On Aug. 29, ‘National Sport Sampling Day,’ West Hartford’s 2-4-1 urges people to ‘Try A New Sport’
National Day Calendar declares National Sport Sampling Day Aug. 29, 2023, the 241st day of the year, intentionally chosen by nonprofit 2-4-1. The organization’s tagline – “Life’s 2 Short 4 Just 1 Sport” – has become the mantra for sport sampling leaders and advocates across the country.
Over the past generation opportunities for kids to go outside and play unstructured sports have nearly vanished. Well-meaning youth sports programs have become increasingly specialized and too often feel more like work than play, leaving little opportunity for kids to use their creativity and imagination.
Sport sampling is the perfect solution, because it puts play back into sports. When kids try new sports they learn how the skills of one sport transfers to another. Sport sampling also develops confidence, builds friendships and creates the likelihood that this generation will grow physically and socially emotionally well for the rest of their lives.
West Hartford residents Kerry and Steve Boyle, 2-4-1 co-founders said, “Sport sampling is the foundation to all of our programs. We’ve impacted nearly 20,000 kids in 14 states and four countries, but we’ve only just begun. We want as many kids as possible to experience physical and social emotional health. From the beginning, our goal has been to make sports fun again and the only way to make that happen is to give voice and choice in the sports that kids play!”
Tom Farrey, ESPN Emmy Award-winning journalist and director at the Aspen Institute’s Sport and Society Program shared, “At Aspen, we believe sport sampling is so important it stood alone as one of eight plays in our original Project Play report in 2015, Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game. Since we released that framework, the pressure on kids to specialize early in one sport has unfortunately only grown, despite kids telling us they really want to enjoy different sports. We are excited to support National Sport Sampling Day as it’s an important concept that we are committed to promoting.”
Dr. Lindsay DiStefano, Associate Vice President for Research at UConn, remarked, “Both professionally and personally, I am a sport sampling champion! In my work at UConn, I support research and programs that promote physical literacy development and sport sampling as one of the best and simplest ways to do that. And as a parent of three athletic boys, I see firsthand the direct and indirect pressures kids face to specialize early. As parents, we are constantly put in a position to respond to that pressure. Even with my life’s work being in this space, we still find navigating youth sports difficult. National Sport Sampling Day is a perfect reminder that sports are meant to be played for life, and that kids should have a choice in what they get to play!
2-4-1 suggests some ways you and your community can get involved in and celebrate National Sport Sampling Day:
- Try a new sport with friends and family.
- Video yourself or family members talking about why sport sampling and a “Life’s 2 Short 4 Just 1 Sport” philosophy is important to you. Send us the video and we’ll add it to our social media library. Consider sharing it on your social networks, tag @241sports and use the hashtag #NationalSportSamplingDay.
- Email a video saying “Life’s 2 Short 4 Just 1 Sport.” or share a positive memory you have about 2-4-1.
- Bring 2-4-1 to your community. Our school-based sport sampling programs have grown dramatically over the past 18 months. Our goal is to quadruple our reach in the next three years. If you are a school leader and/or have a friend or family member in your network please connect with us!
- Your donation to 2-4-1 supports our sport sampling programs.
241 CARE, Inc is a 501(c)(3). 2-4-1 gives kids the freedom to explore imaginative, creative ways to put play back into sports. We encourage kids to be their best selves, creating confidence, friendships, and joy for life.