Monday, December 10, 2007


I understand that there are many things about parenthood I do not understand. Many things. Like everyone else, I want the best for my child. I want him to have "every advantage" et cetera, et cetera. Still, I think people are crazy.

This weekend the New York Times ran a story about the surging interest in the game of squash among high school-aged kids, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. You know squash. Niles and Frasier Crane played it. You can see why kids in Connecticut would be into it, right?

It turns out that squash is played on a varsity level by essentially all of the Ivy League, as well as other fancy pants schools, like Kenyon College. They may not give atheletic scholarships, but they do recruit people to play on their teams. Even their squash teams. It also turns out that squash is so reletively little-played in the United States that a kid who starts playing squash in 9th grade, and who is pretty atheletic, can be nationally ranked by the time they are applying to go to the Ivy League schools, or fancy pants schools like Kenyon College. So, squash is a smart hobby.

This is hardly the worst story I've read about people working to get their kids into elite schools. However, I am stunned by the process of poring over the life of an elite university, looking for the weakest recruiting link, and launching your child on a path to be the perfect candidate for that niche. I know that it is "smart" but it feels kind of disgusting. I guess it is undeniable that there are vast benefits to be had from attending an elite school. Still, something seems wrong with it.


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