Thursday, August 28, 2014


We spent quite a bit of time the last two weeks watching the Little League World Series, which I've never done before.

If you turned 13 before May 1 of this year, you were too old to play. So, at most, the oldest kids in the LLWS were three months older than Eli.

The kids were huge.

Not all of them, but it was incredible how many of them were 5'8", 150 or bigger. One kid was 6'2".

Eli is 5' 6 1/2", and weighs 105 pounds. He's in the 95th percentile for height.  There were dozens of kids who absolutely dwarfed him--at least five or six on each team. And tons of kids weighed over 150 pounds.

It was men against boys, in many cases.

That made me think about youth sports, then sports in general, and how size-dependent it's become. To have a chance at becoming great in a sport, in most cases you must fit inside a certain size profile.

In Eli's case, to fit the size profile of an NHL goalie (I know--preposterous--but I'm never betting against him in anything), he needs to be at least 6'1" and 190 pounds. The average NHL goalie today is 6'2", 198 lbs. It's fine to be taller than that--good, even--but being more than an inch or two shorter is a huge liability, and it will significantly affect a scout's interest, no matter the skill of the goalie.

Fortunately for Eli, if his doctor is right, he'll be about 6'3". With his feet already size 12s, and his hands already as big as mine, his size is going to be part of his potential. But I think about those other kids who have worked so hard and are going to be 5'8" as adults, or even 5'10".

That's why trying to understand who has the most potential is so difficult in the adolescent years. Some kids grow early, then stop. Then there are kids who are just too small, but have huge growth spurts later.

For a kid, it's not easy.

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