Like the Santa Clara Swim Club of Crouse’s youth, at Norwich, children grow up seeing high-performing athletes at the grocery store. Norwich, says Crouse in her book, manages to evade the tunnel vision plaguing modern youth sports, where parents and children push too hard, too fast. In Norwich, children are encouraged to participate in sports throughout high school, even if their performance is lackluster. Sports rotate with the season, and in winter, many adults, including many Olympians, volunteer at the ski slopes, ensuring each child knows the basics of skiing. New York Times reporter Karen Crouse. (Mya Hammond/Mosaic) This, Crouse writes, is the secret to Norwich’s disproportionate number of Winter Olympians. To Norwich, the benefits of youth sports lie not in careers or scholarships, but in character growth. There is no pressure to perform, only an expectation to try. As Crouse writes articles about 8-year-olds investing in $400 high-tech swimsuits in Santa Clara, Norwich stays suspended in time.
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