Second Grade Hoops Go Pro

What the second-grade basketball nationals--yes, it exists--says about youth-sports obsession

Finlay MacKay for TIME

Logan Walker, 6, of Tacoma's Washington Evolution, the 2013 second-grade national champions.

The freak-out surprised me.

I thought I was doing O.K. on the not-freaking-out-as-a-parent front.

You see, this spring my son Will, who is 7, started developing a real love for basketball. He'd beg me to take him to the park near our home so we could sneak in a few shots before dark. I got that paternal twinkle as he started making layups with a real basketball--no need for those pint-size youth rocks--on a real rim. Don't lower it for Will, baby. I hadn't pushed him, I swear, but there he was, taking up a sport that runs deep in the...

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