I came across an interesting document discussing sports in America, more specifically, who does and does not play them.
A majority of adults played sports when they were younger, but most do not play anymore. While only one in four adults (25%) currently play sports, almost three in four adults (73%) aged 30+ played sports when they were younger.
I think the reasons for the drop off are fairly obvious: the work/life balance is hard to accomplish, especially for adults with children who often put the kiddos' recreational activities ahead of their own.
Researchers also point out interesting relationships concerning the economic disparities between low-income and moderate-income adults, as well as the existence of an adult gender gap that did not exist at younger ages. Most interestingly, they discuss the amount of hope parents have for their children (not the other way around) to become professional athletes and how it relates to parental income and education.
Despite the difficult odds, many parents hope their child will become a professional athlete. More than one in four parents (26%) whose high school aged child plays sports hope their child will become a professional athlete, and these views vary by socioeconomic status. Parents with household incomes of less than $50,000 a year are significantly more likely to say they hope their child will become a professional athlete compared to parents with household incomes of $50,000 or more a year (39% to 20%). In addition, parents with less education (graduated high school or less) with a high school aged child playing sports are more likely to say they hope their child will become a professional athlete (44%) than parents who graduated college (9%).
I personally am still holding out hope that I will be drafted to the NHL, though my coworkers assure me that I may have missed my opportunity by about 25 years.
The results of this polling are interesting, and I encourage everyone to think about your personal participation as a kid compared to your participation now. Do you currently take part in sports as an adult? Softball leagues, soccer, hockey, anything? Let me know!