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The Most Expensive Game in Town: The Rising Cost of Youth Sports and the Toll on Today's Families

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"Building on the eye-opening investigation into the damaging effects of the ultra-competitive culture of youth sports in his previous book Until It Hurts, Mark Hyman's new book takes a look at the business of youth sports, how it has changed, and how it is affecting young Americans. Examining the youth sports economy from many sides -- the major corporations, small entrepreneurs, coaches, parents and, of course, kids -- Hyman probes the reasons for rapid changes in what gets bought and sold in this lucrative marketplace. Just participating in youth sports can be expensive. Among the costs are league fees, equipment, and perhaps private lessons with a professional coach. With nearly 50 million kids playing organized sports each year, it is easy to see how profitable this market can be. Hyman takes us to tournaments sponsored by Nike, Gatorade and other big businesses, he talks to parents who sacrifice their vacations and savings to get their (sometimes reluctant) junior stars to these far off, expensive venues for a chance to shine. He introduces us to videos purporting to teach six-month-old babies to kick a ball, to professional athletes who will "coach" an eight year old for a hefty fee, to a town which has literally staked its future on preteen sports. Through extensive interviews and original reporting, The Most Expensive Game in Town explains the causes and effects of the commercialization of youth sports, changes the author argues are distorting and diminishing family life. He closes with strong examples of individuals and communities bucking this destructive trend"-- Hide synopsis

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