Paul Savramis remembers when this picture was featured in The New York Times, along with a statement from him on the importance of balance and perspective in future student athletes. As Paul Savramis explains, the article, published in 1998, centered on young athletes and their visions of NBA hopes. The article postulated that although a large number of children dream of someday becoming pro’s, in reality the odds are against them.
As Paul Savramis told The New York Times reporter, the trend of parents and coach’s pushing children to participate in sports for the wrong reasons is a dangerous one. “There is so much damage that can be done at a early age, harsh words, embarrassment, ridicule,” Savramis said. “The subtle pressure for the kid to succeed is always there.”
Paul Savramis believed then and still believes today that fun should be the first priority in a child’s participation in athletics. First through his Eastern Invitational Basketball Camp and later through Rising Stars, Paul Savramis sought to encourage the youths he worked with. When he encountered a parent who was pushing a child to apply for the camp, Paul Savramis would suggest a different camp. His term, Fun-damentals was a defining term in his philosophy as to what needed to be the priority in youth sports.
In his work with student athletes, Paul Savramis has always encouraged them to play a sport because they loved to ahead of any and all else. Pursue an education and pursue other goals but maintain a balance in all that you do. College is important, he stresses, but he also encourages children to undertake other pursuits for a better more balanced lifetime as a complete person.
In this article, Paul Savramis also addressed the new concept of recruiting children in elementary school for eventual high school teams. This is a concept that is used in college recruitment, Paul Savramis points out, and has now carried down to the high school and even elementary levels. Paul Savramis adds that mimicking college recruitment practices carries the same problems encountered in collegiate sports over to high school and elementary sports.
Paul Savramis believes that children should be encouraged in their dreams, but it’s important to try to keep their feet on the ground as well. A career as a doctor or lawyer is much more likely than a life as an NBA player, considering that so few people become professional athletes each year, according to Savramis. This creates a problem, Paul Savramis says. While it’s great to dream, Paul Savramis emphasizes to parents the importance of encouraging educational pursuits equally, if not more, than athletic goals.
Still, school athletics are important in providing a foundation for future learning. As Paul Savramis points out, sports teach children discipline, teamwork, and perseverance. Whether being featured in The New York Times or receiving accolades from professional coaches and public officials, he says that his works satisfaction comes from knowing he has made a difference in the lives of so many student athletes.