BOSTON (CBS) – With fees and costs rising every day for high school and youth sports, and the ever-present pressure to succeed, you might think that participation would be way down.

You would be wrong. Youth sports are bigger than ever. The rewards, according to kids, parents and coaches, outweigh the costs.

 Listen to Jim Smith’s report

On one recent autumn afternoon at Weymouth High School, the athletic fields were alive with hundreds of kids. Boys and girls’ teams were hard at work practicing and competing in cross country, soccer, and football.

“Our numbers are very large,” said Mike Miller, coach of the girls’ cross country team. “We’ve got almost 150 boys and girls in our programs, in indoor and outdoor track. It’s a lot to manage, but we’re glad to have an opportunity for kids of all abilities to come out and participate.”

“I love it,” said cross country team member Steve Connolly. “It’s a very rewarding sport. You get to get real close with all the teammates. It’s a real bonding experience.”

And it’s not just Weymouth. Despite user fees, high school sports participation is through the roof in many communities.

“It keeps me out of trouble, and I like being part of a team,” said Braintree soccer player Shannon Casey. “It’s really important to me. It’s a lot of fun.”

“I love watching her and she loves this game; she loves to play,” said Shannon’s dad Bill. “She builds friendships and physical strength and something to do after school, which is a big positive.”

Sara Carvallo’s daughter also plays soccer. She says with the recent additions of hockey and lacrosse, girls’ sports, in particular, are in great shape. Her family hasn’t let the sports fees get in the way.

“It’s something that we have to do, so it’s not like a choice,” she said of the yearly payments. “It’s worth it.”

So what’s missing? Cross country runner Steve Solowin would like to see everybody involved in after school sports.

“There’s so much talent out there that hasn’t been discovered. It would be nice to see, not a mandatory, very suggested that kids go out for sports. It would certainly change some of the problems we have with people.”


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