Will the World Cup, ‘Karate Kid’ influence kids’ next sports?

We did spend the weekend watching the World Cup matches out of South Africa and by the end of the weekend Walsh seemed much more interested in playing soccer than he did three years ago when he wandered aimlessly around the field.

It made me start to wonder if watching a month of games and getting into the excitement of this international tournament would increase the number of kids signing up to play soccer next fall?

The New York Daily News is reporting that local Kung Fu classes are overflowing thanks TV shows like “SpongeBob” and the remake of the movie “The Karate Kid,” which made a whopping $56 million this weekend at the Box Office.

From The Daily News:

“When movies like ‘The Karate Kid’ come out, we get more calls,” says Janett Pabon, an instructor at World Martial Arts Center in Union Square.

“After ‘Kill Bill’ came out, people came in wanting to break wood using one punch. They see it and they want to try it.”

And it’s not just movies, says Pete Paramithis, owner of Island Martial Arts on Staten Island.

“Believe it or not, people want to do SpongeBob karate,” says Paramithis, referring to the porous cartoon character’s board-chopping antics.

Do you think watching movies or TV about sports will influence your kids’ choices in what sports they want to participate? Did your kids seem more excited about soccer watching the World Cup?

Did you see the new “Karate Kid” this weekend? Were your kids interested in kung fu classes afterwards?

Did you want to take karate classes after seeing the Ralph Macchio version in the 1980s?

26 comments Add your comment


June 14th, 2010
7:59 am

I’m getting my child into vuvazela blowing, LOVE THOSE HORNS!

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June 14th, 2010
8:08 am

As far as Walsh seeming to be more interested in soccer now than three years ago . . . that seems reasonable, he was probably a little too young three years ago. I personally don’t care for organized sports for 3 and 4 year olds. I think kids that age need a wide variety of play opportunity, not being shoved into a regimen (especially those that “don’t keep score” — duh, if you aren’t going to keep score, WHY BOTHER!?)

Of course TV and movies may spark an interest. But I was never inspired to run out and take karate after the original “Karate Kid”. The one thing we tried that was loosely inspired by movies was fencing. Gotta love those light sabres in “Star Wars”! My son took fencing for two years and loved it, but gave it up when his fencing master moved, and soccer started demanding more time. He still has his foil and sabre.


June 14th, 2010
8:09 am

@Supermom: ROFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


June 14th, 2010
8:15 am

If watching a month of soccer motivates kids, then there should be a ton wanting to play football and baseball and basketball. There are other sports beside soccer. And they are on for a lot longer than the world cup.


June 14th, 2010
8:38 am

World Cup organizing committee head Danny Jordaan on Sunday did not rule out banning vuvuzelas, the noisy plastic trumpets that have proved a hit with fans in South Africa but threaten to deafen players and viewers alike.

Criticism of the vuvuzelas has been almost as loud as the instruments themselves with broadcasting companies complaining the din is almost drowning out commentary.

We’ve tried to get some order,” Jordaan said.

“We have asked for no vuvuzelas during national anthems or during stadium announcements. I know it’s a difficult question,” he added, saying that “we’re trying to manage the best we can.

“We heard from the broadcasters and individuals, and it’s something we are evaluating on an on-going base.”

Jordaan told the BBC he had to consider the option of banning the trumpets.

“If there are grounds to do so, yes,” he said, asked if a ban was an option.


June 14th, 2010
9:44 am


Sure, the World Cup is only for a month about every four years, but please remember that the US does have it’s own soccer league as well that is year long.


June 14th, 2010
10:08 am

I am not a sports person but isn’t this the crux of being introduced to new things, as an educator?
We share the idea, in hopes that some children will find it appealing. I just left Montana and northern Idaho. WOW! Such beautiful places…I want to go back and see more. This is one thing I love about my job, I get to see many things I would never see if I were still teaching Kinder in a classroom.


June 14th, 2010
10:29 am

Um, is it a bad thing for kids to be interested in sports? I’d much rather my child get excited about soccer and/or karate then decide after watching movies/tv he’d like to be a gangster or something. My son has played soccer for several years and was beginning to get bored. But after watching the “big boys” play, he now sees how it will become more challenging (in his words “cool”) if he sticks with it until he’s older.

And, yes, Spongebob did make him want to take Karate, but at 6 years old, I don’t think he’s quite mature enough yet.


June 14th, 2010
11:08 am

There is an increase in Tennis sales after Wimbeldon too. If Walsh is showing an interest in soccer, get him a ball (they are cheap) and start practicing in the yard. You will know if his interest is real in no time.

@DB I have a child who is not overly competitive. At least she wasn’t. In the “don’t keep score leagues” the kids still keep score. For my child, this league allowed her to gain confidence and skill. She quickly adapted to the game (soccer). This year she will be playing the more competive league, but I like the non-judgemental environment she had for the last 5 seasons as a training ground. I don’t think keeping score from age 5 – 8 makes sense. (I grant mine is older than 8). It should be about learning the skill set…especially since, at that age, they all hit field and travel like an amoeba.

David S

June 14th, 2010
11:09 am

Soccer has been played by kids as a major sport for at least 30 years in youth leagues and yet adults still don’t really care that much for it as a spectator sport. Much like excitement about curling during the winter olympics won’t turn into a long-lasting curling craze, this spike in interest will peter out too.


June 14th, 2010
11:21 am

FCM: My son is hyper-competitive — he can tell you the score of the Green vs. Orange team at a church soccer league when he was *6*, and they didn’t “keep score.” The adults may not have kept score, but the kids sure did! He came by it honestly, though — my husband is also pretty darn competitive :-) I don’t have a problem with scores at that age — I mean, that’s the purpose of the game, is to score. I think emphasizing the scoring, however, is a mistake.

I think the strangest thing I ever ran into was a woman wanting to get her 3 year old into one of the area’s ultra-competitive soccer clubs (the minimum age was 4 for the little ones.) Her reasoning was that his dad played semi-pro soccer “in Europe”, and she wanted to make sure he started training properly for his college scholarship. I had to gently point out to her that 3 was a little young to start planning your child’s college scholarship — what if he decided he wanted to go to Le Cordon Bleu? She stared at me and declared, “THAT’S not going to happen. He’s playing soccer, and that’s that.” I suggested that he’d probably get just as much, if not more, skills from just kicking the ball around the backyard with his dad for another year, and she dismisssed that out of hand — “he’s very busy, he doesn’t have time.”

Okaaaay . . . .

oh good grief!!!

June 14th, 2010
11:30 am

Between Friday’s topic, nothing on all week but this crap and now today’s topic, I’m about soccered out!


June 14th, 2010
11:31 am

@ DB your story of the college bound Mom reminded me: I knew a family of ultra competive soccer folks. This was in the 70s. As I understand it, the son got so fed up with the non-stop criticing etc of his game by the family that he eventually refused to play–and he was durn good too.

He decided to go into swimming and told the family if they decided to learn it and make it a family affair type thing he would quit that too. Until Michael Phelps I never saw anyone glide through water the way Scott Farrell used to do.


June 14th, 2010
11:45 am

Of course kids will want to do these things after seeing them on TV, isn’t that what commercials are all about? Why do girls want to dress up as Disney princesses after watching a Disney movie? Why did every kid want to be a Power Ranger for Halloween 10 years ago? I could go on and on but I think this is kind of a “duh!” topic.

Anyway, I wanted to add to something we talked about a couple of weeks ago – college majors and how we steer our kids. My son who is 15 just got back from a 2-week mission trip to Nicaragua yesterday. We started talking about everything that had happened and he was of course throwing in comments and questions in spanish along the way. (We jokingly told him he was going to get a lot of practice of his “mad Spanish skills” during this time!) So he says, “so I was thinking that if I do well in Spanish 3 & 4, I might major in Spanish in college.” I was very excited that he has even thought about something to major in (tho I expect it to change, this is one of the first times HE’S ever said something about going to college that wasn’t prompted by me!). I told him I thought that was great and that he should talk to his Spanish teacher about possible careers b/c usually you have to major in something else along with spanish (like internation business or teaching). My husband has a cousin who majored in spanish in college and the only thing he got out of that was 2 wives (LOL) so he did need to consider how he could make money with that major.


June 14th, 2010
12:03 pm

TechMom, he should definitely keep double-majoring in mind. I don’t think there’s a ton of demand for people who major only in languages pretty commonly studied here (Spanish, French) outside of education and academia, but it’s a big plus as a second major complimenting another field of study (documented fluency in Spanish is really a plus in just about any field in the U.S., not just the obvious ones like international business). I feel like majoring in French sealed the deal for me on a couple of jobs, but at the same time, I wouldn’t have been considered for those positions if it were my only major. Chinese, Arabic, and Russian are a different story — my friends who majored or minored in those got cold calls from government agencies starting senior year.


June 14th, 2010
12:23 pm

Tech Mom…I do not want to rain on your parade but recently read an article on the 10 worst college majors and Spanish was number 5. I noticed it because my daughter’s friend is interested in this major. I think HB has the best idea, as to double majoring. Fluency in Spanish would be a plus in many vocations.

My son ( Pharmacy) took Latin in HS and Spanish in college, as many of the clients needed medical attention but could only speak Spanish. It has helped him during the interaction with customers.

It IS wonderful that something has sparked his interest and ( to me) this is why we should give our kids lots of opportunities…you never know when something might light a fire! Good luck!

Did anyone see the USA Today article, last week,about the 26 year old lady who got a Psych degree and is now $80,000 in debt with student loans and making $15 per hour at a call center in Atlanta? She is married with a baby. I thought about the topic T posted on whether to guide your children into a career or let them do whatever they dream of….hmmmm.


June 14th, 2010
12:49 pm

MJ my eldest wants to be a vet with a back-up career in singing. LOL! I keep steering her toward the Vet vocation and advocating music as wonderful way (along with her soccer) to wind down.

The youngest, well she makes songs up constantly and if she chooses a music path….SIGH. I will be supportive, but she keeps saying, I just need to find what I will do to earn my living right? Though she mentioned teacher (shudder) a career that I rank close to singing artist in paths I want the child to go down. Fortunately there is still lots of time….and honestly the kid would make an awesome attorney so maybe law school!

I figure you gently guide them and advise them. Then when it is out of your hands (they pay the classes with their $$ or scholarship etc) you just support them. However, not being at that point of the sidewalk I could be wrong.


June 14th, 2010
1:32 pm

@MJG, I say let them major in whatever they love! My best friend was a music major, not music education like me. Today she travels the world singing professionally with various opera companies. She doesn’t have a 9 to 5 and loves it. Yahoo had an article a couple of weeks ago stating that music is a horrible major as well, but I can name several people that majored in music with me in college and have gone on to become extremely successful in entertainment. My oldest will major in music and I support her 100%. Do what you love. There are no guarantees in any field. Who would’ve guessed that teachers would be losing their jobs?


June 14th, 2010
2:07 pm

I definitely don’t think majoring in a foreign language is wise but this really is the first time the boy has even shown a spark of interest in college (though he knows it’s expected of him). My hope is this will at least generate enough interest in him to really question if it’s something he wants to do. I think the conversation the other week was hard on those of us who really try to steer our kids away from degrees that won’t allow them to earn a decent living. I’m one of those who majored in something more for the money and not the passion. I don’t necessarily think it’s the wrong thing to do as long as you know you’ll get your fulfillment from other things and not necessarily sitting behind a computer all day.

@RJ is right, there are no guarantees in any field but at least if you have more than 1 marketable skill (Music theory and music education, Spanish & Criminal Justic or IB), you’re more likely to succeed.


June 14th, 2010
2:17 pm

and I meant “ONLY majoring in foregin language is wise…”


June 14th, 2010
2:34 pm

Of course, you never know what fields will be safest. I have several friends who were music and dance majors who also had majors or minors in finance/business. They worked dayjobs in NYC as low to mid-level employees in the finance industry along with freelance performing jobs nights and weekends to keep up with bills between extended performance work. They’ve all been laid off in the last year and a half by the banks and brokerages they worked for.


June 14th, 2010
4:03 pm

Maybe we could get our low-performing kids to watch a month of TV shows that glorify the hard work of education, and make the well-educated out to be heroes!


June 14th, 2010
5:34 pm

@catlady – if only that was possible… I’d sign my nephews up. Tie them to the chair and put tooth picks on their eyelids to keep them open.


June 14th, 2010
6:54 pm

@ FCM…my daughter wanted to be a Vet too, until she volunteered for several weeks at our vet.
She was way too sad with the sick pets. It was a good experience for her to be involved first hand.
Thinking of what she is majoring in: food science…The Food Network got HER excited about it.
We will see if it pans out….

@catlady, maybe if more children saw parents who worked hard …they would not expect others to do everything for them. I am hearing the same sagafrom teachers everywhere…parents are not doing their job, nor expecting the kids to pull their weight….but the TEACHERS…now they need to be accountable and whip everything into shape!

@ RJ…my son will have $80,000 plus in student loans but his is on his way to being a Pharmacist.
Not sure a Psych major ( with a BS) can pay it back as quickly.


June 15th, 2010
6:54 pm

Three out of four members of my family already play soccer (including me) and member four – my wife – is our biggest fan (and understands the game well enough to coach at some levels at this point); so it won’t change much around our house!