Bryce Harper—noooooooooooooooooooo

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Just found out that Bryce Harper, the 16-year-old baseball phenom who was recently on Sports Illustrated’s cover, will be skipping his last two years of high school.

Wait—I just vomited. Let me write that again …

Just found out that Bryce Harper, the 16-year-old baseball phenom who was recently on Sports Illustrated’s cover, will be skipping his last two years of high school.

I wish I were making this up. Really, I do. But here’s the story, straight from SI.com. I, for one, am psyched!

Let’s be honest here—why should Bryce Harper attend his final two years of high school, when he can be adding a couple of seasons to what promises to be a professional career chock full of cliches, yawns, repetition, brainlessness and Hooters visits? The sooner Harper arrives at his first professional stop, the sooner he can stop using his brain for such trivial pursuits as, say, math and English. Instead of attending his senior prom, he can attend $1 beer nights at Thee Doll House in Tampa (or Miami. There are two!). Instead of maturing alongside his peers and with the help of teachers, he can mature alongside this guy, with the help of a manager.

Great!

Seriously, will someone please tell me what Ron Harper, Bryce’s father, is doing? I understand there’s big money to be made. I understand your kid loves baseball. I understand that guys like Kobe and LeBron and K.G. provide glimmering examples of this sort of thing working out. I just don’t get what the rush is; why you need to rob your kid of his golden, once-it’s-gone-you-never-get-it-back youth in order to add more time to his not-nearly-as-exciting-as-you’d-think professional baseball career. If Harper is good enough, he’ll be drafted very high out of high school, and then he can go on to a long and successful run of professional bliss. But to do this to the kid … to make this sort of decision, well, it doesn’t merely reek of bad judgement.

It reeks of Gary Coleman V. his parents.

Because the complaint has been repeated so often, we tend to poo-poo it when people talk about society losing its perspective, RE: sports. But it’s true—we’ve gone absolutely, positively crazy. Every parent wants his kids to achieve college sports scholarships. Every Little League coach is harassed by some idiot dad demanding to know why Junior isn’t starting at short. There’s this perverse idea that, if one becomes a professional athlete, it means life will be blissful and dazzling and, frankly, perfect.

Well, I’ve seen that life up close. Yes, the money is good, and the perks are nice. But it’s a profession I pray neither of my kids pursue. The sports world frowns upon curiosity and free-thought. You are a robot—show up at 2, lift at 3, run at 4, stretch at 4:30, etc … etc. Yes, you might get to travel to Rome or Athens or Moscow or Paris, but 99% of that time is spent in a hotel room. Or on a court. Or a field.

Personally, I want my kids to crave life; to see everything, experience everything; try this; try that. Athletes rarely follow such a path.

They’re too busy being, well, athletes.

9 thoughts on “Bryce Harper—noooooooooooooooooooo”

  1. None of those over zealous sports parents can do math, because if they could, they’d know the chances of becoming a pro athlete (or even earning a division 1 scholarship) are way less than becoming a successful doctor, lawyer, or politician. Besides, you can work extra hard to get through law school, but there’s very little you can do to make yourself 6’10” or to improve your fastball from 85mph to 95 mph.

    And for every guy making that nice living in the majors, there are a hundred who get a cup of coffee and are tossed aside, a thousand who work in the minors for $12k a year until they give up the dream at age thirty, and 100,000 who got up at 6am this morning to work a construction job or drive a bread truck, wishing they had gotten an education.

  2. Why haven’t you written about the many 16-year old kids from Latin American countries who sign minor league contracts every year?

  3. Good for Bryce Harper. Now is the time to do these things, while he is young and in peak condition with his body. If he wants to attend college later in life, the millions he will earn throughout his career will allow him to do so.

    What is the problem here?

  4. Hard call. I’d like to say I would make the choice of going to school and enjoying life—even thought I hated high school—but the opportunity might be too much to pass up. The money would set him up for life, and the opportunity to play in Yankee Stadium or Wrigley Field, and to see all the cities in America. I don’t know…tough call really.

  5. Harper will be 17 next october so in most states he would be entering his senior season.

    Harper won’t be entering the draft until next june when there will be many high school seniors his age.

    By the time he enter the draft he will be just about the same age as all the high school seniors entering the draft.

    Harper will be playing with wood and far better competition next year than high school ball. Also the coaching will be better.

  6. “Because the complaint has been repeated so often, we tend to poo-poo it when people talk about society losing its perspective, RE: sports. But it’s true—we’ve gone absolutely, positively crazy. Every parent wants his kids to achieve college sports scholarships. Every Little League coach is harassed by some idiot dad demanding to know why Junior isn’t starting at short. There’s this perverse idea that, if one becomes a professional athlete, it means life will be blissful and dazzling and, frankly, perfect.

    Well, I’ve seen that life up close. Yes, the money is good, and the perks are nice. But it’s a profession I pray neither of my kids pursue. The sports world frowns upon curiosity and free-thought. You are a robot—show up at 2, lift at 3, run at 4, stretch at 4:30, etc … etc. Yes, you might get to travel to Rome or Athens or Moscow or Paris, but 99% of that time is spent in a hotel room. Or on a court. Or a field.

    Personally, I want my kids to crave life; to see everything, experience everything; try this; try that. Athletes rarely follow such a path.

    They’re too busy being, well, athletes.”

    If you hate athletes so much, why do you write about them?

  7. You guys are funny. If you read the article, you would see this kid has a PASSION for the game. He wants to be the best ever, and with head as level as it seems, I don’t think anything can stop him. I think he is too smart to end up like Josh Hamilton and waste a few years of his life. And baseball is played 6 months out of the year – he’ll have plenty of time to crave life, and still be a world-class athelete.

  8. This guy is making a HUGE mistake! I’m a sophomore in high school and if I tried to pull a stunt like this, I wouldn’t live long enough to see any MLB Draft. I don’t have a problem with him having a passion for the game and he’s obviously really good, but the message our parents should be teaching us is ‘education first.’ The adults in this situation are handling this the wrong way.

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