January 03, 2019

LFYAA Cricket Turns Back the Clock on the High Cost of Youth Sports

Linthicum Ferndale Youth Athletic Association Cricket knows that youth sports have become very costly, and that many children today don’t get to play as a result. 

According to a study released by the Aspen Institute last year, only 37% of American children participate in team sports. This problem is exacerbated among families earning less than $50,000 per year, with less than half having their children in team sports, and over a quarter reporting that their children play no sports of any kind. 

At the same time, internet usage among children has skyrocketed, with 64% of children now online multiple times each day. Children in the United States, especially those from less affluent families, are increasingly at risk of leading unhealthy, inactive lifestyles that can carry into adulthood. 

Another worrying trend is the pressure many children feel toward sport specialization. The report notes that most children play only one, or perhaps two sports. To reduce the risk of overuse injuries and to develop more well-rounded athletes, sport sampling is now highly encouraged. In the report, USA Swimming Chief Marketing Officer Matt Farrell said, “We’re telling people it’s OK to do other sports. We know that even within our sport, not everyone is going to agree with that. But it’s a real philosophical shift, and we think it’s the best long-term view.”

Linthicum Ferndale Youth Athletic Association Cricket has decided to take on these issues by creating the first-ever “little league” style local cricket league in the United States, at the lowest possible cost to area families.

Since 2014, cricket has been played at LFYAA by hundreds of children, but the teams have been compelled to travel outside of the county for away games, some during the workweek, which was simply impossible for many parents. In 2019, LFYAA will launch a six-a-side intramural league, which will play at Overlook Elementary School on weeknights and Saturdays, with games being completed in about an hour. Because each team will only have six players, there will be maximum involvement for each child.

In addition, for those players who wish to compete at a higher level, LFYAA will offer two state travel teams this year, one in the 11U age group and one in the 12U age group. (To encourage girls to try the sport, state rules allow girls to play for state travel teams at two years above the age group. For example, a 13 year-old girl may play on a state 11U travel side.)

And the best news is that all of this, including participation on a state travel team, is being offered for just $50 for the entire season. Uniforms and all equipment is included, so there will be no additional costs for families.

LFYAA Cricket thanks its corporate partners (https://www.lfyaacricket.org/sponsors) for making this revolution in youth sports possible.

For registration information, go to lfyaacricket.org/registration

For questions, contact LFYAA Cricket Commissioner Jamie Harrison at jharrison@mdyouthcricket.org.