Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Youth Sports Travel Destination Tournaments: The Original Hunger Games

I went to see the Hunger Games this weekend with my daughter CC and my wife. The movie was great. During the movie, I could not stop thinking about the similarities between the Hunger Games and travel destination select sports tournaments. There were so many parallels to the baseball tournament that my son competed in at Cooperstown Dreams Park.

Here's a quick synopsis of the movie for those who have not seen the movie or read the book. Don't worry, I do not give too much away.
The story is based in the near future. A collapsed North America was replaced by Panem, a country that was divided into 12 districts. An over-reaching and intimidating government controlled every aspect of life including food consumption (sounds pretty plausible doesn't).
Every year, one teenage boy and girl from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games were held to intimidate the subjugated districts and quell any thoughts of rebellion. The amount of food consumed by a family during the previous year determines the number of lottery chances each kid in the family receives.  
Once the lottery determines the contestant pool, each of the 24 contestants is whisked off to the capital and lavished with amazing food, clothes and accommodations. It's a far cry from the meager existence that they endure in their fenced in district.  
During the pre-game ceremonies, the participants are paraded in front of fans who are eager to bet on their favorite participant. The contestants participate in a skills competition to gain favor with fans with hopes that adoring fans will provide help during the competition (medicine or advice).
When the games begin, the 24 participants are released into a large wooded fenced in reserve and forced to kill or be killed. The games are televised throughout Panem and the citizens are forced to watched. For some it was a fate to be feared, but for others it was an event they had trained for their entire lives. These eager young killers considered the award was worth the risk because last teen alive is revered forever. 
A very young teen named Prim was selected as the mining district's female representative, however, Katniss, her brave older sister, volunteered to take her place. Katniss had strong survival instincts and was deft with a bow and arrow. Prin would not have lasted 1 minute. 
Katniss was pitted against bigger and stronger representatives who had trained for this their whole lives. 
We sat on the edge of our seats as we shared a 12,000 calorie large bucket of buttered popcorn. Ironically, the amount of popcorn we consumed would have doomed my kids to participate in the Hunger Games.

Here are the similarities between The Hunger Games and Destination Travel Sports Tournaments like the Cooperstown Dreams Park youth baseball tournament that my son competed in several years ago.

1) Young kids are whisked away to a far away land to compete against other kids from different regions.
2) The kids compete in a secured fenced in compound with no chance of escape. There's no way to get out of the Cooperstown Dreams Park compound.
3) Before the games start, the kids are paraded around a stadium in front of a

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Youth Baseball: Baseball is Back

Wordless Wednesday

The Main Point

The highs and the lows, the wows and the oohs, the nice hops and the unfortunate drops, the cheers and the leers, the tears and the smiles between small ears, the misses and the might - it all starts again.

Baseball is back.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Youth Sports: Strip Club Sponsors Local Little League

A struggling economy and over regulation has left a local little league's budget a little exposed. 

The budget strapped Lennox School District in California recently doubled field usage fees for a local baseball youth league. Rising maintenance costs and the need to provide security were cited as reasons.

They also banned the league from selling grilled food at the games. For years, the league had counted on sales of grilled food for revenue. The Lennox School District was concerned about public heath - actually they were concerned about financial liability. The Superintendent says that the school district cannot ensure that the league volunteers will handle and cook the food properly. The risk of punitive lawsuits to the school district outweighed the benefit.

These two moves put the season in jeopardy until the Jet Strip Gentleman's Club donated $1,200. Despite the dire situation and the club manager's assertion that the Jet Strip is community and family-oriented, the league returned the funds.

The season looked like it was going to be a big bust, until the publicity from the situation raised awareness of the league's plight.  Donations poured in from more appropriate sources and the season was saved.

This club donated the money without any G-strings attached. They did not demand a big promotional sign at the games. They did not ask for naming rights of the Field - Jet Strip Gentleman's Club Little League Park. Heck, they did not even ask if their girls could perform on the foul poles between innings. Several parents in the district did not mind that the money came from the strip club - money is money. What are your thoughts?

What about bars?

When my son was nine, his team played against a team sponsored by a local watering hole. Each kid on the tavern team donned a yellow shirt. They had their first names affixed on the back of the jersey over a large number. Emblazoned on the front of the jersey was Linda's Bar in classic baseball script writing. When I first saw the uniforms I wondered who in the world would put that on a little league jersey. Then I looked into the crowd and stopped wondering. 

I wrote about that night in my post called Cat Fight in the Stands. 

The Main Point

The world has tuned completely upside down when a strip club owner looks good and a school district looks bad. Somethings have not changed - strip clubs are recession proof, we need tort reform, US schools are a financial hot mess, sex sells and all PR is good PR.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Youth Soccer: One Day I'm Going to be Great

Wordless Wednesday

I can do this - age 5
I'm Confident - age 11

The Main Point

A message to all youth sports parents. Enjoy it - they grow up fast.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Amusing Ways Youth Sports Parents Deal with Rising Gas Prices

There is nothing funny about rising gas prices, except how we deal with it. See some amusing ways to deal with it.

The cost of gas reached an all time "month of March" high yesterday. Experts are predicting $5.00 per gallon by the summer. This is a scary number for youth sports parents. There are many reasons for these high prices including; 1) high demand for energy from emerging countries like China and India, 2) the shut down of several US refineries, 3) the seasonal move to higher cost summer blends, 4) the unrest in the middle east, especially in Iran and 5) a US government that has been short-sighted regarding energy policy for over 40 years.

If you were told you had to pay $7.62* for each practice, would you sign your kid up for sports?

* Assumes you drive a Honda Odyssey with MPG of about 20 mpg (hwy / city), practice is 10 miles from your house, you do not stay at the practice for the entire 2 hours - instead you drive back and forth twice.

The Main Point

If behaviors don't change in our government, then youth sports parents will need to change. Here are some interesting suggestions to deal with the rising cost of gas.
  1. Youth sports parents can charge their kids and any carpool kids a baggage fee for each trip. Little Bobby better fit his baseball bag under the seat or pay up. Tip for hockey moms - charge more for those oversized bags.
  2. Youth sports parents can stay at each practice for the entire 2 hours. This cuts the per practice cost in half to $3.81. Beware - this is like torture for many parents. Youth sports parents reveal deep dark secrets when tortured - like their disdain for the coach, some snotty kid on the team or the Hot Mom in the toddler sized spirit wear and push up bra.
  3. Youth sports parents can limit food service in the car. Yep - No more drive through visits to McDonalds for trips under 2 hours. You can provide a 1 oz bag of peanuts, a third of a can of soda with ice and a cocktail

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Youth Hockey: Dad Distracts Goalie With Laser Light

Crazy Youth Sports Parent Series

Just when you think that you have seen it all in youth sports.

Yesterday, a crazy youth sports dad brought a green light laser pen to his daughter's high school hockey game and aimed the laser into the eyes of the opposing goalie. He was hoping to distract the goalie and thus create an advantage for his kid's team.

He humiliated himself and his daughter.

The Main Point

Participation in youth sports is so memorable for most kids. Some remember great games or great plays. And some just remember what an ass their dad or mom was during games.

Dad - Mom, Don't provide the memorable actions - let your kid do that during competition.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Youth Basketball: The Confidence to Wear Pink Shoes

Wordless Wednesday

The Main Point

Who do you think is the most confident basketball player on this team?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Youth Sports: The Reality of NCAA Scholarships (Part 3)

All State in athletics + National Honors Society in academics = Acceptance into a great university and perhaps a scholarship

I always remind my kids that academic achievement is more important than athletic achievement. I tell them that participation in sports is fleeting, but knowledge will take them anywhere they want to go. Even if the place they want to go is to college to play sports. Ironic isn't.

There are two reasons why.

1) Athletic ability can open doors to great academic universities.  If your son or daughter has great grades and high ACT / SAT scores, his / her application will be considered by the admissions staff along with countless others just like it. Athletic ability can be the difference maker.  If a coach wants your son / daughter to play a particular sport for the school, they will lobby the admissions office to accept an athlete. Some good student athletes who could not get an athletic scholarship at a Division I school, may find a place on a roster and academic merit money at a Division III school. (Division III schools are not allowed to offer athletic scholarships)

2) Academic ability can open doors to NCAA locker rooms. In my recent post regarding the Reality of NCAA Scholarships (Part 1), I wrote about the limited number of scholarships for certain low revenue generating sports. For example, a women's soccer squad gets 12 scholarships for 28 roster spots. I explained that many collage coaches have to be creative with the limited scholarship dollars allocated to their program. They often split one scholarship 2 or more ways to attract as many impact players as possible. Great student-athletes can provide a coach another option. A friend of mine has a daughter who is a talented volleyball player. She was offered an athletic scholarship. The coach knew that his new recruit was a fantastic student with outstanding ACT scores, so he encouraged the recruit to apply for academic scholarships. She won an academic scholarship, so the coach was able to reallocate the athletic scholarship money to another player. So if two players competing for one roster spot are equal in ability, the coach will likely choose the player with the best chance to earn an academic scholarship.

The Main Point

Message to youth sports athletes: Study as much as you practice and you will be on a college court (field or pitch) before you know it.

My daughter CC playing during the
halftime of the Xavier Women's Basketball Game
#6 Xavier vs GW 2011



Related Posts with Thumbnails