This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's July 8, Kids In Sports issue. Subscribe today!
It's fair to wonder whether the future of all sports in America comes down to this very moment. At 6:30 one April morning in the Detroit suburbs, Joey Carpenter, 10, is pushing scrambled eggs around his plate. To his left, the countertop TV is tuned to the hockey world championships in Helsinki, where the U.S. men's national team plays its opening game. Joey is mulling the options before him. Both of his teams, hockey and lacrosse, have games at the same time this morning. He is torn.
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He walks upstairs and shows me the room where he had slept fitfully beneath a Spider-Man blanket, next to a sock puppet and white tiger stuffed animal. He swipes a row of dark brown curls across his forehead and nods at the poster on the wall above his dresser. It's of former Red Wing Marian Hossa, though his current favorite is left winger Henrik Zetterberg, another of the superskilled Euros who have propelled the team's unmatched success over the past two decades. "I like what he does with passing," Joey says.
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