Thankful for Youth Sports

By Brian Gotta, President of CoachDeck

We all know the adage, “You never appreciate something until you lose it.” Boy, did we lose a lot last year. Thanksgiving 2020 was not the most joyous we’ve ever experienced – far from it. But here we are twelve months later heading into the holiday with a much brighter outlook. And as we count our many blessings, there is one I’d remind you to include.

Those of us in good health should remember that not everyone is so lucky. We, who have loved ones, might want to consider those alone. If we have a place we call home, let’s not take it for granted. If we pull up chairs to a wonderful feast in a few days, think of those who are hungry. And many of us who have incomes may now have a better appreciation for what it would be like without.

But high up on my list of things for which to be thankful, is the return of youth sports.

Kids need to play sports, they always have. And organized youth sports have never been more important.

Those of us who are of a certain age can remember the days when playing sports didn’t require a uniform. Or a coach. Or a league. Or a car ride. I can remember coming home from school, getting on the phone and calling every friend I had and telling them where we were meeting, then playing a pick-up game of football or some other sport until it got dark. There was no parental supervision.

These days, for a variety of reasons, scenes like these are fewer and fewer. Parents are, rightly, concerned about unsupervised kids’ safety. And the explosion of youth sports, while mostly positive, has also meant that more children are playing on organized teams with adult coaches. Sadly, it also means that some kids who would like to play but do not have the financial means are now getting left out.

When sports went away, everyone knew what it was like to be left out. And now that youth sports are back, we should be extremely appreciative of something we took for granted in the past. Thankful, not only, that they are back in full swing, but that our children have the opportunity to participate when others don’t.

And the best way to show that appreciation is to get involved. I know some of us are still struggling to get back on our feet after last year and there is no spare time or money. Just finding a way for your child to participate is enough. But if you do have the ability, your team or league can use you. There are a variety of ways you can help, and many are relatively easy, quick, and free.

Nearly everyone reading this has something to be thankful for. Most can be grateful on many fronts. I know I can. And among those is that kids are back out there, running back and forth, trying to score, learning to win, learning to lose – and having fun again.

Brian Gotta is a former professional youth baseball coach and current volunteer Little League coach and board member. He is the President of CoachDeck and also author of four youth sports novels which can be found at He can be reached at

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