I’m hanging out at the NFL offices today with a host of youth sports representatives, including USA Football, Hockey, Basketball, Cheer, Gymnastics, Little League Baseball, US Lacrosse and Soccer, plus a host of bloggers and parents.
We will be talking about ways to make sports safer for all participants. I’m very happy to be included and am looking forward to a very informative and productive discussion.
As the parent of really active kids, my problem wasn’t getting them moving, but getting them to stop moving. Those idyllic photos of a mom cuddled up with a child reading a book together was not my reality. Our interludes lasted about 30 seconds. It wasn’t that they disliked books or had trouble reading, just that they hadn’t figured out a way to play hockey and read at the same time.
Knowing the importance of reading in brain development and school success, I kept at it. One of the things that really encourages an interest in reading is finding a topic that holds your child’s attention. Not surprisingly, for my kids that tended to be sports books, biographies of sports stars, the sports section of the newspaper, draft day previews, programs from sporting events and Sports Illustrated.
Sister hockey mom and author Kris Yankee understands this. As a freelance writer and mom to a couple boys, Kris knows what appeals to kids, especially hockey crazed boys. Her brand new book Cracking the Code: Spreading Rumors takes the lessons of hockey and applies it to the everyday life of middle schooler Toby Karlson. Here’s a summary of the story:
When Toby Karlson, aka TK, is at the wrong place at the wrong time, he goes from cool kid to total outcast with just one hip check. Sixth-grade orientation was scary, but TK didn’t realize it would change his life. Now he has to hang out with the smartest and geekiest kid in school, while dodging the school bully and his posse. If TK were on the ice, he’d know exactly what to do. But this is life and not a hockey game. Can TK get his good-guy status back at fifth-grade camp? Read the rest of this entry »
Every game you go to, in every sport, you hear it. Coaches, parents, and often times players, complaining about the refs. The ref cost us the game. The ref is a homer. The ref just outright sucks. Well, don’t worry, Stripes. I’ve got your back.
Why would I defend the most universally hated people on the sports planet (well, next to this guy)? Not because it’s really just a bunch of whining, which it is, and excuse making, which it is, but because it does a disservice to the coaches, the players, and the refs. That’s right. Here’s why you need to get off big Blue’s back.
I had a boss who once said that it is every employee’s inalienable right to bitch about their boss. It shouldn’t be held against either party, it doesn’t mean that you don’t buy in to the boss’s system, or you aren’t a team player, or anything like that. It just means that sometimes, your boss cheeses you off and you’ve got to vent. (This is the same boss that gave me a weekend off to attend the USA Hockey Level 4 Coaching Symposium so you know he’s a cool dude.)
The same thing applies to kids. Sometimes, a kid just has to vent– about a coach, about a teammate, about a bad call, a bad play or a bad bounce. And that’s okay. I think we get so caught up in the whole positive parenting, positive attitude thing that sometimes we forget to acknowledge that kids have frustrations, anger and disappointments, and they need a safe place to express those feelings. A place where it’s not directed at a coach, teammate, or official. A place where kids can blow off some steam and know that it won’t go any further, won’t hurt anyone’s feelings, and won’t undermine a coach or a teammate. We have found that place. We call it the Car Cone of Silence. Read the rest of this entry »
I am a big reader and always looking to educate myself, and anyone else within lawn chair distance, on kids and sports (not necessarily in that order), so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I read a lot of books about kids and sports. I’ve found some really good titles and now present the Trophy Mom’s Recommended Reading List for the Thinking Sports Parent. We’ll save the inspirational biographies for another day–these titles are thought-provoking and informative and might challenge you to think about youth sports in a different way. All of these books are worthy of purchasing and I own some of them, but since I work at a public library, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that you could save some coin by borrowing one of these from your local library. Read the rest of this entry »
Concussions are in the news and influencing everything from equipment manufacturers to the decisions families make about sports involvement. Long-lasting brain trauma from blows received during sports are being researched and when you read about the speculation surrounding the recent deaths of Junior Seau and Derek Boogaard, you start to wonder if any contact sport is worth the risk. Some are quick to point to concussions as the cause, while others say that it’s inconclusive. There is a lot of information out there, some is informative and interesting, some is downright horrifying. And some goes as far as to say allowing your child to play football is abusive, and we will see the demise of college and professional football in the next 25 years.
Dr. David Geier asked for my comments on his blog “Would you let your son play football?” and you can read my thoughts, as well as those from some real experts. When I asked my orthopedic doc, who patrols the sidelines as a team physician for high school football games, what his biggest injury concern was, he said without hesitation, “concussions.” And when I asked a friend whose sons play football what she thought, she admitted that some of the stories were so scary she was afraid to read them.
The NFL is taking some action on this, which is great to see because the NHL and USA Hockey still have their heads buried in the sand, or somewhere worse. In addition to the NFL’s newly announced Total Wellness Program for all current and former players, they’ve invited some bloggers to the NFL Youth Health and Safety Luncheon at the NFL offices on August 22. That would include *ahem* me.
Yes, just try to imagine the Trophy Mom roaming around the NFL offices, rubbing elbows with Holly Robinson Peete, and bro-hugging Roger Goodell.
The NFL’s invitation said they want to “hear what concerns you and your readers about youth sports and injuries, what keeps you up at night, and share some resources with you that may be helpful on the topic. We’ll bring in some of our experts to speak with the group, but we also want the day to really be an exchange of ideas.”
So let the exchange of ideas begin. What do you think about the safety of football or other contact sports, especially at the youth level? Would you, do you, let your kids play? Do you think coaches put your kid’s health over a win? Is the equipment safe and does it fit? Are there people on the sidelines who can evaluate concussion symptoms and do they make kids sit out? Are the officials well trained? I want to hear it all before I go so comment away.