’s sport. Until then, sorry ladies.

    • Replies: @Danindc
  34. @prosa123

    this is because colleges literally invented football. it wouldn’t exist if play hadn’t started there 130 years ago. whereas many other ball sports have a minor league specifically because the development of the sport had nothing at all to do with universities. the minor league players are professionals who pay taxes immediately at 18 years old.

    generally, there is only room for one version of a developmental league, not two. organized sports that didn’t have an existing minor league around the time of the formation of NCAA, were candidates for having the university system set up and absorb the developmental version of the sport. if there was already a minor league existing, then the NCAA version of the sport is probably weak, like baseball, soccer, tennis, and hockey. good prospects usually go directly to minor league and don’t bother with the NCAA version. if there is no minor league version, and there wasn’t for football or basketball for a long time, then they go to NCAA.

    this stuff all goes back over 100 years and the initial setup conditions explain what’s happening today, like studying the big bang.

  35. @Muggles

    Major sport college athletes are now able to get paid, so these semi pro gorillas are just like the other mostly dumb pro jocks. Fodder for the dim bulb masses. No other nation operates university level sports like good ole USA. And since the college athlete craze took hold post WWII, we have lost all of the wars the US has been in.

    So much for the old Brit notion that “wars are won on the playing field of Oxford”, etc.

    Eton, but never mind …

  36. So maybe you should rethink this whole scholarship obsession of yours.

    This.

    Kids should–boys need to–play some sports. (Anything physical taking them away from video games is goodness.) But our nation would be much better off if they did more outdoorsy stuff. Camping, hiking, canoeing and kayaking, climbing, shooting and especially hunting and fishing.

    There’s more value in backpacking through the mountains for a week–setting your own camp, cooking your own food, taking care of yourself–than in a year of sports where you go home, shower and mom makes you dinner, before you flop on your comfy mattress in your carefully heated or air conditioned room. Triply so if your trip involves shooting, dressing and cooking your dinner.

    • Agree: Muggles
    • Replies: @Truth
    , @Paleo Liberal
  37. @prosa123

    * = with very rare exceptions, if you’re a man who doesn’t worship the NFL people think you’re at best a freak and weirdo, at worst, some sort of [email protected] And the highest quality women aren’t going to drop their panties for you.

    Huh?

    90% of women do not care about football. They’ll go along with whatever sports interest the guy has to be with him and/or socialize with other couples. Otherwise, they generally would rather the guy turn off the game and either “pay attention” to her … or work on her “honey do” list.

    The bolder part is almost a contradiction in terms. Women who’d make that a checkbox are almost by definition not the highest quality.

    • Agree: Bill Jones
    • Replies: @prosa123
  38. AnonAnon says:

    I know two families that used volleyball to get their kids into top schools and/or a full ride. Both families had their kids in club volleyball teams, the full ride kid was on a top-ranked national team. The first family got their girl (6’2”) into MIT, one son (~6’6”) into USC, and a second son (6’6”) was recently admitted to UC San Diego but isn’t planning on playing volleyball in college.

    The second volleyball family got their daughter (6’2”) a full ride to Boston College. The full ride included tuition, room and board, books, tutoring, and a \$3k+ stipend to use on meals when traveling for the team. They shopped her to the Ivy League but they don’t give out full rides. Her younger sister (6’) is on the US National team and signed with UVA for rowing, which was her mother’s sport at a D1 powerhouse.

    Any family who thinks their ticket to college is athletics needs to do the math on the tens of thousands of dollars they’ll spend in club teams to be competitive to even think about a shot at athletic scholarships. Unless you have true talent or are freakishly tall you’re not getting into a top Division 1 school. You also need to calculate how many concussions and injuries you’re willing to let your child get in the process. Our son got a broken collar bone and a concussion during his undistinguished soccer career. Up until this year, the typical profile of a (white) UCLA or Berkeley admit from our high school was a 4 year varsity athlete, a dozen+ APs, and a 4.7 GPA. Quite the recipe for a stressed out adolescence, which looks like it repeats in college. Note the recent high profile female college athlete suicides, one at Stanford, in the news recently.

  39. Truth says:
    @AnotherDad

    Triply so if your trip involves shooting, dressing and cooking your dinner.

    Quadruply if you off the other guy who was aiming at your pheasant, cut his ear off and wear it as a necklace.

  40. prosa123 says:
    @AnotherDad

    Women like men who like football even if they don’t care for it themselves. There are three main reasons:

    1. Women value conformity, and men who are into football are nothing if not conformist. Put differently, a man who doesn’t like the sport is a nonconformist, which women don’t like.

    2. Women prefer men to have normal masculine interests. Football certainly counts.

    3. They are suspicious of friendless men. Football is a communal sport, with men typically watching the game on TV with their buddies.

  41. For girls, it helps to be athletic and at least 6’ tall and a good multi sport athlete.

    There were three girls within a couple of years of each other who were 6’ or taller on the east side of Madison. At least two of them got scholarships in their second sport

    One girl was a 6’0” softball first baseman. All conference. She tried rowing for cross training. She got a full scholarship D1

    Another girl from the suburbs got a full ride to the same college even though she had never rowed. She was big and strong and did extremely well on a rowing machine tryout.

    Another girl the same year was a 6’1” basketball player who also pitched softball. She got a softball scholarship, set the NCAA record for most perfect games and went pro.

    Later, there was a girl who was 6’3”. She got a volleyball scholarship. I don’t know if that was her first sport or not.

    • Replies: @JR Ewing
  42. My wife was a state record setter in HS at Pole Vault (still stands) and was offered several full-ride athletic scholarships. She wound up getting injured vaulting at the olympic trials. Her university kept her on scholarship until graduation. She also got a nearly full ride to her STEM PhD by coaching in college.
    I was offered full-ride swimming scholarships to two marquee state schools, but I was also a National Merit Scholar and tired of swimming, so I took the academic scholarship route. I dropped out and joined the Navy my 3rd year, disillusioned with credentialism.
    My daughters are in elementary school and are both 99.99th percentile in height/IQ the taller/older one has zero coordination at this point (still growing) and is only interested in drawing/painting, therefore no interest in sports. The younger loves every sport she tries and is observably better at every sport she tries than her peers. She can run, jump, throw, hit, catch better than boys 2 grades ahead of her, it’s really something to see. Just not sure what to encourage her to pursue.

    I have a friend that sent two daughters on full athletic scholarships (Stanford and Duke) by getting them onto the HS golf team and a couple of years of lessons. Of course Stanford and Duke probably turned them ‘trans’. So maybe HVAC repair IS the way to go.

  43. It’s utterly stupid for even athletic people to base their future hopes on a sports scholarship. If they get something, it’s likely going to be to East Kentucky Mining College.

    I was above average in smarts (not even in the top 10 in in my average public high school). I took Kaplan test prep twice and did well on the PSAT becoming a national merit finalist. I got a list of 100+ colleges (mostly state U’s with honors programs) that I could have gone to for free. This would be no strings attached, unlike your jock scholarship who has to grind away at rowing or whatever, while still studying, and trying to maintain some semblance of a normal college kids life. The more intelligent and serious of the jocks will tell you sport time commitments do come at some academic cost. See all the female jock suicides lately? Is this a happy way to go through college?

    There’s going to be a rare kid whose obviously exceptional (in terms of their physical build and talent), and for whom sports will open up a lot of doors including access to an elite college like Stanford that they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten into on their academic basis. The talent of those kids is going to be obvious. Your average even 6’2″ men’s high school basketball star probably isn’t going to get a college sports scholarship.

    I’ve heard girl’s volleyball is ridiculously easy, except for the one average height girl on the team who actually has to take a dive and needs to be athletic. For a girl whose 6′ or up, all they have to do is stand in one place and jump. I did a back of the envelope calculation one day based on how many 18-22 year old girls fall in the 6’+ bell curve and a significant number of them must be recruited athletes in volleyball, basketball (which takes a lot more skill and power), even things like rowing and swimming. But again that’s obvious when the girl’s a 1%er for size.

    The average “above average” sports playing kid will do better to focus on their academics and use that as a route for college success rather than the random chance that extreme levels of grinding will lead to college sports scholarship.

    “I thought the big reveal on getting college scholarships for your kids was to bribe a rowing coach or maybe, fencing or some other obscure sport played in many colleges”

    I went to an Ivy League school (which I paid full price for). I knew a guy on the track team. The Ivy League schools don’t give athletic scholarships, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t recruit (and don’t lower standards for athletes). There were certain known easy courses of study that were filled with jocks. My friend told me that the coach presents a list of people that he wants to the admissions committee and assuming they meet some bare minimum standard, they will be let in so the school can have a competitive team for whatever. What that fellow Singer figured out is that the coaches must always ask for a few more candidates than will actually play, since some kids get fat, some get injured, some just decide they don’t want to play. It was on that bottom of the list portion he could exploit to get people into college through the back door, because these kids just had to meet a “bare minimum” academic standard rather than the be somewhere near the college’s average. The admission committees might have no love for the jocks, but they knew they had little power to challenge the coaches so they never bothered to check these kids’ sporting credentials.

  44. @AnotherDad

    I strongly encouraged all my kids to participate in at least one sport one time in HS. Which they did. Some also did club sports. One of my kids was a D-3 athlete.

    The best thing is my kids are all adults now and all stay in shape and get outdoors. The former D-3 athlete now rides a bike a lot weather permitting and spends an hour or two in the gym after work every day.

    They keep active and healthy. That is more important than being a college athlete.

    • Agree: Bill Jones
  45. JR Ewing says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    For the subject of this post – merely getting an athletic scholarship – it just helps to be a girl generally. By law, across all sports there are the same number of available slots for girls as there are boys, but there are much fewer competitors for those slots.

    Notice I didn’t say “less competition” because serious girl-sport families – soccer, volleyball, and basketball primarily – are every bit as dedicated and psycho as families of male athletes, probably even more so. There just aren’t as many of them.

    There are also more diverse opportunities for girls compared to boys, since a vast proportion of male slots are tied up with large football programs whereas the same number of slots for females are spread out among many more smaller teams across different sports.

    • Replies: @Paleo Liberal
  46. According to the CDC growth charts, a legitimate 6′ 20 year old girl isn’t a 1%er, but more like a 0.1%er for size. The exact percentile is 99.882%. When a girl’s that huge compared to all her peers (and given the overall low level of interest and competition in girl’s sports), some kind of athletic scholarship is practically for the taking, assuming the girl isn’t obese and doesn’t have Marfan’s.

    From what I’ve seen on college sports forums, the heights are fudged by an inch (if not two). I think the NFL is big on measuring people, but that’s generally not the case in most sports. The heights are self reported, especially at the high school level. Assuming the claimed 6′ even girl is more like 5’11”, that’s still a one in 200 girl.

    “Another girl from the suburbs got a full ride to the same college even though she had never rowed. She was big and strong and did extremely well on a rowing machine tryout.”

    This a common story. I read something online about a girl who was a theater kid, but grew massively to 6’2″ during puberty. She had no muscles did a little bit of rowing in high school, like one year, and was recruited to an elite university. The recruiters made a bet which paid off because she has huge muscles now thanks to their training and nutrition programs.

    These are all extreme examples though. They’re almost more like the 20th century cases where some basketball coach goes and investigates rumors of a gigantic teenage herder in Africa and brings him to America to teach him basketball as well as everything else. Height especially is that rare quality that can’t be altered and if that’s what the coaches are looking for it becomes very selective. For those people that have these one in a thousand or even one in two hundred sized big girls I don’t think they need anyone giving them this special advice that there’s sports scholarships out there, because they’ve got the coaches chasing after their girls telling them that theater/band
    /dance/academics is a waste and putting in even a little bit of effort in volleyball will lead to a scholarship. And the advice isn’t going to be especially high yield for the 20 in a 100 typical sized girls who are athletic and whose parents have dreams of sports scholarships.

  47. anon[316] • Disclaimer says:

    There’s one scholarship available for every two female high school rowers

    That’s an extraordinary sounding proportion.

    Is it a case of lots of scholarships being handed out to mediocre rowers, or is it that high school rowing is so demanding that the mediocre rowers are already filtered out? (See also Simpson’s Paradox of college admissions)

    • Replies: @Paleo Liberal
  48. My youngest child was a very good lacrosse player, a four year starter and two year team captain.Senior year MVP. Her coach thought she was good enough to play D-I but all her college choices were D-II. We simply contacted the coaches and sent them her resume’. She was also a National Honor Society member junior and senior years, and a US Lax Scholastic All American.She was offered money at two schools and a full ride at another. The school of her choice only had club lacrosse, I sent the resume’ anyhow. Impressed with her application they offered a Presidential Scholarship plus other bennies including a job in the AD’s office. Worked out real well. If you want money from a college, ask for it. It is that simple. Oh, and your child should be more than a jock or jockette.

  49. guest007 says:
    @Rooster14

    Soccer is much cheaper and much more widely played. However, most of the world has zero interest in being a college soccer players in the U.S.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @jay ritchie
  50. guest007 says:
    @kihowi

    People drop out of college, fail in their career, have failed marriages, and go bankrupt because of their gut. If more kids actually understood probability and risk, then maybe their gut would mean something.

  51. guest007 says:
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Long snappers rarely get scholarships in Division I football, The Long Snapper is usually a walk on who does one job well and the school does not have to waste a scholarship for a player who maybe is on the field for 5-6 plays per game.

    I spoke to a guy who was the long snapper at University of Miami for two years. He said he quit the team because is was either take the arabic class or keep on being a football player.

    The first question I ask when someone tells me they were a college athlete is ask whether they were on any form of scholarship. The second question usually is whether they played for four years. In cerebral jobs, the usual answers are no scholarship and did not play four years.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  52. Daniel H says:

    This thread got me thinking of something. Encountering an Ivy League (or Ivy adjacent) graduate today, what can one presume their TRUE SAT/ACT score is? Thinking it over last night, for an Ivy graduate, I think that one can presume an SAT/ACT of one standard deviation above the mean, and no more. Why? Are any of you aware of the extent of the fraud that goes on now with students claiming qualification under the American with Disabilities act for special considerations taking the test, the most impactfull being a significant amount of extra time granted for completing each of the test sections? Apparently, the fraud is massive, and those most likely to participate in the fraud are the sons and daughters of the well-to-do urban managerial/professional/scribbling class. All one needs to qualify as disabled and receive these considerations is a statement from a licensed psychologist. Furthermore, the ETS is prohibited by law from revealing to universities that a student qualified for disabled consideration and was granted extra time to complete the exam. So, what is the applicant’s true cognitive performance? Few know today. They will do OK in the Ivy. They are conscientious, responsible, neruotic….they were bred and conditioned to be so by their parents and an army of counselors and helpers since they were toddlers, but there is no way that one can presume that any of them have the purported intellectual heft because the measuring standard has been so tampered with. I’m convinced that massive fraud is going on. It so easy to game the system and the rewards are considerable.

    • Agree: Rob
  53. @prosa123

    I so hate the sound of football droning on in the background that I never got married. Now as to women and conformity, wouldn’t a nonconformist female prefer the same in her mate – conformity to nonconformity so to speak? Otherwise, the mistake you’re making is the requisite obsessive interest could be in just about anything except porn: fixing cars, building treehouses, collecting those old glass transformers that used to be on electric poles. You’ve limited yourself to too narrow a selection of men I fear and might miss out on some of the better HBD traits to pass on to your children.

  54. @JR Ewing

    True.

    In order to make up the difference with football scholarships, other women’s sports have more scholarships than the corresponding men’s sport.

    Also, the total number of sports have to balance out for many schools. That has been a huge boon for women’s rowing. Quite a few schools needed to have an extra women’s sport to balance out football, so they put in a women’s rowing team. There are relatively few men’s rowing teams. One exception is Wisconsin which has always had a strong men’s rowing team. To meet Title IX requirements they axed their baseball team.

  55. Danindc says:
    @Steve Sailer

    The best, most confident athletes play baseball. Light years more difficult than any other sport.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  56. Danindc says:
    @JimmyTeeBee

    Well said. I’m envious!

  57. Danindc says:
    @dearieme

    I always thought Alydar and Affirmed were twin brothers with one just a little better than the other.

  58. @anon

    Neither.

    Most college rowing scholarships go to girls who are excellent athletes, have the body of a rower (similar to a swimmer’s body) and who do well on rowing machines.

    At U Wisconsin they have an open call for HS girls to come in and try the rowing machines. They have 8 scholarships which generally go to the top scores, except for a few outstanding rowers who are given scholarships based on their HS results.

    9-16 get guaranteed admission

    One of the top rowing clubs in the Midwest is in Madison. Maybe a small handful of girls get scholarships every year.

    It turns out the vast majority of girls who row in HS do not row in college and the vast majority of girls who row in college did not row in HS.

    I used to walk my dear departed dog near the boathouse and got to talk to a lot of Wisconsin rowers. Most of the women I talked to played basketball or softball in HS.

    This is similar for men, except there are far fewer teams and zero scholarships. Wisconsin has a top rowing team. Most top men’s rowing teams recruit in Europe. At Wisconsin the coach goes to all the freshman orientation events with a paddle with a mark at about 6’2”. He then asks any male freshman at or above the mark if he did any sports in HS. If the answer is yes, he invites them to tryouts.

    I am 6’ and the male rowers I met sometimes towered over me. One guy I met was 6’5”, and he looked short because his buddy was 6’8”.

    One time he recruited a set of identical twins who were taller than the Winklevoss twins. They had never rowed before. They led Wisconsin to a national championship and then went to the Olympics.

    • Replies: @prosa123
  59. Who gives a flying fuck. Inflation is at 50% and climbing. The rents are impossible. Food shortages are already starting.

    Who, I mean, who, gives a flying fuck about this tedious, meaningless, trivial bullshit that Saylor gets paid too much money to write.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Alden
  60. @JimmyTeeBee

    I was going to say the same thing, Jimmy TeeBee. We did elite baseball in high school for my son for the love of baseball with no expectation of college. It was expensive, time-consuming, and worth every penny and worth every drop of sweat.
    I can’t think of a single parent on any of our teams who was obsessed with getting a college scholarship out of it.
    A few of his teammates have gone on to D-3 baseball. They will become engineers or bankers or whatever and will also have the added work – and personal rewards and lifetime of memories – of playing college ball.
    You should all envy the parents you see at the ball fields.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  61. @Hannah Katz

    Lacrosse is popular among the distaff side of the Maryland horsey set.
    Not much expectancy or dependence on scholarships.

    I found this piece on cold-weather rearing interesting.
    Dunno if it works within the US: Maimi v Fargo,

    https://pumpkinperson.com/2022/05/10/cold-winters-added-14-iq-points-to-non-verbal-iq/

  62. @dearieme

    Well,it seems Cirillo Castillo is back behind bars again after being caught engaging in sexual activities with a horse.
    This is,sadly,not the first time Castillo has been caught in fragrante delicto. The Texas man had previously been convicted of sex acts with a horse that occurred in 2013.
    The County Sheriff, one Lupe Trevino,said at the time that Castillo would offend again. The Sheriff has been proven correct.
    The horse in the 2013 incident was a horse with a name: India.
    Imagine Castillo years from now on his deathbed,uttering one final cryptic word,A la Citizen Kane: “India.”
    Yes.
    India.

  63. @rebel yell

    Baseball is a spring semester sport so you can take tougher classes in the fall. Maybe come back for a ninth semester. A friend of mine at Rice was a baseball player, even made it to the low minors, but wound up making a bundle in the energy industry.

  64. What’s wrong with these “men” they want daughters to be pseudo-boys, and sons to be as stupid and conformist as the day is long?

    Practical skills are what matter. Including oration or nursing or what-have-you appropriate to the sex.

    And, if they’ve the appetite, those children can be taught hard and fast their cultural ignorance is appalling. And that they can remedy that. “College” abandoned it far more than a century ago.

    This whole thread is “credentialism”.

    Women don’t belong in college and fewer than 10% of Americans do. The minorities never had a place.

    “College” is just a way of delaying adulthood. (Griggs vs Duke Power). And since that’s on the plate, let’s skewer them folks even harder.

    .

    • Thanks: Bardon Kaldlan
  65. Anon7 says:

    You would think that track coaches in high schools would look for twins. The odds for identical twins are about one in 250, so in a big high school there would always be some. I found an old article in a local news paper that says

    “…Once again [Blank*] High School track coach Tim R. has come up with a first-rate pair of identical twins. They are Doug and Don S. who fill the gap created when Identicals Allan and Don M. were graduated.”

    * Trying to stay anon, sorry.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  66. @Anon7

    The best distance runners at Notre Dame HS when I was there were two identical twins.

    • Replies: @Anon7
  67. @SteeringWheelHolder

    What’s wrong with these “men” they want daughters to be pseudo-boys?

    Chris Rock calls it “keeping your daughter off the [stripper] pole.”

  68. @prosa123

    Good list prosa123. I get where you’re going now.

    I’d just say there are substitutes. For instance, i have a neighbor who golfs, had golfing buddies and the wives socialize as well. But agree with your list. Men should have some masculine interests and quality male friends or else most normal women will be uninterested.

  69. I would encourage sports parents consider NAIA colleges.I have 3 daughters getting almost all their college paid for through softball.I have a younger two i hope to get the same for.Now if your kid doesnt like sports its a waste of time but its been a blessing for our family!

  70. Thea says:

    Lori Laughlin should have just had her daughters actually join the rowing team. I know that was about admission not scholarships, but still.

    Most girls’ high school teams aren’t that competitive and accept walk-one except maybe basketball.

    While we are one the topic, high school cheerleaders have gotten obese. When I was in high school, cheerleading was reserved for the attractive and gumnastically trained with weekly weigh-ins.

    • Replies: @JR Ewing
    , @guest007
  71. But this assumes that genetics and physical attributes have anything to do with success.

    Certainly people are better at sports because of the social environment they grew up in, and most importantly the inequalities that historically undersporting populations suffer from?

    If you deleveled the playing field to admit more people who aren’t as likely to be represented in sports, the resulting diversity would clearly enrich us all.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  72. Mike Tre says:

    On topic:

    Former NBA player Adreian Payne shot dead in Orlando

    https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/10/sport/adreian-payne-dead-intl-spt/index.html

    No word on whether it was his twin brother that killed him.

  73. Danindc says:
    @Onginer

    Nothing better than the NCAA wrestling championships. The absolute baddest guys squaring off against each other. It’s so funny when a great wrestler loses bc they’re so flabbergasted they actually lost….me lose, not possible??

    Spot on about the younger brother aspect. I am youngest of 5 boys and was good athlete but should’ve been great but I lacked discipline work ethic.

    I’m anti Ex men and side with the girls but you make a good case and if it was more personal to me I’d likely agree w you. But as I see it, women’s athletics is good for society and keeps them off the pole so I’m for it.

    I’ll never forget when Howard University had to cancel their black baseball team (when there was an outcry against so few AA mlb players) due to title nine so they could start up a women’s bowling team. Yep, you heard that correctly, black women’s bowling. What a country.

  74. @Sfffhhjdss

    Sports and academics ought to have NOTHING TO DO WITH EACH OTHER.

    The American enthusiasm for college sports is a surprise to most of the rest of the world.

    Now there is some prestige if a University’s students of Law and Medicine can manage to field a decent football team; but how much prestige is there if the University accepts some students primarily for their sporting ability, to the extent that it must create less demanding courses to suit them?

  75. Hat Tip says:

    “As for where the ability to hit major league pitching comes from, who knows? It seems rather like a knack. Great all-around athletes like Michael Jordan and Tim Tebow couldn’t quite get the hang of hitting minor league pitching. ”

    Seems pretty clear that being at the top end of high-speed hand-eye coordination is the key to putting a bat on a ball that’s going 90 mph and maybe curving. Is that really a “knack”? If a guy’s perceptual acuity and processing is exceptionally sharp and fast, he doesn’t need to be physically built to win decathalons. For many it’s all just a blur. And that acuity/processing speed is a much different thing than the coordination to sink a free-throw or lead a wide-receiver with a throw.

    Anytime I went to a batting cage there were always some lumpy looking guys exercising/displaying their superior ability to hit the damn things off the high-speed machines. And lots of well-built high school kids — who could whip those guys in just about any other athletic challenge — who came nowhere near hitting the real fast pitch (often this was in front of their girlfriends, after the couples had drifted over from the mini-golf area).

    I remember a Padre, Greg Vaughn, who did visual perception exercises to try to improve his hitting. Not sure how much the genetic endowment in that area can be augmented by those kind of things — but pretty sure it’s still heavily a genetic aptitude.

  76. J.Ross says:
    @obwandiyag

    In the looming manufactured famine, there will be plenty of time for team sports. That’s not meant sarcastically. It will be like the Depression, and team sports were gigantic during the Depression.

  77. SafeNow says:

    A zillion years ago, when I swam in high school and in college, swim practice was one hour long. That seemed about right. I had time to study, and to socialize, and even had a job. I think an overwhelming majority of parents today would prefer something like this, for all sports; and their children secretly would too.

  78. But if Shohei Ohtani had an identical twin, they‘d be really good.

    Had Shohei an identical twin, he’d have the same pronoun as Shohei.

    In another chapter, he discusses the best businesses to be in to get rich—own a car dealership or a beer distributorship…

    This is how pro athletes survived in the off-season before salaries exploded. Dave McNally worked at the brewery owned by Jerry Hoffberger before Peter Seitz arranged for a better deal. It’s also what many retired to.

  79. @Return of Shawn

    I guess call me a bit of a pussy but after 8th grade baseball the main reason I decided to quit was because I was afraid of being hit by the baseball.

    If you had been raised in a cricket-playing nation, you would probably have quit a couple of grades earlier: the bowler is allowed to target the batsman’s body, and your legs are in front of the stumps as a matter of course. And every delivery ‘pitches’ (bounces) before it gets to you.

    (It’s why batsmen wear ridiculous, hard-to-run-while-wearing, pads).

    I was a pretty ‘windy’ kid (i.e., I was highly risk-averse) despite always been tall for my age, having quite good co-ordination and a really strong arm.

    When it came to cricket, I hated batting – even with pads, I was constantly worried that the ball (heavier and harder than a baseball) would hit my legs. So I would always ‘back away’ towards the leg-side, and rely on co-ordination to play off-side shots (between second and first base, for a righty playing baseball). I was a pretty shit batsman.

    Once I learned how to bowl slightly faster than a normal kiddie, I became quite a horrible person: I recognised the ‘backing away to leg’ when I saw it; knew the batsman was scared (like I was when batting); and ‘chased’ the batsman with every delivery – making sure that the ball pitched in such a way that it was always rising towards the batsman’s ribs or higher.

    Those were the days.

    • Replies: @Return of Shawn
  80. @Barnard

    I think keeping them busy is more of a justification for girls sports than boys sports. Also, girls college scholarships are more even distributed across the sports because you don’t have the black hole of 85 football scholarships to deal with.

  81. @Sfffhhjdss

    You are underestimating how much people are jock sniffers, especially those in charge of handing out lucrative jobs. The biggest immediate penalty that the Duke Lacrosse players had to face was losing their job offers from Wall Street that would be given immediately upon graduation. What does playing lacrosse have to do with high finance? Beats the hell out of me, but if you are a college varsity athlete, you are going to get hired over the average straight-A student. Sometimes the person doing the hiring is one of their teammates from the previous year!

    • Replies: @Barnard
  82. Alden says:
    @obwandiyag

    Steve’s readers are hard core bourgeoisie. We are totally focused on doing the best for our children. And that means college, which costs 20K to 50K a year except for the state colleges. Plus dorm fees books* etc. It may not be a concern for you. But for us it’s the major expense in our lives other than our houses. In fact, college for 2 kids can add up to more that the sum we paid for the house.

    * If you want a real shock, wander around a college bookstore and check out the prices of the textbooks.

  83. Alden says:
    @prosa123

    The problem with White men who like, talk about, and waste time watching football is that they are worshipping black men. And what decent White woman wants a White man who worships blacks?

    Are you attracted to a woman just because she wants to watch endless DVDs of feminine things like entire ballets and figure skating? Think about that

    I asked around and couldn’t find one woman who said she’d be attracted to a man because he liked football. First comes the attraction

    And then comes enduring football season.

  84. prosa123 says:
    @Paleo Liberal

    Rowing was and still is a popular sport at the college I attended. The resident assistant in my freshman dorm was a rower, and upon finding out that I had never played any organized sports tried to see if rowing might work for me. Unfortunately, at 5’10” I was simply too short for the main squad, and while there was a lightweight crew with rowers about my height there was no chance whatsoever that I could meet the weight limit. Rowing may be a fine sport but not everyone’s the right size.

  85. There are roughly 500 swimming institutions across all major divisions. The current average GPA is in the 3.1-3.15 range. Around 84% of all colleges that have swimming programs achieved the 3.0 range and given the numbers, surpassed the standard GPA. The averages per division broke down as follows: D1 Men – 3.37; D1 Women – 3.57; D2 Men – 3.3; D2 Women – 3.5; D3 Men – 3.38; D3 Women – 3.55; NAIA Men – 3.35; NAIA Women – 3.50. The lowest average among these levels, D2 Men at 3.3, is still a massive increase from the national average. Swimming, and sports in general, provides an incredible atmosphere for students to thrive. It creates a foundation for these incredibly high GPAs to grow.

    My long experience in the swimming world says it’s a good bet the college swim team has the highest average GPA comparative to other athletic teams on campus. Additionally, despite the time commitment of the sport, there’s a surprising percentage of pre-med, hard science and engineering majors in college swimming. Finally, swimming seems to be a family sport, many families have multiple siblings get some form of swimming scholarship. But yeah, high level teenage swimming is not cheap.
    https://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/the-pride-of-being-a-student-athlete-swimmer-edition/

    • Replies: @LP5
  86. slumber_j says:
    @Sfffhhjdss

    Yeah, but not the way most people actually play sports. I dig the Nietzcheanism tho bro. Congratz.

  87. loren says:

    the one link–to the left–I tried is

    nstructingleftism.wordpress.com is no longer available.
    This site has been archived or suspended for a violation of our Terms of Service.
    For more information and to contact us please read this support document.

  88. Rob says:

    Unless your kid is an actual prodigy, there is nothing serious he can really do in high school. He can work (if over 16(15?)) but he’ll only get hired for retail, and you probably don’t want him associating with the sort of young adults who work in retail. Plus, he could be really immature, steal something, and end up with a criminal record. Academic “clubs” are frequently not very serious. No one who needs a chemistry problem solved is going to take it to his local high school’s chemistry club.

    Sports give kids something they can understand that seems “real.” I think this is part of the appeal of adult major league sports. These are some of the few adult jobs that are legible to kids. It’s why autistic lolbertarians are dumb arguing that sports should allow performance-enhancing drugs. Parents don’t want their sons thinking, “so and so uses drugs to improve his baseball ability. I am so anxious it causes me problems. I’ll smoke some pot to improve my performance.”

    I thought the other day that maybe careers where employers want 130+ IQ have parts of the path that require people to function off very little sleep. Someone with a 110 IQ could handle the routine parts of the job, so they make people(temporarily) lose 20 points from sleep deprivation. Only people with 130 IQ or better can avoid washing out. Sports might do the same thing for colleges, but more healthfully for the kids. Almost any kid with tiger-mom parenting can get straight A’s by studying five hours a day. Colleges like athletes because the kids who can play sports three seasons every year and maintain an A average are actually smart.

    I wonder what the effects putting athletic girls in good schools will have on society. It’ll probably set more girls on the path to mud sharking, as athletes find each other. But better six-foot chicks than smart ones. It’ll probably hurt society, because smart women will take a few extra years to filter up, delaying their starting families. Will probably annoy lesbians, because “do you play softball?” will get a lot of false positives.

    • Agree: houston 1992
    • Replies: @Anon
  89. @guest007

    I could see being a long snapper for two years in big time college football would be a good memory, assuming you didn’t cost the team a game by snapping it over everybody’s head.

  90. @guest007

    Soccer in most of the world is a ruthless professional game that grinds up and spits out countless youth who sacrifice their education but don’t quite make it. Soccer in the US is a rather genteel game that Woodrow Wilson would have approved of.

    • Agree: Bardon Kaldian
  91. @Steve Sailer

    head injuries: admittedly the soccer ball of 2022 differs greatly from the balls of the 1970’s, but will soccer popularity survive the rising dementia scare ? Is it genteel enough ?

  92. @Danindc

    best, most confident athletes play baseball. Light years more difficult than any other sport.

    Mickey Lolich, the great Tiger of the 60’s and seventies is quoted as saying “I guess you could say that I’m the redemption of the fat man. A guy will be watching me on TV and see that I don’t look in any better shape than he is. ‘Hey, Maude,’ he’ll holler. ‘Get a load of this guy. And he’s a 20-game winner.’” – Mickey Lolich in Baseball Digest (Wayne Stewart, Colorful Quotes Have Always Been Part of Game’s History, June 1992)

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Danindc
  93. @guest007

    I’ve known a couple of people whose boys were approached to move to the US on soccer scholarships. Might have been a good idea but they had real prospects in the professional leagues and US university standards would be a big drop backwards and probably rule out a future in the game. A very different situation than someone with talent in athletics or basketball.

  94. @Return of Shawn

    I began to notice that high school pitchers threw hard, so going to to bat was scary.

    One of the parents on my son’s team told me the same thing. This dad said he dropped out of baseball at the high school level because the ball speed was becoming dangerous.
    I found that by the time my son was 14 or so I could no longer catch him because he was throwing too hard. One of the last times I caught him the ball hit the dirt and bounced up and broke my nose. I got mad and yelled “you broke my f###ing nose!” and we both started laughing.
    I had a lot of respect for my son standing at the plate and taking those pitches, sometimes getting hit, but always focused on getting on base.

  95. @jay ritchie

    I’ve known a couple of people whose boys were approached to move to the US on soccer scholarships. Might have been a good idea…

    …if they were more interested in their education than in professional sport.

  96. @prosa123

    “Women value conformity, and men who are into football are nothing if not conformist. Put differently, a man who doesn’t like the sport is a nonconformist, which women don’t like.”

    Is this really true? Women do tend to be more conformist, to go along to get along, but do they necessarily value that in their men?

    (I’d be really interested to see a survey of attitudes to the Ukrainian conflict split by sex. IMHO women are more likely to care deeply about what’s just been on TV news than men.)

  97. JR Ewing says:
    @Thea

    Because anyone who wants to be a cheerleader is allowed to be a cheerleader, even those who are unattractive and unathletic.

    Back in my day, the cheerleading squad was basically a side-gig for the best looking members of the gymnastics team. Nowadays, the gymnasts might make up the “A” squad and get the most high profile locations at the football game, but there will also be a “B” and even a “C” squad for everyone else. Nobody gets cut.

    • Replies: @Danindc
  98. @prime noticer

    “the demand for women playing sports far exceeds supply”

    Even in the UK, traditionally male sports clubs are only getting local authority funding (which comes from government) if they can be shown to be doing stuff to encourage women.

    All my kids were sporty, but the only one who played county cricket at junior level (the boys all trialled) was a daughter – who played U-13 at the age of 11, because they just couldn’t raise a team. There simply aren’t enough girls interested in having a hard ball thrown at them at speed (they have to wear breastplate-like armour).

  99. guest007 says:
    @Thea

    Everyone needs to remember that there are cheerleaders who make human pyramids and can do standing backflips and there were are the dance teams. The cheerleaders are look like gymnast due to the need for leg power and are usually short. The dance team is where the taller, more model looking girls go. Erin Andrews, sports sideline reporter, was on the dance team at the University of Florida.

    If one looks at the resume of the cheerleaders/dance team members at the biggest football schools, those cheerleaders have been taking gymnastics, dance, and cheerleading classes since they were five years old.

    At one time, the University of Oklahoma Athletic Department tried to put all of the cheerleaders on scholarship as a method for Title IX compliance. It was struck down by the NCAA and by the courts.

  100. guest007 says:
    @prime noticer

    Not true anymore. Since Title IX has been around since the 1970’s, there are many female athletes. The real difference is in the participation rates of black and Latino girls versus white and Asian girls. Women’s sports is much whiters than male sports due to the sexism in the black and Latino communities along with a much higher percentage of single moms.

  101. @SteeringWheelHolder

    “College” is just a way of delaying adulthood.

    In Victorian England your son was sent to a University to handle the awkward transition to adulthood. The “Year Abroad” served the same purpose Any mishaps were conducted in a relatively tightly controlled environment and could be handled discretely without word getting back to the peasants. They recognized that maturation is achieved in the early 20’s with with Trusts etc usually settling on the beneficiary at age 25 or so.
    The modern fad of both driving down the age of legal maturity and simultaneously socially infantalizing is doing kids no good at all.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
    • Replies: @prosa123
  102. BARRY J says:
    @prosa123

    One thing about pickleball is that you can have athletic 20 somethings be badly beaten by men their grandfathers age. Damn few sports where that can happen.

    • Replies: @prosa123
  103. Anon7 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I was actually looking for something about Ron and Don A., twin black guys about 6’4′, with whom I played local league basketball back in the day.

    Sure enough, there’s an article and a picture, because as high school students their senior year, their high school won the state class B track championship. I didn’t realize they had a brother, who looked a bit taller in the picture.

    It was less fun when our team would scrimmage and we’d play against each other. Naturally, for balance, Ron and Don would be on opposite teams, and as you might expect, they’d guard each other.

    Every single time, those two would get into some sort of argument, ostensibly about an infraction of the rules in the present, but eventually it would devolve into some sort of dispute that went back to childhood. We’d just have to wait it out.

  104. @Sollipsist

    Your push to get your fellow dwarves onto the UNZ Basketball team ain’t gonna fly.

    • Replies: @Sollipsist
  105. Barnard says:
    @ScarletNumber

    Nearly every banking and insurance person I have met in a customer contact role since working my current job has been a former college athlete. A lot of them are minor sports, I don’t think any played above the Division II level, but that is what they recruit for. Enterprise Rent-A-Car used to run ads during college football games touting how much of their workforce was former NCAA athletes.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    , @ScarletNumber
  106. guest007 says:
    @SteeringWheelHolder

    Women actually make better college students than men. More likely to enroll, more likely to finish, More likely to graduate with honors.

    When one realizes that medical school students are 50% female, that pharmacy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology graduate students are all 80% or more female, then one realizes that to many men have surrendered in the credentialism race. Of course, the surrender relfex is probably something many males learned playing a sport with much better opponents.

  107. prosa123 says:

    The best sport for a child to take up is what I call a sport for life, one that people can play and enjoy long after their high school and college days are over. Tennis, golf, running, swimming, weightlifting, hiking, hunting, fishing, these are just the ones that come to mind. You can enjoy these things well into old age if you want; sure, you’ll swim (for example) more slowly at 70 than you did at 20, but that’s fine. It’s the enjoyment rather than the competition that counts.

    Sadly, many sports are NOT sports for life, and they include many of our most popular ones. Football is the ultimate example. Unless you happen to be in the NFL your opportunities to play after college are basically nonexistent, with there being very few if any adult amateur or semipro leagues (flag football is not the same thing). Baseball is surprisingly difficult to play, unless you’re willing to make the transition to softball, and even adult softball leagues are not as common as they used to be. Lesser-known sports like lacrosse and rowing are mainly restricted to schools and colleges, except maybe in a few regions. In fact, of all team sports only soccer and basketball offer much in the way of adult leagues.

    • Agree: E. Rekshun
    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  108. Anon[182] • Disclaimer says:
    @Rob

    He can work (if over 16(15?)) but he’ll only get hired for retail, and you probably don’t want him associating with the sort of young adults who work in retail. Plus, he could be really immature, steal something, and end up with a criminal record.

    Very true. All through high school, Freshman through Senior year, I worked crummy part-time jobs for \$2 – \$3 per hour minimum wage – washing dishes, pumping gas, changing oil. Coworkers were older and all very rough. Jobs were so crummy and dangerous, that age 14 I got beat up and robbed, with a knife held to my neck, late one night as the only employee working at the neighborhood gas station. Could have ended very tragically. All so I could wast money on dirtbikes and fixing up cars. My parents should have discouraged me from working part-time jobs and encouraged me to focus on academics and extracurricular school activities.

    • Replies: @guest007
  109. Danindc says:
    @kaganovitch

    That’s a great quote. Looking at pics of Lolich the definition of fat sure has changed though.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  110. Danindc says:
    @JR Ewing

    Ahh yes, the Wrestlerettes

  111. @Kratoklastes

    Getting hit by a cricket ball doesn’t sound like fun, which I thought was what sports were supposed to be about. I’d much rather play kickball, ultimate frisbee, frisbee golf, soccer, that sort of thing.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  112. @prosa123

    Sadly, many sports are NOT sports for life, and they include many of our most popular ones. Football is the ultimate example. Unless you happen to be in the NFL your opportunities to play after college are basically nonexistent.

    In fact, of all team sports only soccer and basketball offer much in the way of adult leagues.

    That is one of the reasons for the popularity of soccer worldwide. Almost everyone has played it. Children fantasize about being soccer stars every time they play, and adults constantly relive the goals they scored as children, only transplanted to huge stadiums.

    My brother-in-law (a cop) was most disgruntled when he was relegated to the substitutes bench of his local soccer team at the age of 42, and replaced by a young player who he described as “absolutely useless”. That younger player was my nephew.

  113. @JimmyTeeBee

    As a father of three (a daughter, now 23, and two sons, 21 & 19), two of whom “chased” a lot of the AAU / high school basketball thing, for 6-7 years, I have to say … it was fun!

    Agree totally. You get your kids involved in sports for all the ancillary benefits, not for “pot of gold at the end of rainbow” scholarship.

    Sports keep kids out of trouble. Sports are particularly useful for the kid going through an ADHD cycle. It especially keeps girls away from boys at the ages when boys and girls mixing a little TOO much can be trouble.

    Sports gets them away from the phones and the screens and off the couch.

    The kids learn cameraderie. The learn about practice. They learn about their limitations as well as the limitations of others — and, if they are on a good team with potential stars, they learn about how those players are gifted, and they are not.

    I have a business client, owns a very successful mid-size engineering firm, and he makes a practice NEVER to hire anyone, from the folks in the office, to the senior execs, who have not played a team sport or done a true team activity where you are part of a whole. Doesn’t have to be D1 — high school is fine. College intramural is fine. Marching band is fine.

    But a nerd with a 4.0 GPA? He takes a pass.

    He’s right.

  114. @Return of Shawn

    Ok, you’re a bit of a pussy. Lol.

    Actually, that was the reasoning behind why I quit high school football. Aside from the fact that I just sucked from the get-go, I had this fear in the back of my mind that I might get hit and wind up breaking my neck and becoming paralyzed, if not killed.

  115. @jay ritchie

    Every year, hundreds of young players in the English soccer academies are released, never to get a sniff at the higher leagues. Some go into trades. Others play on teams in the bottom divisions or on town teams. Some go to college.

    Occasionally, some commit suicide.

    However, if you are a good student, and if you have a modicum of talent, you might be able to wrangle a scholarship at a US D1 school. You see a lot overseas players on D1 teams. They have typically had good training in their academy years.

  116. @Barnard

    Sounds like they believed the “Team Player” bullshit.
    I ran a Derivatives Desk and the day was a waterfall on pissing on your cow-orkers not building them up.

  117. prosa123 says:
    @BARRY J

    One thing about pickleball is that you can have athletic 20 somethings be badly beaten by men their grandfathers age. Damn few sports where that can happen.

    That’s wonderful!

  118. prosa123 says:
    @Bill Jones

    In Victorian England your son was sent to a University to handle the awkward transition to adulthood. The “Year Abroad” served the same purpose Any mishaps were conducted in a relatively tightly controlled environment and could be handled discretely without word getting back to the peasants.

    I have a pretty good idea what many of these “mishaps” involved, ha ha.

  119. guest007 says:
    @Anon

    In the pre-credentialism age, teenagers worked to pay for the insurance and gas for their cars. Why did they have cars? To drive themselves to work. It was a loop of logic. Of course, many teenagers used to see having their own car as a sign of independence. Now fewer teenagers have drivers licenses and a high school student can use Uber.

  120. @Bill Jones

    Actually I was thinking of football teams full of slow skinny guys who can’t throw. That’s something that everyone can enjoy.

  121. @Return of Shawn

    The tendency of core English ‘schoolboy’ sports (rugby, cricket, hockey) entailing genuine personal/bodily risk, might stem from them having such a key place in (boys’) boarding schools in the 19th century – although there is generally a “gentlemen’s agreement” that the participants won’t actually try to deliberately commit GBH on each other (even in rugby).

    So in cricket, the worst batsmen bat after position 7 in the batting ‘order’ (lineup) – they’re referred to as ‘tail-enders’, and collectively as ‘the tail’. They’re usually specialist bowlers, who historically spend very little time practising their batting.

    That really aimed, hostile bowling at them is frowned upon: there’s a real ‘tit for tat’ thing – where if a bowler doesn’t observe the conventions, the fast bowlers on the other side will ‘pepper’ the offender with hostile bowling when it’s his turn to bat (there’s no ‘designated hitter’ in cricket).

    It’s always open-season on the ‘specialist’ batsmen (1-6) and the wicketkeeper (usually #7), because it’s understood by all concerned that part of the batsman’s role is to be able to ‘deal with the short ball‘.

    For the really good batsman, predictable ‘short stuff’ invites the ‘hook’ or ‘pull’ shot, which tends to go over the fence if well-executed. A bit like if a baseball batter knows that every pitch is a fastball over the centre of the strike zone (but a pull or hook shot is much harder to execute than just swinging a baseball stick).

    But you’re right: at the age of between 8 and 10, each kiddie has to go through up to half a season of terror, until he works out how to ‘read’ the bowler’s intentions and develops the skills required… if he ever does. I never did, to any real extent.

    When I was in my early 30s I got talked into playing social cricket – our ‘think tank’ had an annual ‘hit and giggle’ game against another university, and we all got dragooned into playing.

    First thing I did was rent a bowling machine at a local indoor-cricket place, and spent about 40 hours over the course of two weeks, getting the thing to bowl kinda-random deliveries at me – a few hundred deliveries at my pads; a few hundred ‘short stuff’; a few hundred half-volleys; a few hundred ‘outside off’… with the ball pitching at different places during its trajectory.

    I did more batting practice in those two weeks, than I had done in my whole junior ‘career’.

    Turns out that batting practice is a good idea: the first time the ball thuds into your pads at ~100km/hr and it doesn’t hurt in the slightest, is revelatory. I wish I’d practised more as a kiddie.

    My guess is that baseballers experience a lot less terror than cricketers; after all, a baseball at-bat takes between 1 and ~10 pitches, whereas a cricket at-bat can take dozens, or even hundreds, of deliveries… and the pitcher in baseball will only deliberately target the batter very rarely, because it’s a guaranteed base for the batter.

    If you get hit in cricket, there’s no penalty to the bowler and the batsman has to face the next delivery.

  122. @Kratoklastes

    Being the batsman in cricket is rather like being the goalie in ice hockey.

  123. prosa123 says:
    @Kratoklastes

    The tendency of core English ‘schoolboy’ sports (rugby, cricket, hockey) entailing genuine personal/bodily risk, might stem from them having such a key place in (boys’) boarding schools in the 19th century – although there is generally a “gentlemen’s agreement” that the participants won’t actually try to deliberately commit GBH on each other (even in rugby).

    From what I understand of rugby, it’s not as violent as it may seem given its rules: only the ball carrier can be tackled, all tackles involve wrapping one’s arms around the ball carrier’s legs, and there’s no blocking. It’s a contact sport, but not a collision sport.

  124. @Danindc

    He was a little weird, but a good guy. Another Balkan roots athlete fwiw (Croat not Serb.)

  125. @Steve Sailer

    Many pro soccer players end their careers due to serious lesions to their spine, knees and hips that makes them essentially cripples. And while full on collisions in soccer are not as common as in American football, they are often worse because there is no padding or helmets involved. Concussions in pro soccer tend to be pretty severe.

    Diego Maradona, for instance, started to abuse cocaine not so much as a recreational drug, but because it gave him the energy to power through severe injury and pain and keep playing. Eventually, he got completely hooked on the feeling of having his synapsis bathed in huge amounts of dopamine. But he started not so much to have fun, but for professional reasons.

    In the whole World, pro soccer is considered a man’s man sport. Only in America it is considered some frufru endeavour for little girls. Rugby players, for instance, respect soccer players a lot more than American football players because soccer players wear no padding like they do. They think the body armor that American football requires of players something kinda sissy, since you are not going up against swords and spikes but just another man’s body. Men should not wear armor to face unarmed combat.

    • Agree: Bill Jones
  126. Anonymous[970] • Disclaimer says:

    Diego Maradona, for instance, started to abuse cocaine not so much as a recreational drug, but because it gave him the energy to power through severe injury and pain and keep playing. Eventually, he got completely hooked on the feeling of having his synapsis bathed in huge amounts of dopamine. But he started not so much to have fun, but for professional reasons.

    Yeah, that makes total sense. Completely believable. Marion Barry was the same way.

  127. @Kratoklastes

    Seems exaggerated to me. At the schoolboy and even at the club level, there are very few bowlers capable of bowling fast enough to bowl bouncers.

    I played cricket wearing glasses and never ever wore a helmet. I did once get hit in the mouth when playing for a club team in the Caribbean when I was about 40.

    However in this case I was trying to hit the ball for a boundary with a cross batted shot, and caught a top edge of the bat and the ball hit my mouth. Did cause some bleeding, but I was able to complete the match, and later had a few stitches put in at the local Emergency Room.

    For protective equipment we wore leg pads and padded gloves plus a hard “box” inside the jock strap.

    At the top class level players now wear hard helmets with facial grids, and body padding. But even in the 1960s and ’70s top level players like opening batsman Geoff Boycott played wearing glasses and no helmet.

    • Replies: @Kratoklastes
  128. @Kratoklastes

    I played Rugby for a few early adult years with guys my size and change and while noses were broken (none of them belonged to me) it was hard to say not accidentally- carelessness at worst. I played cricket as an adult for the first time after a 10 year gap and the first couple of overs were terrifying, it was not for me.

    I got my nose broken in Switzerland while waiting for the gondolier at Titlis, there’s a baby slope with a T-bar lift that a 6 year old Swiss girl managed to swing into my face. I thought then of the Rugby and smiled.

  129. Brutusale says:
    @Return of Shawn

    We really do live in the Gelded Age. Funny you should use that term in this context; old ballplayers call the modern armor that they wear to the plate “pussy gear”.

    Back in the 60s-70s, youth baseball was not nearly as controlled as it is now. As an obnoxious power hitter, I got thrown at on a regular basis. No big deal, it was a mark of respect. By the time I was 13, the location of the pitches thrown at me seemed to be moving up, so I had to take measures. After taking my base, I’d take off for second, start my slide late, and bust up whatever middle infielder was covering. As I usually outweighed ss/2B by about 50-60 pounds at the time, I caused more than a few limp offs. The umps knew what was going on and let it happen; as I said, it was a different time.

    Check out a few videos of Don Drysdale or Bob Gibson pitching back in the 60s. Batting in those days wasn’t for the faint of heart.

  130. LP5 says:
    @George Taylor

    Side note about college swimming.

    I took a swim class that ended before noon. Right after that, the pool was swarmed by coeds using kick boards, toning up those legs and butts. A few of us guys were visually stimulated to hang around and get in a few more laps.

    The coed strategy was to work on their assets than just go back to the sorority house to watch another soap opera. Gotta admire the discipline.

  131. J. says:

    Well done, I’ll have to look further into the book. The article definitely rings true though.

    Cindy McCain inherited one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in the country.

    Wayne Allen Root’s, Libertarian party presidential candiate etc., home-schooled daughter got a relatively free ride through Harvard due to her fencing prowess.

  132. @Barnard

    I believe those ads ran during the NCAA Basketball Tournament, but your overall point still holds

  133. @Jonathan Mason

    At the schoolboy and even at the club level, there are very few bowlers capable of bowling fast enough to bowl bouncers.

    If junior cricket was played on turf wickets, I would agree – it takes a great deal of skill by the groundsman (the man responsible for preparing the pitch) to get a pitch that’s hard enough to permit short-pitched bowling to be ‘bouncer’-height (i.e., at the neck or above).

    However most junior (and club) cricket in Australia was not played on turf wickets: the pitch surface was concrete.

    Uncovered concrete will rip a cricket ball apart quite quickly, so the concrete was covered either by a layer of hard-wearing green material (which was permanent) or by woven grass ‘matting’ (which was set up specifically for each match). Modern matting looks pretty great, but in my day they looked like Sisal floor matting that had reinforced edges with big steel eyelets through which tent-pegs were driven to hold the thing down.

    Those surfaces have much more favourable bounce characteristics – bounce a cricket ball on ‘club-level’ turf and it won’t come back far; bounce it on mats and it’ll be more like a tennis ball.

    Playing adult cricket on matting, fast bowlers have to pitch the ball much ‘fuller’ (closer to the batsman) for their ‘stock’ deliveries (ones designed to try to get the batsman out bowled, LBW, or caught).

    I wasn’t ever ‘quick’ (my fastest delivery as a youngster was clocked at 120km/hr during an Under-15 State Carnival), but I could deliver ‘chin music’ on matting-covered concrete. My younger brother (who was always taller and more athletic) could get a bouncer over the batsman’s head by the time he was playing under 12s (he was already 6’1″ by then) – again, on matting.

    Besides – it’s not necessary for the ball to get ‘above the shoulder’ (the definition of a ‘bouncer’) to be very frightening to young batsmen.

    Pitching the ball just short of half-way and getting it to rise into the chest or ribs, is more than enough to put the wind up most kids – especially if the bowler deliberately accounts for the (scared) batsman ‘backing away’ towards the leg side. My ‘thing’ as a bowler was more about variation – getting the ball to swing in the air, and ‘move’ off the seam – but on the odd occasion I would ‘dig one in’ and try to get it to jag up into the ribs.

    Thinking back to junior cricket (under 12s): there’s almost always at least one kid who can bowl reasonably fast. At club level, they’re everywhere – I played ‘C’ grade club cricket, and my brother played ‘A’ grade, and almost all teams had at least one period during the game where they could have fast, hostile bowlers from both ends.

    Australians of my age, recall that in 1984 Bob Hawke – then Prime Minister at the time, and a handy schoolboy cricketer – got a similar injury to yours when attempting a pull shot off a member of the Press Gallery during a social match…

    Fortunately I never played club cricket in the pre-helmet period. By the time I was playing under-15s, helmets were a ‘thing’ (the visors were a single piece of perspex, not the ‘grille’ like today).

    Like this one (Allan Border’s helmet from the 80s)…

    I would have been far too scared to play cricket without helmet, thigh-guard, chest guard, and arm guard. When I was going out to bat, I looked like the Michelin Man.

    Cricket balls are really fucking hard, and I’ve seen what they do to fingers (even through gloves), elbows, hip-points, and any other sticky-out bit that gets in the road. Bouncers aren’t required to terrify sensitive pre-teens.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  134. @Bardon Kaldian

    There’s a tail fin from a Junkers in the Australian War Memorial which has tagged at least 50 Allies flags shot down, it’s sad and glorious at the same time.

    Thanks for your recommendation, I’ve seen it recommended so many times, I damn well better read it this time!.

    May I recommend one to you?

    My past fellow blogger recommended this to me and it changed my life:

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/102305.The_Forgotten_Soldier

    We have Ozzie soldiers today on trial for war crimes in Afghanistan. Can you believe that?

    Urged to war and convicted for waging it.

    Such is life.

  135. @Kratoklastes

    Interesting, I did not know about the concrete pictures in Australia.

    In England we grew up playing cricket on grass pitches at schools, or in parks, or as kids we would play a lot with a tennis ball on a hard tennis court, or on a driveway, with the wickets painted on a garage door.

    Perhaps your history explains why Australia has outclassed England at international level cricket for many years.

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