Tom Brady doesn't want a child prodigy. Give him the kid that has fun for the sake of having fun.
Brady's attitude is far from unique, but it comes at a time when youth sports are becoming more specialized all the time. Parents like Brady are reacting to an increased focus on developing athletes and younger and younger ages, turning fun-loving sports into a part-time job.
"What I remember from being in youth sports, everything was really localized," said Brady in an interview with WEEI. "My parents always exposed us to different things, different sports. It was basketball when it was basketball season, it was baseball when it was baseball season.
"I didn't play football 'til I was a freshman in high school."
That sort of experience is becoming less common, and for Brady -- who has three kids of his own -- it's an experience he wants to preserve.
"I hope my kids are late bloomers in whatever they do because they're going to be exposed to so much at such an early time that, yeah, you do worry about what their motivation may be as they get older. ... It's just hard, because all the parents are doing it, it seems," Brady says. "The competition, it feels like it starts so early for these kids, whether it's to get into college, or to get into the right high school, or the right elementary school."
Those real-life worries can wait, Brady says. "Sometimes it's nice just for kids to be kids."