Athletic Scholarships and the Politics of Child Rearing in Canada

  • Noel Dyck Simon Fraser University
Keywords: community sports, childrearing, athletic scholarship, Canada


Organized competitive community sports for children and youth have become popular activities in contemporary Canadian society and are eagerly supported by many parents who view these as socially appropriate pastimes for sons and daughters. Children’s achievement of athletic success tends to be viewed by many parents as a sign of their relative preparedness to confront and manage the future social and economic challenges of adulthood. Athletic success at different levels is also taken to demonstrate the adequacy of parents’ attempts to attend appropriately to the responsibilities of child rearing. This essay examines the particular attractions provided by the possibility of athletically accomplished children eventually winning paid athletic scholarships to attend colleges and universities in the United States. The paper asks why so many middle-class parents who are able to afford the cost of underwriting post-secondary education for sons and daughters nonetheless commit so much of their own time and resources, not to mention those of their children, to the pursuit of athletic scholarships in the USA.