Parent Knows Best

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By Sherri Middleton, Managing Editor

As medical research continues to focus on concussions and the long-term effects of injuries to the brain through sports, it’s a wonder anyone plays sports at all.

The statistics about brain injuries in contact sports continue to shock and worry us, and rightfully so. We still don’t know how this will affect these athletes throughout their lives. We are learning, but we don’t know.

I suppose there are some who will deny their child a chance to participate in physical contact sports for fear of injury. The numbers already show that more parents are worried about letting their children play tackle football even though, equipment, coach and player education and continuing research is leading to a safer game.

Other parents are choosing “safer” sports such as soccer, where punishing body and head blows are not allowed. As we’ve learned, the highest number of concussions happen among high school female soccer players, even though more children play high school football.

We’ve also recently seen the statistics on cheerleading and concussion. I remember when cheerleading wasn’t even considered a sport because it was not deemed physical enough. Because of that perception, many high school programs failed to provide adequate equipment, coaching or education for girls who wanted to cheer.

We must have been in a fortunate situation in my high school. We had a coach who was very knowledgeable about sports and preventing sports injuries. She coached both volleyball and cheerleading in addition to the required physical education classes with the same concern for safety and a love of the game.

Our gym was equipped with thick mats, mini trampolines with swing harnesses and wall padding to prevent injuries. There was always one spotter for each position and the coach was always watching and instructing on form and safety.

I’ve heard that other schools relegated their cheerleaders to the parking lot, practice field and even the cafeteria sending a clear message that safety was not a concern.

But now we know safety is important in all sports. It’s important in life.

Kids are going to get hurt. Even kids who never play an organized sport in their life will probably end up with an injury during their lifetime. I got a broken nose and a concussion from raking the lawn. Well … I got a broken nose and concussion from sliding into a leaf pile and some kid twice my size slid into my face. I didn’t tell my mom my nose had poured blood that day. I also didn’t tell her the time a kid threw a rock at school and hit me in the temple and knocked me out. But she noticed something about me after both of those incidences; something wasn’t right. I was nauseated. The light hurt my eyes. I wanted to sleep more than usual. I didn’t feel well.

I wasn’t playing football, hockey, soccer or flying from the top of pyramid. I was just playing – like kids do.

If my mom told me then that I could no longer slide into a pile of leaves or run around a playground at school or tryout for cheerleading, I would have been a sad kid.

But my mom did something right. She took me to the doctor when she noticed I wasn’t acting normal.

We all know the risks and it is our responsibility to continue to learn as much as we can to prevent injuries and keep our children safe. The decision to play or not to play is ultimately up to the parents. Hopefully they will remember that the positive benefits of participating in sports far outweigh the negative. Watch your kids when they play. If you think your child isn’t acting normal during a game, have them sit it out.

Most importantly, learn about the signs to watch for and insist that rules are in place and policies followed if a brain injury is suspected. Let the kids play sports, but educate them about how to play safely and remind them that it’s okay to let a coach know if something is wrong.

 

 

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The Ridiculous Business of Football Scholarships for Kids

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by Sherri Middleton, Managing Editor

I heard the other day that a 9-year-old was offered a college football scholarship. My first thought was ‘this kid must be really good.’ My second thought was about the pressure he will face as he tries to take his young body through strenuous workouts and conditioning until he is a senior in high school – the time when young people actually become eligible for college scholarships.

It’s not that uncommon for young children to set their sights high when they or their parents believe they have athletic potential.

We don’t really think too much about the ages of gymnasts, figure skaters or swimmers who proudly claim they learned their sport as toddlers and were competing competitively in elementary and junior high. After all, prime competition for these athletes’ peaks around 14 to 18 and by the time they reach 25, they fade into obscurity unless they are among the few to win Olympic medals or world titles.

But football is different. From elementary school to college a youngster undergoes so many changes that it is really difficult to predict physical and mental ability, or even stature. Of course, a 9-year-old won’t be competing against college men until he’s in college. And obviously, the offer of a scholarship is non-binding on the college and child. Why would someone offer a scholarship to someone who won’t be eligible to play for eight or nine more years?

This young boy was reportedly seen on YouTube and caught the eye of many people, including the college coach who offered the scholarship. The thinking must have been: “That little kid is so much faster than all those other little kids we should recruit him.” Or maybe it was, “Does anyone even know we have a football program? What’s the most outlandish thing we can do to get some publicity?”

My only hope is that this 9-year-old is able to keep his head on straight. My wish for him: Play football if you enjoy it. Break sprint records and entertain crowds on Tuesday evening at the local ballpark but also keep studying and plan for what happens if that coach moves on before you graduate high school. Stay healthy. Stay strong. Don’t let it go to your head. You’ve got eight or nine years to decide if and where you want to play football, but you might also rather play baseball, lacrosse, tennis, hockey or golf … or all of them.

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Don’t Forget the Water!

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By Sherri Middleton, Managing Editor, SportsEvents Magazine

I attended a community-based athletic event a while back and I’m still puzzled by some of the things the organizer failed to do.

On this day at the beginning of the school year, boys and girls showed up to participate, hoping for a chance to perform well enough to qualify for the next level of competition.

Temperatures that day peaked at 90 degrees with 83 percent humidity at noon. By the afternoon when the event was scheduled, the temp had fallen slightly, but the humidity had increased. The sky was azure with no clouds in sight.

Cars pulled into the parking lot and excited children raced toward the open field where the competition would take place. Many of the children were still wearing school clothes. Parents hurried after them, some of them still in business attire.

A registration table was positioned strategically to funnel the children and parents to workers who instructed each person to complete a form and show birth certificates. Volunteers and event staff waited patiently on the field. Athletic equipment was in place. Lines had been chalked. When the paperwork was complete, the children were encouraged to run and stretch prior to the start of the competition which was scheduled to kick off minutes later.

Children were then placed in lines or groups based on their ages. And they waited.

You might imagine what happened next as they stood in the sun, sweat pouring off their faces. If they left their groups, they might miss the chance to compete, so they stood and called for parents.

Within minutes, parents returned to the registration table to ask about water for their sweaty kids. Some parents returned to their vehicles to retrieve water bottles. Some parents asked for water fountains. Some parents told their children to stay with friends while they drove to the store to purchase water.

You’ve probably already guessed what this planner forgot. Um-hum. Water.

When people started complaining the planner suggested that maybe the parents should have brought water for their kids. It went downhill from there as parents took to Facebook and Twitter to complain. And you guessed it. They didn’t just complain about the lack of a convenient source of water.

They complained that there was nowhere to take shade while they waited.

They didn’t know they needed a birth certificate to participate.

The restrooms were too far away. The concession stand was closed. Leaving was not an option if you wanted to compete in the hour and a half long event since large groups of organized practice teams were also now showing up to register before time ran out.

But it was the water, or the lack of water that made everyone so angry.

One could argue that the kids could wait until afterward to get water because the event took less than two hours from beginning to end. What’s two hours without water?

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How difficult would it have been for the organizer to send someone to fill the empty orange field coolers from the back of the organizers truck and bring cups from the field house?

Wouldn’t it have been better if they thought of water in the first place since sports and hydration go so well together?

Instead, rather than having a positive experience, parents used social media to point out a basic item the organizer forgot.

When people say ‘don’t sweat the small stuff,’ they aren’t talking about water. And don’t forget…social media can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

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14 Random Sports Facts

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by Sherri Middleton, Managing Editor

It’s that time of year when my thoughts inevitably turn to college football and how many more days I have to wait for the new season to start. The NCAA assures me that it’s coming soon, but soon is not really soon enough.

The 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game features Alabama vs. Florida State on Saturday, September 2 and Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech on Monday, September 4 in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga.

But … the season actually kicks off this year between Stanford and Rice in Sydney, Australia at Allianz Stadium. The game is Saturday, August 26 here in the states, but down under it will be August 27. Hawaii and UMass will also be playing August 26 at Gillette Stadium.

These separate kickoff dates and locations confuse me. Remember when it was simple and there was one official Kickoff? [Crickets]

I have too many questions and not enough patience to wait for the answers.

Major League Baseball is just getting started and NASCAR is cranking up. There are plenty of sports events to keep me busy until fall, but instead I decided to look up random facts about sports from a multitude of sites and thought I’d share them with you.

  • Federer can be typed entirely with the left hand. (You’re trying it, aren’t you?)

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  • Live pigeon shooting was an Olympic event in the 1900 Summer Games in Paris. Hundreds of pigeons were reportedly released and then shot. Nearly 400 birds were killed and animal rights activists protested leading to the use of clay pigeons. (Who ever thought releasing live birds to be shot in front of a crowd was a good idea anyway?)
  • Babe Ruth wore a cabbage leaf under his cap for good luck and to keep cool. He reportedly changed it every two innings.

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  • About 42,000 tennis balls are used in the 650 tennis matches in the Wimbledon Championship.
  • The NFL estimates that more than 100 children are conceived every year at tailgate parties in the Super Bowl parking lot.
  • Since 1962 the Maryland State Sport was jousting. In 2004, the state sport was named lacrosse.139266731
  • When asked why he didn’t win gold in the 2010 Olympic cross country event, Norwegian skier, Odd-Bjoern Hejelmeset said, “I think I have seen too much porn in the last 14 days.”
  • The average golf ball has 36 dimples.

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  • The longest recorded point in tennis took 29 minutes.
  • There are 18 minutes of total action in a baseball game. The Wall Street Journal says it’s only 17 minutes and 58 seconds.
  • Inazawa Bowling Centre in Japan is the largest bowling alley in the world with 116 lanes.
  • Olympic gold medals are 93% silver, six percent copper and 1 percent gold for the finish.
  • Tug of War was an Olympic Event from 1900 to 1920. Great Britain won 5 medals, two of them were gold.
  • Before 1859, umpires sat in padded rocking chairs behind the catcher.

Don’t you wish college football would hurry up and get here?

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Big Fish and Tall Tales

Lake-Erie

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Photo Credit: Ohio’s Lake Erie Shores and Islands
By Sherri Middleton, Managing Editor, SportsEvents Magazine

While searching for some information about fishing — ice fishing in particular — I stumbled across several intriguing articles about a particular lake monster rumored to inhabit the water in Ohio around Lake Erie Shores and Islands.

Now I’d heard of the Loch Ness Monster and even Champ of Lake Champlain, but never of this creature known as South Bay Bessie. Apparently, this sea serpent measures anywhere from 30 to 60 feet in length and was first spotted in the early 1800s by sailors.

One report says that two brothers encountered a huge monster on the beach near Toledo in 1817. They described the unknown species as a 20 to 30-foot sturgeon with arms. The panicked brothers left the scene, but later returned and found silver scales the size of silver dollars where the creature had been.

The unidentified aquatic creature has been spotted near Sandusky and Cedar Point and is so much a part of the local lore that Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland sells a beer called Lake Erie Monster Double IPA that the company says pairs well with steak, aged cheese and tall tales. A local man also crafted a life-size floating replica of Bessie. This replica, Lemmy, can be seen anchored off Huron River.

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Photo Credit: Great Lakes Brewing Company

So, there must be some truth to it, right?

As we all know, some fish stories have a way of becoming larger than life.

I don’t know if this legend is a snake monster, a prehistoric ichthyosaur or a massive sturgeon, but wouldn’t it be a great story to tell around the campfire if you were the one who landed that massive trophy?

I’m not getting my hopes up, but I’m assured the waters surrounding Lake Erie’s Shores and Islands are year-round hotspots for walleye, perch, smallmouth bass and catfish.

Try some of these fishing areas on Lake Erie Shores and Islands:

  • South Bass Island/Put-in-Bay – During winter when the harbor freezes, the landscape is dotted with colorful ice shanties. Walleye, yellow perch and smallmouth bass fill the waters here.
  • Middle Bass Island – This island of flowers includes beaches, marinas, a historic district and a wildlife refuge. Perch, smallmouth bass and walleye are caught here.
  • Kelleys Island – The largest of Lake Erie’s islands is a bird lovers’ paradise. Rocky shorelines and pristine beaches along with miles of hiking trails and a friendly downtown district makes this a good choice for nature lovers. Kelleys Island is a hotspot for catching smallmouth bass, yellow perch and walleye.
  • Port Clinton – The “Walleye Capital of the World” features world-class fishing, boating and beaches.

At different times of the year and around the islands fishermen catch steelhead trout, white bass, rock bass, largemouth bass and other species. For more information about fishing at Lake Erie Shores & Islands, visit www.shoresandislands.com.

Lake-Erie

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5 Apps for Better Events

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By Sherri Middleton, Managing Editor, SportsEvents Magazine

We’re always thinking about our planners and how we can help make your job a little easier. Here at SportsEvents magazine we use a variety of software and apps to help us with everything from managing projects to communicating with team members. With all the apps available now and more being developed daily, innovative tools are on the market to help with everything from ticket sales to volunteer management.

Here are five apps to try:

Asana – We use this in our office so everyone knows what’s happening at all times. Asana’s mission is to help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly. The technology lets individuals and groups organize tasks to manage projects more efficiently. If you are part of a team or interact with clients, a project management (PM) tool allows you to share thoughts or ideas on various projects and store all the documents related to that project or task in one place. To learn more, go to: www.asana.com

Bizzabo – This is an all-in-one event software package for event organizers. It allows users to build websites, offer attendees a mobile app, sell tickets, manage the event registration, generate marketing on social media and gather data to measure the success of an event. Bizzabo is designed for small to medium-sized markets who want everything in one tool. The user enters the content and the app integrates tasks such as on-site check-in, speaker profiles, email, and social media integration. Bizzabo offers a free trial and a variety of pricing options on packages. For more information, visit www.bizzabo.com

Evernote – This app lets individuals and teams share ideas and capture notes or designs on any device to aide in organization. While Evernote is a notes app, you also can add images, audio, scanned files, and ideas so it is easy to find when needed. The technology works on Macs, PCs and on mobile apps. The service is free, but has a paid premium option that offers more upload data each month if needed. For more information, visit www.evernote.com

Regpack – Regpack is used by thousands of organizations worldwide for event management. The software allows users to manage registration, attendance, payments and reporting in one place. Free demos are available and the software is deployed in Cloud or online. This software allows users to manage sponsors, room blocks, vendors, leads, travel and ticketing in addition to other PM uses. To find out more, go to: www.regpacks.com

Guidebook – Guidebook is a mobile application builder that lets users create an app in four steps. No technical skills are required, according to the company. Users choose from a gallery of mobile app templates, select features, and fill the fields with content. The app is then ready to publish to Google Play and the Apple App Store. Guidebook is free for the first 200 downloads, but packages are available with standard and premium features. To learn more, go to www.guidebook.com

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March Madness: Best College Hoop Cities

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By John Rezell

Check the calendar. It’s that time again. It’s all about the brackets.

As another NCAA Basketball Tournament draws near college hoop fans get wound up to the max while many others prepare for the one time each year when they have to remember just how a tournament bracket works.

I’ve always been a major college basketball fan. Having grown up in Milwaukee during the golden years of Marquette University basketball, it’s in my blood. I even savored the thrill of traveling to Oklahoma City to watch Marquette play in the 1977 tournament on its way to the championship in Al McGuire’s final season as coach.

The website WalletHub released its  NCAA Tournament Fun Facts infographic and some fun facts about hoop fans, including the best cities for college basketball fans.

To find 2017’s top spots for NCAA hoops, WalletHub crunched the numbers on 291 U.S. cities using seven key metrics ranging from the number of teams per city and the winning percentage of each to stadium capacity and social-media engagement.

Here’s the list of Best Cities:

Chapel Hill, NC
Los Angeles, CA
Durham, NC
Bloomington, IN
Philadelphia, PA
East Lansing, MI
Lawrence, KS
Lexington, K
Storrs, CT
Cullowhee, NC

WalletHub also offers some March Madness Fun Facts:
•    $7.3 Million – Annual salary of Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski (6X more than Duke’s president), making him the highest paid college basketball coach.
•    17X – Difference between the average NBA rookie’s salary ($1.99M) and the average value of a college basketball player’s tuition, room and board ($120K).
•    $8.9 Billion – Estimated amount wagered illegally on the 2016 NCAA basketball tournament.
•    3.5 Million – Extra barrels of American beer are produced each March.
•    $66+ Million – Tournament’s impact on Dayton, Ohio’s economy since 2001.

Let the fun begin!

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