We all know that left to their own devices, children will be content spending their days nose-picking and sibling-punching. We also know that talent is best fostered early, and that children involved in sports do better in school and in life. There is also the possibility that you have a prodigy on your hands who will become famous and lavish their doting parents with public praise and money. I’ve taken a sampling of sports and laid out the pros, cons, costs and potential monetary reward (PMR). So which sport should you force your little Tiger Woods into, because everything turned out just great for that guy, right?

NOTE: I have omitted basketball because it is clearly the best option and gymnastics because it is clearly the worst.


  • Pros: Excellent exercise, thrilling sport to watch.
  • Cons: Concussions, early practices, dental armageddon.
  • Cost: HIGH. Skates and pads and sticks and rink time and travel. Oy.
  • Potential Monetary Reward: HIGH. A supremely talented and lucky boy may one day make millions in the NHL. And while there is a women’s professional league (which includes a team in glamorous Brampton), the pay is not exactly life-changing. However, a talented girl may one day earn a lucrative college scholarship.


  • Pros: Excellent exercise, international flavour.
  • Cons: Soccer played by children is the most boring thing ever witnessed.
  • Cost: LOW. Shorts, shoes and shinpads. And orange slices.
  • PMR: HIGH. Star soccer players in Europe are essentially given free reign of their countries' treasuries. And while girls don’t make as much as the men, there are women’s pro leagues as well as the potential for scholarships and Hope Solo-sized endorsement deals.


  • Pros: Excellent exercise, can be fun to watch.
  • Cons: Can also be horrifyingly dull, season never ends, short careers.
  • Cost: HIGH. Those racquets alone are a couple hundred clams, and hiring a full-time Eastern European man to scream at your child is not cheap (see also gymnastics). Also, every tennis match seems to burn through 900 balls.
  • PMR: HIGH. A top-ranked tennis player can make an absolute ton of money, and this is the one sport where women can rival the men in the earning department. (Maria Sharapova made $27.9 million dollars last year.)

Anything Involving a Horse

  • Pros: Horses are nice, you’re outdoors.
  • Cons: Watching a horse jump over a floral arrangement 70 times isn’t exactly the most thrilling way to spend an afternoon, polo is that rare combination of dangerous and boring, dressage is ridiculous.
  • Cost: ASTRONOMICAL. Imagine tennis but you had to feed and house your racquet.
  • PMR: LOW. The classic sport for the person who is already rich, I’m not sure equestrian people make any money whatsoever. And while the purses in horse racing can be high, jockeys, the actual tiny people risking their lives, receive a ham sandwich and a pat on the back after a race.


  • Pros: Excellent exercise, important water safety skills.
  • Cons: Early mornings, travel. Also, have you ever been to a swim meet? Profoundly dull.
  • Cost: SURPRISINGLY HIGH. Yes you just need a bathing suit and a body of water, but pool time and travel are costly and coaches will just destroy you financially.
  • PMR: LOW. If it wasn’t for endorsement deals, Michael Phelps would be working at Subway between meets. A first place finish in a Swimming World Cup event nets you $1,500.

Agree? Disagree? Let me hear about it in the comments.

Paul BeerPaul Beer is a Toronto writer, actor and comedian. You can follow him on Twitter@pauldanielbeer.