We won’t stop celebrating. But in the world of youth sports franchises, things may look a little differently.
An enthusiastic high-five with everyone on the opposing team. An elated hug with a teammate who made the winning score. An excited fist bump: These are celebratory moves in the world of youth sports that we’re reconsidering in the wake of a global pandemic.
We don’t know whether we need to make these changes for a while or for the long haul, but we do know we need to make them. The rules of contact have changed, and not just for youth sports franchises. Will we still hug our friends when we meet them for brunch? Will an elbow bump replace a handshake in business settings?
In a post-pandemic world, some people may mourn the high five and the after-game handshakes. But at i9 Sports, it’s never been about the skin-on-skin contact. It’s always been about the celebration, and it still is.
How you play the game
The old adage, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game” especially rings true today. We already focus on the joy of play and the thrill of competition rather than who the actual winners are. i9 Sports set out from the beginning to be a different kind of youth sports franchise, and we did that in part by establishing codes of conduct.
Our mission is to help kids succeed in life through sports, and our goal is to provide a youth sports experience like no other. We emphasize the importance of good sportsmanship on the field and in life — not just for the players, but for the parents as well.
Too many children either quit team sports (or wish they could) because of the pressure put on them by adults, which make the games focus too much on competition and not enough on fun. We ask all i9 Sports parents to sign a pledge that says, in part, “I will refrain from the use of negative or derogatory language aimed at the Officials, the Coaches, my child, or other players. I will encourage my child and all others in the game and will let the coach be the coach. I will do my best to model the sportsmanship-like behavior I wish my child to adopt.”
With over 2 million registrations nationwide, we offer youth sports leagues, camps and clinics for boys and girls ages 3 and up in sports such as flag football, soccer, basketball, baseball, ZIP Lacrosse™ and volleyball.
With the onset of the pandemic, we knew we’d have to pivot in many ways. Our youth sports leagues are slowly opening back up this summer with careful safety protocols in place: smaller teams, hand-sanitizing stations, smaller spectator crowds and social distancing.
The kids still get to play, and they still get to celebrate afterwards, too. Instead of a tunnel of celebratory parents that kids run through after the game, we’ll do clapping lines instead. We can bump elbows or touch soccer cleats to indicate, “Hey, good game.”
When all is said and done, we’ll rediscover the thrill of youth sports. We’ll still emphasize good sportsmanship and improving fundamentals over hard-core, win-at-all-costs competition. And we’ll still be a franchise that makes youth sports fun for the kids and convenient for the families.
To find out more about the franchise opportunity with i9 Sports, fill out the form on this page to download our free franchise report.