Sports / Newsmakers

Sports dreams carry a price

By Associated Press (China Daily) Updated: 2016-08-03 07:39

Sports dreams carry a price

Debbie Amorelli poses with her son Chris at their home in Upton, Mass. Debbie and her husband spend about $10,000 a year to pay for the 17yearold to play hockey, but keep reminding him it is money that could be going toward his college fund. AP Photos

Escalating costs driving some parents to ruin The Olympics sparks hope in many a child of going for the gold. But in financially supporting those dreams, some parents are going for broke.

For his 15-year old son's traveling hockey team, Tim Richmeier was spending about $5,000 a season by using his tax refunds, halting contributions to his retirement fund and putting travel expenses on a credit card.

Richmeier said it was a great experience for his child, but after four years it was a financial relief when his son was cut from the squad.

"I was kind of dreading the upcoming season, knowing I'd go deeper in the hole," said Richmeier, a single father in Phoenix.

Competitive youth sports in the US are rising in popularity. The exclusive club and travel teams come with added coaching and intense competition, as well as much higher costs than a school or community team.

A survey released on Monday by TD Ameritrade of 1,000 parents whose children are involved in such elite endeavors finds most pay between $100 and $500 a month. For one in five, it's more than $1,000.

Some parents can absorb the cost, but others are working second jobs, depleting their savings or otherwise compromising their own financial well-being to fund the activities.

In the survey, 60 percent say the expense has them concerned about their ability to save for the future.

Parents largely say they don't regret the spending because of the physical, mental and emotional benefits for their children. But financial and athletic experts suggest parents make a more objective assessment of at what cost the kids are pursuing these dreams.

Of nearly 8 million US students currently participating in high school athletics, only 480,000 compete at the college level at an NCAA school, according to the organization. Few from that group will move on to compete at the Olympic or professional level.

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