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are travel and elite sports ruining our kids? EDIT** in red

Posted by Anonymous   + Show Post

Do your kids play travel or elite sports? Do they play a year round sport before the age of 15?

I hear parents all the time commenting about their 9 or 10 year old playing these special forms of sports. Its often said to separate their child from those "other" kids who play (gasp) rec sports.

It makes me wonder about the pedistal some parents have put their kids on. These kids are generally the best, or in the top 5 of their limited group of classmates and fellow team mates. Typically these kids are on the older sude and bigger side of their age group. So lets face it, they shoul be better than the younger smaller kids. So what happens to these kids when their age group catches up? How will these "special" kids feel when theyare no longer so special?

I dont know if anyone else here watched the little league world series, but it was something that had my kids on the edge of their seat. And why wouldnt it here were 12yo boys hitting home runs and stealing bases like the pros.....well not really right? They were really 12yo boys playing on a field that mist 9yos are starting to out grow. Yet espn was covering this event as if it were a major league event. Toting these kids as the best of the best. As if america couldnt see through that...i hope. What do you think will happen to those boys when they have to go back to their home towns and try out for their highschool teams on real sized feilds? Have their patentsputting them on this pedistal hurt them?

Wow this kind of went of on a rant....and yeah i know my typing sucks, but imon a phone.

So what is your opinion on this new wave of elite sports?t.


So I was curious this moning to see what others thought about this subject, so I took my questions to google.

Seems not not the only one with these opinions. I read this...and man I could have written this!

http://www.leaguelineup.com/bbr/files/Elite%20Teams%20a%20money%20making%20Paramid%20Scheme.pdf


By Tim Keown 

ESPN.com 

Who really is invested in elite youth sports teams? Is it the kids or their parents? 

Your kid is good, right? Really good? You don't want to brag, but he can do some things on the field that 

other kids his age won't even try. You played a little ball yourself, and you know the difference. 

Make no mistake: There's someone out there for you. He's putting together a team, and he's got a 

pipeline to the best tournaments. He knows people. He'll have tryouts and he'll tell you what you want to 

hear. It's expensive, sure, but who can put a price on your kid's future? If he's got a chance to be the 

best, he needs to play with and against the best, right? 

Judging by the direction we're taking preteen youth sports, it appears we have completely lost our minds. 

Gone crazy -- collectively and individually. It's become something of a hobby for me to read the local 

sports coverage of the three or four sub-20,000 circulation papers in my area, and I am here to report 

that the center cannot hold. 

The days of simply playing ball with your friends is over. It's a different world out there for the preteen 

athlete, with "Elite" and "Select" commonly turning up in the names of our youth sports teams and 

leagues. We're having tryouts for 10-and-under traveling baseball teams, and we've got 10-and-under 

basketball teams traveling the country playing against other fourth-graders at God knows what cost to 

the parents' bank accounts and the kids' psyches. All in the name of … what? Trophies? Exposure? A 

leg up on a college scholarship? The egos of the parents? 

The exploits of these kids, which almost always include tournament championships, national rankings 

from some little-known organization and perspective-free quotes from the coaches, are dutifully and 

breathlessly reported. If you didn't know any better, you'd think the 9- and 10-year-olds in my neck of the 

woods are the most remarkable 9- and 10-year-olds anywhere. But then you could probably say the 

same about yours. You just have to know where to look. 

I found a great nugget the other day: a notice for a 10-and-under baseball team that's having tryouts for 

its extensive fall tournament schedule. The notice included the following sentence: "The team needs 

competitive youngsters who are looking to play baseball at the next level." 


Let's parse that for a moment. Someone needs to explain to me what the "next level" is for a kid who's 10 

or younger. I dare you to define it. Is it 11-and-under? Maybe 12-and-under? And if so, are there really 

10-year-olds who are striving to play baseball at the 12-and-under level? Wouldn't it just happen naturally 

-- you know, with age? 

If you think that, you're behind the times. This is the age of the special child. This is the age of the parent 

who believes his or her kid playing Little League for the neighborhood team is beneath them both. 

(Despite the talent you see at the Little League World Series, make no mistake: Little League has 

suffered enormously at the hands of the folks who peddle dreams to the parents of the preteen set. Local 

independent teams -- most of them touting the supposed benefits of year-round play -- skim top players 

out of neighborhood Little Leagues.) This is the age of the youth-sports industrial complex, where men 

make a living putting on tournaments for 7-year-olds, and parents subject their children to tryouts and 

pay good money for the right to enter into it. 


There are palaces built just for the purpose of housing these tournaments. Big League Dreams is a chain 

of West Coast baseball complexes with multiple diamonds that attempts to replicate different big league 

ballparks. There's a bunch of 10-year-olds playing in Fenway, the 12s in Yankee Stadium and the 13s in 

Wrigley Field. (You haven't really lived until you've seen Wrigley's ivy-covered wall painted onto slabs of 

plywood. There are times you have to pinch yourself.) The fields are spokes that extend from the hub -- 

an air-conditioned restaurant and bar, where parents can sit inside and watch games away from the 

infernal heat. 

They go through every player's backpack as he enters -- and yes, there's an entrance fee -- to make sure 

he isn't trying to smuggle in any outside food or drink. PowerBars and Gatorades are confiscated. 

There are buzzwords in this business, sure to coax the gullible parent. The big three terms are "elite," 

"select," and "travel ball." Oh, the power of those words. Waving the prospect of "travel ball" under the 

nose of the ambitious father of a talented 9-year-old is like wafting a steak under the nose of a sleeping 

dog. After all, the more you travel and the farther you go to play a sport, the better you must be at that 

sport, right? 

"Travel ball," in this world, is meant as a synonym for "better ball." Parents say, "Oh, he plays travel ball," 

as a means of separating their kids from the riffraff who don't see fit to spend thousands of dollars to 

travel all over the place with their 9-year-olds. And if it's "year-round travel ball" -- a red flag across the 

orthopedic medical community for the dangers of repetitive overuse -- all the better. It's a status symbol, 

one promoted by parents and justified by the guys who collect tournament fees, and it's the main reason 

baseball in this country is widely becoming the province of wealthy suburbia. 

The action and drama was terrific at the Little League World Series game beweeen Georgia and 

Kentucky. But it's possible the very best young talent isn't playing Little League ball. 

Another nugget: A 10-and-under AAU basketball team from my Northern California town got the lead 

story in the sports section about a week ago. They've won six of seven tournaments, we're told, and they 

aren't stopping there. The coach is quoted as saying, "I am looking to go to North Carolina and Houston. 

And there may be a New York tournament." 


In the bylined story -- and yes, I remember the days when I had to cover Little League and adult softball 

(gack) for a local paper -- we are treated to thumbnail descriptions of the team's two best players before 

we're left with the following walk-off quote from our coach: "Some parents claim they're the best team in 

[the county]. I must agree with them."….These are 9- and 10-year-olds, which raises a question: 

What the hell are we doing? 

Here's one thing we're doing: We're creating a class of kids who are being labeled with terms such as 

"elite" and "competitive" and "best of the best." They're being worshipped by their parents and coaches, 

who keep statistics to post online and send photographs to the local paper. It's organized insanity. 

And this is just something to think about, but if there are countless elite and select teams where I live, 

how elite and select can they be? 

We went through a culture shift in American education in which self-esteem became a major focus. 

Slower kids became "challenged" or "special" as a means of eliminating pejoratives. A lot of good came 

of it; kids who were branded with demeaning terms found strength in their differences. 

Well, the pendulum has sure swung, hasn't it? We're nearing the point in youth sports where we need to 

stop the "elite" and "select" madness because we're raising a generation with too much self-esteem. 

They can't handle failure because they've been conditioned to believe they're too good to fail. They're 

being placed on teams that identify them as better than their peers on the whim of either a parent/coach 

or a businessman/coach. 


We're nearing the point in youth sports where we need to stop the "elite" and "select" madness because 

we're raising a generation with too much self-esteem. They can't handle failure because they've been 

conditioned to believe they're too good to fail. 

Parents line up to have their kids try out for under-10 fall baseball teams, where tiny kids compete for the 

right to have their arms trashed by pitching in four different games over two days of a weekend 

tournament put on by a for-profit organization that gives teams 10 minutes between games to warm up. 

There is the allure of better coaching (sometimes true), better gear (nearly always true) and better 

competition (debatable). Still, is there anything dumber than holding tryouts for 9-year-olds? We're not 

talking about Little League tryouts, which don't include cuts and are intended to place kids at the 

appropriate level for their ability. No, we're talking about putting 9- and 10-year-olds through an extensive 

tryout to keep some and cut others. 

And then, five years down the line when Little Johnny decides to trade his bat and glove for a skateboard 

and a piercing, his parents can scream and yell about the travel ball coach who ruined baseball for their 

son by taking their money and not playing him. It's an overgeneralization, sure, but the whole operation 

has a way of surgically extracting the fun out of a sport at an age when fun is all it should be. 

Here's what the dream-peddlers don't tell you: Anyone who has spent more than five innings watching 

10-year-olds play baseball -- or one half of a basketball game -- knows that athletic ability in a kid that 

young is directly related to physical maturity. The kid with hair under his arms in sixth grade is going to hit 

the baseball farther than the prepubescent kid who can't get out of the dugout without tripping over his 

own feet. It's really not that hard. 

When I played youth baseball -- it was called "Fly League" where I grew up -- everyone knew the legend 

of Buddy Wall. He was the 5-foot-10 guy from the other side of town who struck everyone out, hit 

mammoth homers and bench-pressed 225 at 12 years old. He was a couple of years older than me, and 

I lost track of him after Fly League days. Then, when I was 16 and showed up for the first day of practice 

for a local 16- to 19-year-old team, the coach had all the players introduce themselves. One guy, 5-10 

with a full beard, said, "My name's Buddy Wall." 


I was stunned. I wanted to yell out, "No! You're not Buddy Wall! Buddy Wall is bigger than life, and you're 

a backup outfielder on an average summer-league team." But he was Buddy Wall, and he still liked to 

play baseball even though the rest of the field had caught up with him. Today, Buddy would have been a 

travel-ball wonder at 9, feted and honored throughout the land. I'm guessing it would have made the 

inevitable fall to 19-year-old backup summer league outfielder that much harder to take. 

ESPN The Magazine senior writer Tim Keown co-wrote the autobiography of Pawn Stars' Rick Harrison. 

"License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and my Life at the Gold & Silver" is available on Amazon.com. He also co- 

wrote Josh Hamilton's autobiography, "Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back," 




Posted by Anonymous on Sep. 4, 2013 at 9:28 PM
Replies (471-478):
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Sep. 8, 2013 at 2:17 PM
Well the reality of it is, these elite teams are ruining youth sports.

If the horse was dead, why did you reply? Hmm...guess youre the one beating it.

Quoting Anonymous:


I'm living in reality. You, however, keeping beating a dead horse and I still can't figure why you care so much.  You pay out of choice and everything you've written has been in direct conflict with your argument.  Maybe get out from in front of your computer and go work off that negative energy by actually playing a sport yourself.


Quoting Anonymous:

I just listed 2 mlb players for you. 

WTF world do you live in where football players aren't cut? Thats insanely laughable. 

Quoting Anonymous:

To the OP using football players as an example.  Find another sport.  Football requires so many bodies on the field that rarely are kids cut.  They may not make varsity their first year, but they will play.  When most people think of elite/club teams/sports, football is not one of them.  Basketball, volleyball, hockey tend to be the top ones.  I don't worry one bit about my boys making the football team, but basketball is another story. 





Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Sep. 8, 2013 at 2:21 PM
Well i am right. I was told ...doesnt happen. Camt happen. Well bull shit, it absilutely does happen. And ive goven enough examples to prove that.

Who cares that they played other sports? Isnt that the point of the post? That kids need to play and do other tjings, that these elite sports are ruining our kids. So yeah, they played other sports....thats my point.



Quoting Anonymous:

You are just bound and determined to be right.. Ok whatever.. Secondly if you actually READ my post I never said football was ..EASY by any means I know personally enough players both college and pro to know its not. There will always be exceptions to every rule, however my point is that in most sports technique and fundamentals are important. Even in your examples you are using ppl that at least played a different sport when they were young so using someone that played basketball or baseball well enough in their youth in hs and/or college then can play pro football is not enough to convince me that a "typical"kid can not be involved in anything athletic until 10th or 11th grade then play a sport professionally. My point is ppl who changed sports aren't really a good example bc sports share overlapping skill sets, conditioning and techniques so they aren't starting from scratch.



Quoting Anonymous:

If you follwed the conversation it was that you can't start playing in highschool and expect to get anywhere. I have proved that wrong over and over. Plain and simple. The conversation was football players. So thats what I used, since you knwo...thats what we were talking about.

Have you ever heard of Kenny rogers or Mark Buhrle? 

I'd like to see you tell Adriane Peterson that what he does isn't that hard, give me a break. 

Quoting Anonymous:

 Julius Thomas played basketball in college he didnt just roll off the couch and became a pro football player. There are overlapping skills there esp if he was a forward, secondly more football players can you use examples from another sport, while football is definitely not easy there are a lot of positions that vary in degree of difficultly technically so someone with raw talent could catch up. However I will use my cousin that swims competitively she started 2-3 yrs later than the other girls on her team, while her talent is allowing her to kick butt esp in freestyle, her breast stoke which is more technical is lacking and she is trying to technically play catch-up before she ages up.



Quoting Anonymous:

So then do you like the example of adrian peterson better? He graduted highschool 9 years ago and onlystarted playing foitball in his junioryear.



Or we can talk about Julius Thomas who plays in the nfl....and has only been playing football for 3 years.



Sorry ttimes havent changed.



Unless you consider the pretentious parent a new thing. I dont.



Quoting Anonymous:

I don't get what your issue is, while I do have a problem with parents being too pushy or forcing their kids to do something not bc their kid is interested but bc they are trying to relive their childhood through there kids. However if my children are interested and show talent for a particular sport or activity me as their parent choosing the best opportunity that I can afford to develop their skill is my choice and I see no problem with it. One of my daughters showed interest and a talent for dance @ 4 so we did 2 terms of rec (inexpensive and 6 weeks or less). Since she stayed interested, took it more seriously compared to other kids her age could and really enjoys it. We now pay for her to go to an elite dance academy. In my family kids are also doing competive cheer ,year round swimming, weekend art classes. But like I said me and my family we just believe if a child shows talent and interest on "their own"we do what we can to support and nurture that talent.

Your comparison using Tom Brady isn't really a good bc 1) he is from a different time , when he grew up there was probably still sports and extra curriculars in school not just high school and not pay to play. We live in a play to play world now and unfortunately it's making everything the same as for example what gymnastics or ice skating has always been(a teenager just starting out probably will not be able to compete with and catch up with that kid that's been doing it since they were 5-6) Until the current environment changes I will do what I can for mine.








Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Sep. 8, 2013 at 2:24 PM
I've determined the OP just has an unhealthy obsession with this topic. I'm not really sure why, because if she wasn't happy, then WHY shell out the money and time. Her negative attitude is really sad.
Quoting Anonymous:

You are just bound and determined to be right.. Ok whatever.. Secondly if you actually READ my post I never said football was ..EASY by any means I know personally enough players both college and pro to know its not. There will always be exceptions to every rule, however my point is that in most sports technique and fundamentals are important. Even in your examples you are using ppl that at least played a different sport when they were young so using someone that played basketball or baseball well enough in their youth in hs and/or college then can play pro football is not enough to convince me that a "typical"kid can not be involved in anything athletic until 10th or 11th grade then play a sport professionally. My point is ppl who changed sports aren't really a good example bc sports share overlapping skill sets, conditioning and techniques so they aren't starting from scratch.


Quoting Anonymous:

If you follwed the conversation it was that you can't start playing in highschool and expect to get anywhere. I have proved that wrong over and over. Plain and simple. The conversation was football players. So thats what I used, since you knwo...thats what we were talking about.

Have you ever heard of Kenny rogers or Mark Buhrle? 

I'd like to see you tell Adriane Peterson that what he does isn't that hard, give me a break. 

Quoting Anonymous:

 Julius Thomas played basketball in college he didnt just roll off the couch and became a pro football player. There are overlapping skills there esp if he was a forward, secondly more football players can you use examples from another sport, while football is definitely not easy there are a lot of positions that vary in degree of difficultly technically so someone with raw talent could catch up. However I will use my cousin that swims competitively she started 2-3 yrs later than the other girls on her team, while her talent is allowing her to kick butt esp in freestyle, her breast stoke which is more technical is lacking and she is trying to technically play catch-up before she ages up.


Quoting Anonymous:

So then do you like the example of adrian peterson better? He graduted highschool 9 years ago and onlystarted playing foitball in his junioryear.

Or we can talk about Julius Thomas who plays in the nfl....and has only been playing football for 3 years.

Sorry ttimes havent changed.

Unless you consider the pretentious parent a new thing. I dont.

Quoting Anonymous:

I don't get what your issue is, while I do have a problem with parents being too pushy or forcing their kids to do something not bc their kid is interested but bc they are trying to relive their childhood through there kids. However if my children are interested and show talent for a particular sport or activity me as their parent choosing the best opportunity that I can afford to develop their skill is my choice and I see no problem with it. One of my daughters showed interest and a talent for dance @ 4 so we did 2 terms of rec (inexpensive and 6 weeks or less). Since she stayed interested, took it more seriously compared to other kids her age could and really enjoys it. We now pay for her to go to an elite dance academy. In my family kids are also doing competive cheer ,year round swimming, weekend art classes. But like I said me and my family we just believe if a child shows talent and interest on "their own"we do what we can to support and nurture that talent.

Your comparison using Tom Brady isn't really a good bc 1) he is from a different time , when he grew up there was probably still sports and extra curriculars in school not just high school and not pay to play. We live in a play to play world now and unfortunately it's making everything the same as for example what gymnastics or ice skating has always been(a teenager just starting out probably will not be able to compete with and catch up with that kid that's been doing it since they were 5-6) Until the current environment changes I will do what I can for mine.







Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Sep. 8, 2013 at 2:29 PM
Making one post is an unhealthy obsession? Youve set that bar fairly low, i hope youve never made any posts.

Quoting Anonymous:I've determined the OP just has an unhealthy obsession with this topic. I'm not really sure why, because if she wasn't happy, then WHY shell out the money and time. Her negative attitude is really sad.

Quoting Anonymous:You are just bound and determined to be right.. Ok whatever.. Secondly if you actually READ my post I never said football was ..EASY by any means I know personally enough players both college and pro to know its not. There will always be exceptions to every rule, however my point is that in most sports technique and fundamentals are important. Even in your examples you are using ppl that at least played a different sport when they were young so using someone that played basketball or baseball well enough in their youth in hs and/or college then can play pro football is not enough to convince me that a "typical"kid can not be involved in anything athletic until 10th or 11th grade then play a sport professionally. My point is ppl who changed sports aren't really a good example bc sports share overlapping skill sets, conditioning and techniques so they aren't starting from scratch.
Quoting Anonymous:If you follwed the conversation it was that you can't start playing in highschool and expect to get anywhere. I have proved that wrong over and over. Plain and simple. The conversation was football players. So thats what I used, since you knwo...thats what we were talking about.Have you ever heard of Kenny rogers or Mark Buhrle? I'd like to see you tell Adriane Peterson that what he does isn't that hard, give me a break. Quoting Anonymous: Julius Thomas played basketball in college he didnt just roll off the couch and became a pro football player. There are overlapping skills there esp if he was a forward, secondly more football players can you use examples from another sport, while football is definitely not easy there are a lot of positions that vary in degree of difficultly technically so someone with raw talent could catch up. However I will use my cousin that swims competitively she started 2-3 yrs later than the other girls on her team, while her talent is allowing her to kick butt esp in freestyle, her breast stoke which is more technical is lacking and she is trying to technically play catch-up before she ages up.
Quoting Anonymous:So then do you like the example of adrian peterson better? He graduted highschool 9 years ago and onlystarted playing foitball in his junioryear.

Or we can talk about Julius Thomas who plays in the nfl....and has only been playing football for 3 years.

Sorry ttimes havent changed.

Unless you consider the pretentious parent a new thing. I dont.

Quoting Anonymous:I don't get what your issue is, while I do have a problem with parents being too pushy or forcing their kids to do something not bc their kid is interested but bc they are trying to relive their childhood through there kids. However if my children are interested and show talent for a particular sport or activity me as their parent choosing the best opportunity that I can afford to develop their skill is my choice and I see no problem with it. One of my daughters showed interest and a talent for dance @ 4 so we did 2 terms of rec (inexpensive and 6 weeks or less). Since she stayed interested, took it more seriously compared to other kids her age could and really enjoys it. We now pay for her to go to an elite dance academy. In my family kids are also doing competive cheer ,year round swimming, weekend art classes. But like I said me and my family we just believe if a child shows talent and interest on "their own"we do what we can to support and nurture that talent.Your comparison using Tom Brady isn't really a good bc 1) he is from a different time , when he grew up there was probably still sports and extra curriculars in school not just high school and not pay to play. We live in a play to play world now and unfortunately it's making everything the same as for example what gymnastics or ice skating has always been(a teenager just starting out probably will not be able to compete with and catch up with that kid that's been doing it since they were 5-6) Until the current environment changes I will do what I can for mine.


purple_panda
by Platinum Member on Sep. 8, 2013 at 2:58 PM
If you think anyone is going to read 48 pages of posts to follow the post you're delusional.


Quoting Anonymous:

If you followed the post I ws told that it does NOT happen. I've proved that it absolutely does. 

Quoting purple_panda:

I guess my kid is technically in an elite sport, but we don't have much of a choice. She does taekwondo, she is 8 and is working on her green belt. The city doesn't offer a low cost rec program for taekwondo or karate and she wants to participate on the sports team this year. In order for them to compete we have to travel, we are in North Dakota. It's not like we have local teams to compete with.



Also for every football player you list that didn't start playing until he was in high school there's probably 8-10 of them that started younger. If anything you're proving that your chances greatly increase when you start younger.



Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Sep. 8, 2013 at 3:00 PM
I didnt ask you to commenton it, but if you want to comment on something youve read you should ay least to maje it an educated one.

Quoting purple_panda:

If you think anyone is going to read 48 pages of posts to follow the post you're delusional.




Quoting Anonymous:

If you followed the post I ws told that it does NOT happen. I've proved that it absolutely does. 

Quoting purple_panda:

I guess my kid is technically in an elite sport, but we don't have much of a choice. She does taekwondo, she is 8 and is working on her green belt. The city doesn't offer a low cost rec program for taekwondo or karate and she wants to participate on the sports team this year. In order for them to compete we have to travel, we are in North Dakota. It's not like we have local teams to compete with.





Also for every football player you list that didn't start playing until he was in high school there's probably 8-10 of them that started younger. If anything you're proving that your chances greatly increase when you start younger.



Anonymous
by Anonymous 50 on Sep. 8, 2013 at 4:33 PM
I have 4 kids and they have all played travel sports, my girls starting with gymnastics at the ages of 7-8. Now my older 2 are in college, one playing her sport she loves. Did I force my kids? No. We're they the best or better than their peers? Sometimes yes, mostly no. They are all competitive by nature. They also all tried music and art, and were good, they just always came back to sports. Why do I love travel sports? 1. Sports can teach so many life lessons. It teaches winning and losing. Granted parents can absolutely wreck this. 2. Have you ever spent hours in a car with your teen? Best bonding moments ever! I have a close relationship with all my kids from spending so much time with them. Can this happen other ways? Yes, it's just the avenue best for us. 3. It keeps them busy and preoccupied and focused. They are all A-B students and never been in trouble. I wouldn't give up travel sports for anything!

I don't think my kids are better than other kids and I've had 2 state champions! I have seen things go terribly wrong in elite sports but I've also seen some major success stories. One of my close friends won't allow her kids to do travel and she has twins that are clearly talented (starting varsity in 2 sports as freshmen). Obviously, they don't NEED it. But also there is no animosity between her kids and mine who play on the same team.

People get all wrapped up in being against things they don't really understand or don't like. Frankly, I don't care if anyone agrees with my choice to do travel teams or not. I just wanted you to understand some benefits of it. IMO travel and elite teams are not ruining sports, parents are. But then again parents ruin most everything for their kids. If you don't like it then don't participate but why criticize us that do?
Anonymous
by Anonymous 51 on Oct. 24, 2013 at 9:36 AM

My daughter is like yours. She's 10 this year and sooooo bored with rec. Some of the kids have never played soccer and others could care less. Her coach this year is not very knowledgable so she is ready for the season to be over. We will have to look into a travel team next season.

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