I'm still a few years off my kids playing real organized competitive sports, but I'm still trying to get my head around how things work in the US of A now that I see all the tryouts posts on Nextdoor and in my neighborhood. My question is how can my kid play competitive sport if he's not that good?

For some context, I grew up in South Africa, and most sport was played through your highschool (which runs 8-12th grade). They were divided by age U14, U15/U16 and U19. But rather than trying out for "the team" you tried out for "a team," and people would move up and down a bit during the season. And we had as many teams as we had people interested. I think one year we had six or seven U14 girls field hockey teams. The A team was pretty good, the B team slighlty worse, etc. and the E and F teams were a chaotic mess of uncoordination. For me, I was pretty good at field hockey (the boys variety) so played U14 my first year and then for our U19 "A team" or the First team for the rest of the time I was in high school, skipping the intermediate age level. In cricket, I was decent, but not good enough for the First team in my later years, so I played in the Second team and once or twice was promoted when players were sick or injured.

So what I don't understand is, what do my kids do if you don't make the team in a tryout? Are you SOOL? Do you go to practice and just never get "put in"? What if my kids have late growth spurts and then don't get the training and practice? What if they are just truly not good (because their father has no idea about how to teach them about american sports) but want to play and have the experience of playing competitively against other teams they don't know?

I'm not interested in participation trophies etc. but I am interested in the important life lessons that playing competitive team sports give you and giving them the immense pleasure and joy I got from it, and from my current understanding I don't understand why that is so limited in the US.