Parenting & Sports – The Do’s & Don’ts of Raising Athletic Kids

“The evidence supporting sports participation for young people is overwhelming…It has the power to combat everything from racism to low self-image, to the high-school drop-out rate.” -Sue Castle

Youth sports are a vital part of our culture and society. Sports help kids develop- physically, mentally and emotionally. Sports teach kids to compete effectively, individually and as a part of a team. Sports instill discipline that will one day drive kids to create and seize opportunity. Games inspire smiles, tears and laughter. In short, youth sports shape the next generation of leaders and well-balanced human beings.

Unfortunately, the careless actions of a few adults can ruin this wonderful institution of American culture for kids and adults alike. We see it in the headlines, hear it in the bleachers, and internalize it on the field. Parents yell, complain, insult and even fight.

In light of these modern challenges, how can you, as a parent protect your child’s love and passion for games that are so pure in intent and such an integral part of growing up? How can you, as an adult, improve the experience for other children and their parents?

It’s simple. Follow the rules and stand up for the essence of spirited competition. Before the next time your kid sets foot on a court, diamond, field or any other competitive forum, follow these tips to optimize the situation for you and him both.

1. Understand Purpose

In the world of immediate gratification that we live in, it’s easy to overlook long term purpose, both for kids and adults. The key to getting the desired results is to identify the reasons you and your family dedicate hard work and effort that youth sports take. There are lots of reasons people put their kids in sports; however, the most common ones are to encourage kids to:

  • Learn new games
  • Stay fit and develop good habits
  • Be part of a team
  • Have fun…so much so that they want to play again
  • Stay out of trouble
  • College scholarship (or even professional career)
  • Bonding opportunities

In many instances, the will to participate in youth is may be shared by parent and child, but for very different reasons. Other times, one or the other champions the cause. Regardless of the situation, parents must assess why they and/or their children seek out youth leagues, training, etc. As you’ll see, the understanding of such purpose empowers parents to make the right choices to achieve results.

2. Do Your Homework

In populated areas, the choices for youth participation are endless. Which sports and activities should we focus on? Which league has the right level of competition? Which coach will provide the optimal experience? How do I handle it if things do not go as planned?

These are all valid questions that get answered, consciously or unconsciously, before most every registration. In some cases, there are few choices (i.e. you can’t always select your coach) with limited repercussions; however, as players become more specialized and play at a higher level, the selection from a multitude of opportunities may dictate the direction and quality of the experience. In this case, parents must match purpose with expectation to make the best decision, given the choices and circumstances. Like everything else in life, there are no guarantees that intent will become reality; nevertheless, it is clearly the best place to start.

3. Respect All, Fear None

For whatever the reason, respect by players and parents for the coaches and referees who make youth sports possible are waning. Parents yell and complain to coaches, umpires and other parents when they feel their child got slighted, overlooking the extraordinary time contribution and patience that such volunteers invest to make the games possible. Kids disrespect coaches and verbalize frustration when they are not placed in the spotlight.

Not only do these distractions ruin the game for all involved, they undermine the applications of sports to real life. It’s alright to voice concern, but in the end, parents and kids alike must respect the decisions of those positioned to make them. As kids transition into adulthood, they must understand the realities of authority, teamwork and sportsmanship.

Since parents set the examples, it’s important to realize who can be damaged before an errant comment, complaint or fit of rage leaves the mouth. Youth sports are about kids, we as parents simply cannot afford to overlook that.

4. Enjoy the Pageantry

If you’ve paid attention to the first three tips, this one should be a snap. This is where understanding, preparation and good intentions come together…GAME TIME. If you’re kid is on the right team for the right reasons, you can appreciate the competition and development of your child, even if the team has a limited degree of success.

Youth sports can be some of the most precious memories of both parenting and childhood. Emotional and physical growth, combined with excitement and shared passion, can result in pure joy, even in defeat. Kids often seem to get over a tough loss with a good after-game snack, even when the parents and coaches are still second-guessing a bad call or poor play. Since the goal of it all surrounds the kids, shouldn’t parents follow their lead?

5. Grab a Whistle

If you don’t have the time or temperament to coach, skip this section. However, if you’ve ever thought of coaching, but talked yourself out of it because you just weren’t sure if you skills, patience or flexibility to be coach, then now is the time.

Coaching allows parents to bond with their kids in unique and fulfilling ways. Not only are spending time with your kid(s), your sharing a team and competing side-by-side each time you take the field. You can talk endlessly about games, other teams and players, just as you would with a friend. You get to meet a lot of other kids and their parents at a very personal level, so you can surround your children with kids you trust. Finally, you learn a lot about yourself as a parent and leader.

Like most parenting choices, coaching is what you make of it. Embrace it with a good attitude and it can be the experience of a lifetime. Conversely, if you coach to boost your ego or capture unfulfilled championship dreams, your efforts will likely be misguided and end in disappointment.

The Cost of a Major Sports Event

Major sporting events not only provide a great spectacle, but also lasting legacies for the nations in which they are held. With so many factors to consider before, during and after an event, how much do you think a major, global sporting event costs?

London 2012 Olympics – Last summer saw one of the greatest sporting events ever held on British shores, the London 2012 Olympics. Held between 17th July – 12th August, the Games were a celebration of both British culture and global sporting excellence – but be assured, this came at a hefty price. The total cost for the event came to approximately £11bn. The money came from a range of sources including the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Limited, Olympic Delivery Authority, National Lottery, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Greater London Authority.

2010 FIFA World Cup – The 19th FIFA World Cup was held in South Africa in June and July 2010. This was a huge occasion for football as it saw the first ever African nation host the finals and it turned out to be a huge financial success. The total cost of the event came to £21.6m, however ticket sales revenue totalled £185m and, additionally, TV rights revenue amounted to a huge £1.5bn.

2011 Rugby World Cup – Autumn 2011 saw the Rugby World Cup return to the Southern Hemisphere. Held in 12 towns and cities throughout New Zealand’s North and South Islands, the tournament truly reflected the New Zealand Rugby Union’s desire to make it a nationwide event. With approximately four million global viewers, the total cost of the event came to £19.8m, a small price tag, many New Zealanders would say, for the host nation to capture the William Webb Ellis Cup on home soil.
2012 Superbowl – The Superbowl is a huge event within the sporting calendar, particularly in the United States. The 2012 final between the New York Giants and New England Patriots was viewed by 111 million people. The total cost came to £17.2m, with ticket sales revenue totalling £44.4m; but it may not come as a shock that this event raked in £12.9bn in TV rights revenue, the most of all the sporting events on this list.

There’s no doubt that sports event management is tough when it comes to large-scale, multi-site events. With organizing committees wanting to keep costs to a minimum, it is imperative that factors such as employee scheduling and workforce management are not overseen. It is by cutting down on unwanted administrative costs and figuring out the exact size of the workforce required that money can be saved. By investing in bespoke employee scheduling and volunteer management software, a lot of money could be saved in the long run.

All The Good in Sports – Book Review

Sports personalities are so often revered for their physical accomplishments or else shunned for their moral faults. The world puts these people on a pedestal and expects them not to be human. Mike Sandrolini takes a closer look and finds something spectacular to cheer about in his offering, “All the Good in Sports: True Stories That go Beyond the Headlines.”

With twenty contemporary sports personalities, sportswriter Sandrolini goes behind the top scores and record breaking events to get personal with the special purpose of each of these stars. They are all quite human and reveal their humbling efforts to share their faith. Christian Hosoi, of skateboarding fame, shares his story of finding God in his jail cell. Mariano Rivera, Yankees’ 1999 World Series MVP, explains how he is grateful to God and how he enjoys gathering with young minor leaguers for Bible study. Mary Lou Retton, the famed gold medal winning gymnast, is now a motivational speaker and author and openly shares her dedication to being a Christian. Matt Hasselbeck, Ruth Riley, Payne Stewart, and Dave Downing, among others, also reveal their faith.

Clearly demonstrating that it’s not all about the multi millions, Wheaties boxes, and adoring fans, the athletes exhibited here are so much more. Author Mike Sandrolini presents a higher purpose than winning the game in his stories. Well presented and interesting to read, the collection is based on sports and faith. To any Christian sports enthusiast, this book is sure to be a huge inspiration.

All the Good in Sports

by Mike Sandrolini

ISBN-10: 0830744746

Review by Heather Froeschl

Scenario of Indian Sports Arena

Sports are essential part of a healthy daily routine. Sports do not only exercise the body muscles, but also deliver freshness and keep active. India has a great sporting history as there are many sports like Kabaddi, Wrestling, and Swimming etc., which are the important elements of Indian culture. Basically sports are of two types – indoor and outdoor. Indoor sports include the games like Billiards, Chess, etc whether the outdoor games have Cricket, Football, and Wrestling etc. In ancient time the people of India had many interesting sports for their entertainment and refreshment, especially outdoor sports. In fact, some sports have their origin in the roots of Indian culture like Kabaddi, Kho-Kho, and boat racing etc.

In present Indian sports scenario, Cricket is the most prominent sport in which India has an excellent track record. Football is another popular game in some parts of India, but Cricket has more popularity among the Indians. There are some world level sporting events in India, but most of them are devoted to Cricket. Also there are events for other games like Hockey Premier League. India has hosted many international sporting events as Hockey World Cup, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Table Tennis Championship in the past.

Apart from Cricket, Indians have delivered some excellent knocks in International sports. Indians have won many medals in Commonwealth and Asian games. In fact, Indians are the world champions in the games like Chess, Billiards etc. They were also the world Hockey champions for many times in the past. In tennis and shuttling there are some brilliant talents in India. Currently Delhi is going to host its first Commonwealth games in 2010. Indian Premier League is a well known sporting event in India, which is among the most successful domestic events in international level.

Many sporting authorities are working towards the wellness of the sports in India. Sporting bodies get aids from the government of India for developing the infrastructure and nurturing the growing talent. India has some world level stadiums like Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Major Dhyanchand stadiums etc. which have standard facilities world sports persons. These bodies are supposed to arrange the basic requirements for their concerned sports. Some legendary sports persons from India made a great impact on world stage. Major Dyanchand from hockey, Sachin Tendulkar from cricket, Pulela Gopichand from shuttling, Abhinav Bindra from shooting, Geet Sethi and Pankaj Advani from Billiards, V Anand from chess are among some of the sports persons who left a grand impact in international sports arena.

As India has some world level athletes and sports persons, they are very few as compared to other countries and population of India. Sporting authorities should concentrate on developing new talent from the roots. More sporting events should be organized to promote the sports in low levels. Sports persons have to move towards big cities for better facilities, since in there is the lack of basic requirements in towns. Still Indians have to prove their capabilities in Olympics, the greatest sporting event in international scenario. Indians have won very few personal medals in Olympics. Lack of basic requirements, fundamental facilities and promotional sporting events in root level are the main reasons behind the failure of Indian athletes in the big events like Olympics.

Six of the Best British Sports Commentators

We all have our own ideas of who has been the very best of sports commentators over the years but we all must also admit that the standards set in those early years of sports coverage on TV produced the present day precedents.

The reason to say that is the uniqueness of the job; TV only really came into being in the 1950’s and sports coverage, particularly live events did not really keep us glued to our TV sets until the early 60’s. This meant that those early commentators were ‘guinea pigs’ and to survive originality and a certain uniqueness had to prevail.

It should also be remembered that sports commentators in those early years did not have anything like the technical assistance of today, nor did they have the facility of a sporting expert alongside them in the commentary box. They also had a different set of rules to conform too, particularly regarding impartiality and/or personal opinion. Just to make sure that they delivered the goods, they also had omnipresent TV producers insisting on them having the ability to know their sports inside out and to have a comprehensive understanding of the rules as well as comprehensive background knowledge of the sport.

Additionally many commentators were required to carry out personal research on the protagonists, the history of the said sport and the current trends; but most importantly they were required to deliver the commentary with an eloquence that the listener could relate to and which included the ability to raise the levels of excitement as and when necessary. Six commentators that this author feels fitted those early requirements the best are:

  1. Bill McLaren – Rugby Union:- Bill died just about a year ago in January 2010 and he took to his grave the ‘voice of rugby union’, not just in a domestic sense but also in an international sense. Bill brought exuberance to rugby union commentary that the listener never tired of listening to. He had perfect timing, knew when to get excited and despite his Scottish roots was always impartial whether it be a Calcutta Cup match or England v France.
  2. Dan Maskell – Tennis:- If Bill McLaren was the voice of rugby union, Dan Maskell was most certainly the ‘voice of tennis’. His commentaries at Wimbledon throughout the 60s, 70s and the 80’s and retired after commentating on the all German Wimbledon final of 1991 between Michael Stich and Boris Becker. Often understated Dan’s adjectives are still very much in evidence today; phrases such as ” a truly wonderful shot” and “Oh I Say” are still in common use with the modern day commentators.
  3. Sir Peter O’Sullivan– Horse Racing:- There is still a great reverence surrounding the ‘Voice of horse racing’ that everyone involved with the sport still respects. He is the man who made the Grand National the race it is today and the man, through his profound knowledge, brought new meaning to the abilities of the race horses, trainers and jockeys themselves. He was a very difficult man to follow, ask Jim McGrath of the BBC!
  4. Harry Carpenter– Boxing:- “Know what I mean Arry” in the words of former heavyweight champion, Frank Bruno, summed up in many ways of ‘Harry’s’ standing in the world of boxing. Commentating on which has to be regarded as the most brutal of all televised sports requires, huge tact and sensitivity which Harry had in abundance. He was a man who always knew where to draw the line but he never failed to deliver knock out lines, who could ever forget this “Oh, he’s got him with a right hand! He’s got him! Oh, you can’t believe it. And I don’t think Foreman’s going to get up. He’s trying to beat the count. And he’s out! Oh my God, he’s won the title back at 32! said at the end of the ‘rumble in the Jungle’ heavyweight title clash between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali.
  5. Richie Benaud– Cricket:- Regarded by many as one of the most influential personalities of world and particularly Ashes cricket, Richie Benaud became even more influential as a BBC commentator after he retired from cricket in the mid-60’s. Brutally honest, with a cynicism that brought new dimensions to sports commentary, Benaud was a man who knew what the cricket listener wanted to hear often introducing new ‘one liners’ such as “The hallmark of a great captain is the ability to win the toss at the right time” that have not just become synonymous with him but also cricket in general.
  6. Kenneth Wolstenholme– Football:- “Some people are on the pitch….they think it’s all over…..It is now!” the immortal one liner uttered as Sir Geoff Hurst netted the fourth and final goal to seal an England victory in the 1966 World Cup will never be forgotten. Ken was the lead commentator for the BBC in the 50’s and 60’s and as such set the standard that only few have reached since. His impeccable timing was his great hallmark and the fact that his voice was all that was ever necessary during any match he commentated on.