sports equal…supporting kids choice

We are excited to introduce our newest board member and champion, Nick Swisher, former MLB ALL Star and World Series Champion. Nick’s enthusiasm and experience as an athlete, parent, and coach will bring a unique perspective to our team and our mission of supporting kids’ choice and multi-sport athletes.

Nick is determined to make sure kids are playing sports for the love of the game and not because of parental pressure or a desire to become a professional athlete. “We need to alter how we are coaching and teaching the younger generation and make sure they are playing many different sports. They may be good at one sport, but if that’s all he or she tries, they might not realize that they are amazing at something else. I don’t care how good a kid is in 6th grade..they need to keep playing other sports. When I’m evaluating athletes, I rarely look at statistics, especially for younger kids. They mean nothing. I like to look at how young athletes move, how they compete, and then consider their overall potential. Playing multiple sports gives kids a chance at developing skills they might not gain from specializing in one sport. In turn that helps them become all around athletes! The key is to make sure a kid has a passion for whatever they’re doing; sometimes playing one sport can lead to an early burnout.”

Playing soccer, basketball, and baseball through his childhood, Nick was a multi-sport athlete who also gave football a try his freshman and sophomore years. He fell in love with the game. “Friday night lights in Parkersburg, WW were amazing! The whole town shut down for our games! ! I loved football, I loved the action, but after my first football recruiting trip my senior year, I quickly realized that as much as I loved football, maybe this was not the right sport for me. Those guys are huge! And that’s when my baseball career really started to take form.” Nick went on to play for The Ohio State University before being drafted in the 1st round into the MLB in 2002. Nick attributes his success to his work ethic and innate competitiveness, and worries that most young kids and their parents don’t understand how much work it takes to become a professional athlete. “All those salaries look good in USA Today but not many know the emotional and physical ups and downs that go into being a professional athlete. 0.05% of all athletes make it to the professional level. So if those are the numbers, why are we not teaching our youth to love the sports they play and enjoy every second of it, because according to the numbers, 75% of all athletes stop playing sports by the time they are 13.”

Nick, a father of two girls, had a moment of realization while coaching his daughters’ T-ball games. His girls might not share his passion for the sport. “I was driving home from one of our games, about three Saturdays into the season, when Emme said to me, “DaDa, I don’t like baseball the way you like baseball. And that’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks. I needed to start paying attention to what my kid wanted to do instead of what I wanted her to do. I needed to support her in the things SHE wanted. And that’s exactly what I did! She has since turned into an amazing equestrian and over the past couple years I noticed the confidence she has gained by making her own choices instead of being forced to pursue what I love. That’s our role as parents, to support our kids in anything they do and not try to live through them. I am doing my best to raise two little bad-ass, strong, independent girls who can stand on their own two feet! I have come to the conclusion that whatever their passions in life are, I want them to know Daddy will be standing right behind them the whole time!”

So, why did Nick choose to support Every Kid Sports? “I’m a teammate. I invest in people, not products. I won a championship as a team, and that’s exactly what I expect to do with Every Kid Sports! I am committed to supporting this mission of making sure kids have an opportunity to play sports, because if I didn’t have sports in my life I’m not sure where I would be today! The camaraderie, the feeling of being something bigger than yourself is amazing! It’s important to me and I’m ready to help in any way I can.”

Thank you, Nick, for your passion and support. We are thrilled to welcome you on our board.

– The Every Kid Sports team