Archive for September, 2009

Profanity in youth sports: An unavoidable reality?

I was curious to see what kind of reaction I would have with this topic, and was somewhat pleasantly surprised to hear from so many coaches and parents who feel that young athletes SHOULD be held accountable if they utter four-letter words in the heat of action.

That is, we all know that there are ups-and-downs in sports, and that it’s easy to lose one’s self-control when it comes to letting one’s tongue slip. But the vast majority of the callers this AM felt that kids clearly need to be cautioned by their parents and their coaches if they allow obscenities to be heard.

One caller, Gary from Staten Island, reported that he tells his players each year that swearing is just not acceptable on his team, and that he won’t stand for it. Other callers felt the same way. Personally, I thought it was a bit distressing that some said that the young kids just didn’t know it was poor form to cuss at games. Nobody had ever told them.

Again, it all comes back to what the kids hear at home, and what the kids assume is acceptable. And it falls upon the coaches to set the right tone for these kids. I know society evolves all the time, but this is something very jarring and disturbing about going to a kids’ game and hearing 11 and 12-year-olds curse openly like drunken sailors. Enough is enough!

PS –  I thought Dr. Vinod Somareddy’s comments about preventing ACL injuries in girls and women were fascinating and vitally important. If you have a daughter who plays sports, be sure to check out my interview with Dr. Somareddy on the WFAN.com website.

Coaches’ camps, clinics, and private training sessions: It all changes when cash is involved

Look, I fully understand the desire for a HS coach to make a few extra dollars by running a summer camp for his/her players, or even offering to tutor a kid in the off-season for pay.

But even though these practices have become rampant pretty much everywhere, I must tell you that they sound alarm bells for me. Because when a coach, in effect, starts to take money from a kid or a kid’s parent to be trained, or for the key’s tuition to attend the coach’s summer camp, that sets up the potential for all sorts of conflicts of interest.

Such as: “Coach, I paid you good money to work with my daughter this past spring…but she’s not on the starting team. Why did I pay you all the money?” Or “Coach, my kid is playing travel baseball in August. He wants to come to your soccer camp, but there’s a conflict in his schedule…will he be penalized that he doesn’t come to your soccer camp?”

You get the idea….these are unnecessary issues that coaches and parents just don’t need. I would ask local school boards and HS athletic directors to review all of their policies regarding their coaches and their getting paid for outside gigs.

HS football coach on trial for “reckless homicide”

The tragic case of HS football player Max Gilpin is raising concern throughout the country with coaches at all levels. Just imagine that you’re working your team hard, making them sweat through wind sprints on a hot day, when one of them collapses, vomits, and then passes out. He falls into a coma, and dies three days later from heat stroke.

That’s what happened last August in Louisville, KY, and the local prosecutor decided to charge a popular HS football coach with the crime of “reckless homicide.” As we discussed on Sunday, this is a case with real national implications. Not only does this coach look at the threat of going to jail, but he’s also looking at a major multi-million civil lawsuit as well. And as several callers said, this has to be yet another major concern about going into coaching as a profession.

Steve Kallas, wearing his lawyer’s cap, pointed out that the testimony in the case so far seems to be favoring the coach, and Steve’s sense was that the coach would probably be found innocent. But who knows what the jury will decide.

As one caller from LI pointed out, this is a situation where the coach really should have use some common sense. It was 94 degrees that fateful day, and the coach was having the kids run extra sprints. Whether any water was available is in debate. But the bottom line is that some common sense might have kept young football player Max Gilpin alive. What’s your sense? Should this coach go to jail?

Wake up Little League, and Do the Right thing!

It just galls me that LL Baseball continues to pat themselves

on their back by trumpeting their 85 pitch count limit….

when they don’t tell you that during the LL World Series

in Williamsport, young kids 13 and under are not only

allowed to throw an endless assortment of curveballs

and sliders, but UNDER LL RULES, each kid can throw

on two days’ rest and can throw up to 255 pitches in a

week! As Steve Kallas has pointed out on his blog,

the pitch counts that these developing arms rack up

is staggering….and here’s LL Baseball saying that

it’s not curveballs that hurt a kid’s arm, but the NUMBER

OF PITCHES! Well, if that’s true, how come these kids

can pitch so much? Nobody from Williamsport or

ESPN seems to want to answer that question.

Then there’s Mike Mussina on ESPN saying that he’d like

to see the number of HR’s cut down in the World Series.

Well, why not start with getting rid of the aluminum

bats? Mike, who’s on the LL Board of Directors, has

publicly said that there’s no difference between wood

and aluminum bats. Huh??

I know some of you must have become tired with my

rants about LL and the issues I have with them regarding

pitch counts, their blessing of curveballs, their use

of aluminum bats, and so on…and in truth, I think

the concept of LL Baseball is great. But please, let’s be

honest here. Safety is NOT a top concern to LL – it’s

all become a business enterprise, fueled by licensing

and TV money.  Next time you have to fork over

$100 to register your kid in LL, just bear in mind

that LL Baseball (according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo

Sports.com) has more than $75 MILLION in cash

reserves. Enough said.