A friend of mine was lamenting on Facebook about the costs of having her kids play sports. She asked her friends what they spent on their kids activities and several posted responses.

It's amazing how many of us spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year to have our children throw, shoot or kick a ball!

I know a family in town that sent their child to Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, over in Faribault, for high school. Shattuck-St. Mary’s is a boarding school that provides high-level training in several sports, in addition to its academic offerings.

They have some incredible sports programs at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Their soccer program, for instance, is part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy – and there are only 105 of those designated high-level soccer programs in the entire country.

According to their website, tuition (including room and board) and general fees will run a family upwards of $50,000 a year. That seems like a lot of money to spend in pursuit of athletic excellence. It makes you wonder, at what point does the cost for having your kids participate in sports outweigh the benefits?

My daughter plays competitive soccer. We could have had her play in the recreation league in town this spring for $80. Instead, because she likes it and is pretty good at it, she is playing in a competitive league on a team that plays other competitive teams – mostly in the Twin Cities.

Because of our choice, instead of the $80 we could have spent, we’ll probably spend ten times that amount this season, including registration fees, tournament fees, gas, food and lodging.

There’s the key, though. At the end of the day, it’s our choice. We spend our money on these activities because we feel it’s the best way to use our resources to support our kids. I’m okay spending money on their sports participation because I see the benefits they get from it – physically, socially and emotionally.

What do you think? Are youth sports worth the money? What do you spend to have your kids participate in sports activities?