I don't think there's anything wrong with pushing children to be their best and excel to the best of their abilities, whether it's in sports, academics, or anything else they attempt to do in life. I definitely embrace more of a play-to-win than just-go-out-and-have-fun mentality, though I think the two can definitely be married and I strive to impart that to my children. But using genetic testing to determine which sports a child will be best at goes so far beyond a competitive spirit, it's almost criminal.
The Washington Post highlighted two companies that offer DNA scan services that supposedly tell you in which sports your child will excel. That way, you don't waste time letting them explore their own interests or what they're drawn to naturally; you steer them to those activities in which they'll be the best. How messed up is that?
Oh, the companies spin a lot of nonsense about the tests really being to prevent injury and scan for things like heart problems, but there are few people who are going to cough up the cash for that. Those who will? Uber-intense parents who are determined to raise super athletes; parents looking to find a way to pay their kid's college tuition; and parents who will do anything to push (which is different than encourage and support) their children to the top.
And what of the human spirit, perseverance, and old-fashioned hard work and determination? That is what sports are about, not just being a human machine who happens to be wired for a certain sport. Think of the lost opportunities these tests could cause when children are essentially made to give up something they like, because they're not going to be good at it anyway.
All that aside, there's little evidence these tests even work, which, if there weren't children involved, would serve these parents right. As it is now, it seems the only people to benefit from such DNA testing are the companies raking in the bucks selling them.
Would you ever consider DNA testing for your child to see which sports they'd be best at?
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