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13 scariest words: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help (organize youth sports programs)
PERSPECTIVE
football
Dwight Eisenhower kicking the football in 1912 for the West Point Military Academy team.

America’s favorite pastime?

It’s no longer baseball.

It’s creating new government bureaucracies.

And the latest proposal may make you cry foul.

The minions serving on an Olympics commission created by Congress in 2020 have come up with a humdinger.

(Spoiler alert: Between people like Babe Ruth, Pop Warner, and countless youth sports volunteers that have passed on turning over in their graves, this idea could trigger an 8.0 earthquake if it gets traction.)

What could be so earth shattering?

The bureaucrats want to nationalize youth sports.

They didn’t exactly say that, but given their suggestions it’s about as likely to happen as the Oakland A’s not making to the World Series this year.

The special commission wants Congress to form the “Office of Sports & Fitness.”

This isn’t a modern day version of John F. Kennedy’s physical fitness challenge.

The commission’s goal is to see a federal bureaucracy formed that would be in charge of “coordinating and developing youth and grassroots sports.”

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, the commission offered a glimpse of what could happen in their report.

The new agency would oversee a competitive grant program using federal tax dollars to fund youth sports.

Of course, there would be strings attached.

The grants will allow the fine folks back in DC who stay fit by juggling paperwork to set “minimum safety safeguards and leading practices.”

“Leading practices” apparently is bureaucratese for “coaching.”

It’s just what America needs.

Federal bureaucrats micromanaging coaches.

But wait, there’s more.

The commission advocates the establishment of a national scholarship program aimed at helping students pursue coaching careers.

They would either be outright grants or low-interest loans.

So you understand how the bureaucracy is running amok, the national physician shortage is so acute that the Veterans Administration is struggling to staff its new hospital in French Camp.

That said, there is no national concerted push for outright grants or low-interest loans per se to lure more students into medical doctor careers.

It gets worse.

The commission — in the name of improving equity — recommends creating new tax deductions for parents.

To quote the commission, they want to establish deductions of “program fees, the cost of necessary equipment, and funds spent on travel to competitors” that are related to youth sports.

Of course, such tax deductions only benefit those that are well-heeled enough they can itemize their federal taxes.

One would assume the very low-income could get federal grants so they can have equal access to elite youth sports teams that travel to play.

That would leave those in the middle riding the pine while picking up the tab.

If you think that recommendation was way out in left field, there’s another curve ball.

They suggest the federal government allow the use of pre-tax funds in health savings accounts to cover the cost of “recreational-league signup fees or a dependent child’s sports equipment.”

Apparently, the healthcare funding crisis has been resolved to the point we can divert money exempt from taxation for basic medical needs to pay for $15,000 aero-dynamic titanium racing bicycles for junior riders training to one day compete in the Olympics or the Tour de France.

You may ask yourself what got the ball rolling in the first place for Congress to create an “Olympic commission?”

It was the case of Larry Nasser, the doctor for USA Gymnastics.

Nasser received a 175-year prison term after 150 women and girls came forward indicating they had been sexual abused over the course of two decades.

That fact alone should make someone in Congress call for a timeout and ask the heck what is going on.

The commission was formed specifically to examine the United States Olympic system and propose reforms to work at eliminating such abuse from happening again.

One would think that would center around creating an effective and safe reporting protocol as well as doing thorough background checks and such as implemented in states like California before any adult can be part of established programs involving youth.

As far as developing competitive Olympians being a priority of Congress, what’s the need or even national embarrassment?

The United States doesn’t exactly have a dearth of athletes capable of medaling in the Olympics.

Addressing competitiveness wasn’t the direction Congress gave the commission.

But like all federal endeavors entrusted with bureaucrats, it took a life of its own and ventured way out of its lane.

Avoiding the federal overseers anointed to regulate and foster grassroots sports is simple, right?

Little Leagues et al don’t have to apply for federal grants.

But given the struggle of raising funds, the temptation will be there.

And once a federal Office of Sports & Fitness gets well enough established and extends its tentacles into every community, don’t think the squeeze won’t come.

The proposed bureaucracy may not have the direct power to do so, but if the career government overlords of such an agency decides something like youth contact football has to go, you’d be naive to believe it couldn’t happen.

Such a sports bureaucracy would have the complete arsenal of federal regulations and orders behind them.

It may not outlaw youth contact football per se.

But they could clearly use the fact a city or school receives even a penny in federal funding to come up with bureaucratic regulations barring local government concerns that accept money from Uncle Sam from allowing their facilities to be used for sports programs that are out of federal favor.

Perhaps if a three-year starting varsity football guard for the Eureka College Golden Tornadoes were around today, he might say the 13 scariest words in the English Language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help organize youth sports programs.”               

This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com