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Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Friday, September 03, 2010

"The Athlete's Sports Experience" Has Moved Locations!!!

The Athlete's Sports Experience: Making a Difference has moved to the Tribunes ChicagoNow blog network!!! Same great posts, same great content. I've uploaded all the related content/posts from this site for your convenience.

Stay with me as we talk about how to truly succeed, on the inside and out, without sacrificing your character in the process.

You can either click on the blog title in this post or click the link below:

Hope to see you there, and don't be shy - leave comments!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Not World Cup But Tempers Flare At 9 Yr. Old Youth Soccer Game: DON'T MISS THIS STORY & RADIO SHOW

Yes, skirmishes between adults do occur at prestigious events like the World Cup, however, ever hear of a fist fight breaking out at a youth sporting event?

Well, that is exactly what happened this past weekend at a girls youth soccer game.

When parental emotions run high during competitive events involving their own kids, volatile situations can result - especially when a situation occurs where one parent sees unfair play that they feel puts their own child at risk.

Now I don't want to add too much of my own flavor to this since it is such a hot topic right now in the Westchester, NY area where AM 1230 WFAS Radio will be covering the topic on this Sunday's morning radio show, "Let Them Play" at 8:00 a.m. Central Time.
If you want to know more about what happened, I encourage you to read the story and responses at the blog here: Let Them Play
And you certainly don't want to miss the show. Here is the link as it is being streamed this Sunday the 27th (8:00 a.m. Central Time):  Listen In to 1230 WFAS
If that doesn't work, try the radio station link here: AM 1230 WFAS Radio and click the Listen Live link near the top, left.
If you are a coach or a parent of young athletes, or just plain interested in what is going on in our youth sports culture, DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

WARNING: All Baseball Cheaters Using HGH - Your Time Has Come!!!

Wrigley Field at night.jpgThe article on Reuters, Improved doping test for growth hormone on its way, details a new test that reveals HGH up to two weeks after its use. Prior to this, a test would have to be given within 24 hours of an athlete's use to yield a positive response.

Great news coming from the U.S. edition of (the latest news from around the world) for all honest, ethical, hard working, intrinsically-driven major league ball players - an improved new test for human growth hormone (HGH) is just around the corner.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Sports Loses One Of Its All-Time Greats: There Will Never Be Another John Wooden!!!

NCAA Basketball: DePaul vs. UCLA
I could, as so many are, easily feature the extraordinary and unparalleled accomplishments of Coach John Wooden.

Possibly elaborate on how few coaches today, perhaps few men, could ever come close to establishing and encouraging the sound philosophical principles for which Coach Wooden was known.

Maybe even detail his life story based on the numerous accounts of a life that was truly worth living as he gave back to all ten times more than he gained.

However, I think it best to let the Coach speak for himself as his own inspirational words tell a story of a man unsurpassed in thought, unequaled in wisdom.

(Videos in the Linked Post Above)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Inspiration Knows No Gender Bounds: My Top 6 Inspirational Stories of Female Athletes

It was after one of my inspirational speaking presentations (to a high school girl's volleyball program) where I solicited feedback from the coaches attending about what they felt I might change or add to the presentation. All were very complimentary of the message given and thought it exceptionally motivating for their athletes.

However, I persisted, digging a little deeper by asking if there was anything at all, no matter how slight, that would bring even more meaning to the inspiration I provided.

After a moment or two one coach spoke up, asking if I had any stories of female athletes who had inspired. She even brought up my own 5'4" daughter playing volleyball for a top Division I volleyball program (and the adversity she faced in doing so) as an example of someone who their girls would certainly relate to, being that they are, well, all volleyball athletes.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chicago Area Suburbs Not Alone: Milford School Committee Changes Athletic Code

Supporting the information discussed in my article Current High School Athletic Codes: Are You Aware They Have Changed?, Milford High School (Massachusetts) has adjusted their athletic code policy to include consequences for athletes who attend social gatherings where alcohol is present, whether they are consuming or not.

Chairman Paul Mazzuchelli stated, "We feel those individuals who sign up for sports hold themselves at a higher level...Just being in the presence of illicit drugs or alcohol would be considered a violation of this policy."

Friday, May 07, 2010

Parents Suing Over Athletic Code Violation: Nothing Beats a Real Life Example!!!

I set my Google account to alert me to breaking stories and news dealing with sports and youth sports issues. On opening up my email this morning I received an alert on my tag "athletic code." As I perused the titles and short briefs available I key in on one specific title, Maine Family Sues Over High School Honor Code from The Boston Globe at

It should be no surprise to anyone who has read my last two posts (Current High School Athletic Codes: Are You Aware They Have Changed? and Teens, Athletes, Parents, and Drinking: What's a Parent To Do?) that this would be of immediate interest to me. I promptly click on the title and head to the article knowing full well what I am about to discover, and this article did not disappoint.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Teens, Athletes, Parents, and Drinking: What's a Parent To Do?

In keeping in line with my last piece, Current High School Athletic Codes: Are You Aware They Have Changed?, I would like you to try something for me. Using your internet browser, pull up Google and type in High School Athletes Suspended for Drinking. Now click search and peruse what comes up.

Take a good look at the number of articles indicating suspensions for underage consumption of alcohol by athletes. Not much from 2010, certainly not yet anyway, but a good number from 2009 and earlier.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Current High School Athletic Codes: Are You Aware They Have Changed?

I am not sure about all of you, but back in my high school athletic days, I remember our athletic code focusing on a few basic points. You know, passing a certain number of classes, not smoking, drinking, and/or using drugs, showing good sportsmanship, etc. Basically, not engaging in behavior that was unbecoming an athlete - vague, yet understandable. And all of it centered on the athlete themselves not participating in said activities.

Were there some that did? Of course, and it is probably misleading to use that word "some" since that would indicate a small number. Back during the 70's when I was in high school, there were many more than some who broke the athletic code. With regard to this, not much has changed over the last 35 - 40 some odd years.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sports and Ethics: The Debate Over Performance Enhancement

Steroids IV.jpgSeveral of my recent articles explore the continued debate over the use of performance enhancement substances with regard to possible baseball Hall of Fame nominees, the MLB blood testing for HGH, and suggested guidelines that differentiate between appropriate versus non-appropriate sports performance enhancement practices.

I know there are some who believe that performance enhancement drug (PED) use is no big deal, that maybe it would be best to just legalize all of it, and that the entertainment value of higher levels of performance is most important. Then there are those whose beliefs operate on a completely different plane, the opposite of that which I just described. And, of course, there are those whose thoughts on this topic fall somewhere between these two extremes.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jaylin Fleming: The Nation's Finest 10-Year-Old Basketball Player - WOW!!!

(Photo from
Chicago Tribume)
In today's Chicago Tribune, Anne Stein highlights the exceptional talents of a very young and rising basketball star (can you be a rising star at 10?) in her article The Best 10-Year-Old Basketball Player in America. On the current online version of this story, they have a video demonstrating Jaylin's basketball prowess, along with comments from his father regarding how he is being raised and where Jaylin's and his family's priorities are.

What I find most interesting as I watched the video clip, and read through the commentary in the article, is how much of what Jaylin is doing and dedicating himself to resembles what I went through as an athlete my last year of high school, only, for me, at a much older age. His passion for mastering the skills of his sport, at least at this point, is very evident, and the solid foundational upbringing of placing family, school, and religion as important pieces in his life is also obvious.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Inspirational Sports Speaking Presentation: Achieving the Impossible

Ever wonder how certain athletes, certain people, are able to accomplish objectives (goals) through adverse conditions or circumstances that look, from the outside, to be insurmountable?

I mean, how is it that people like Jim Abbott (former one-handed pitcher), Wilma Rudolph (polio survivor who was never expected to walk again, yet won 3 gold medals in track), or the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team (who went on to win gold after defeating the best hockey team on the planet, the Russians, in the semis) are able to "beat the odds." Examples like this exist at all levels of competition, and in all types of sports. Even though few in number, they are there representing a pinnacle of performance not many seem to be able to reach - or that is what most believe.

NCAA March Madness: Low Graduation Rates For Some - Why?

There has been a swirl of articles floating around on the internet pertaining to the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's statement that teams with a graduation rate below 40% should not be allowed in the NCAA tournament, something that the Chicago Sun-Times expanded on in its article, Low grad rate should bench NCAA teams, this past Sunday.

Much of the information currently presented centers its focus on basketball and March Madness stating that there are 12 teams in the men's tournament below this 40% level, some of which are as low as 8%. Sure had to scratch my head on that one. Do they go to class at the University of Maryland?

Tim Tebow: Can He Make It In The NFL?

In perusing the internet looking for various sports stories of interest, I came across several conversations about Tim Tebow and what others think he can and can't accomplish. This young quarterback from Florida is currently facing the daunting task of silencing his critics and becoming a premiere NFL quarterback, something I believe to be a goal of his based on what I have read.

Now, I certainly do not claim myself to be an expert on football (especially quarterbacks), something I am sure my colleagues where I teach, and coached, would be quick to point out given half the chance. However, I do believe I have some insight into what it takes to overcome adversity in athletics (Becoming a True Champion). Tim's story, still at its beginning, just hits home with me.

MLB Union Opposed To Blood Test for HGH: Go Figure!!!

In today's NY Daily News, it is reported that the World Anti-Doping Agency is encouraging Major League Baseball to take a stand and start testing for use of HGH (Human Growth Hormone), something the MLB players union has not been in favor of. Yea, what a surprise!

The article World Anti-Doping Agency calls on Major League Baseball to implement HGH testing by Christian Red and Nathaniel Vinton delves into the idea that the players union feels it "inappropriate" for blood testing to be done. They are much more inclined to approve a urine test but seem to be opposed to a blood test for this or any other performance-enhancing drugs (PED).

Do Not Miss: "The Long Green Line"

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to watch the award winning film, The Long Green Line by LGL Productions. A colleague of mine, a fellow teacher and coach, strongly suggested that I see it. He felt the film would help support and confirm all the positive things sports should be encouraging in others.

Now traditionally, I am a sucker for true-to-life stories that motivate; however, documentary-type films are not necessarily the kind that jumps to the top of my list. That particular point is what made this film such a nice surprise (it most certainly did not disappoint) as it details Joe Newton's incredibly successful coaching career at York High School in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, and the rest: Are They Truly Hall of Fame Material?

In this Sunday's PARADE section of the Chicago Tribune, the article Do Steroid Users Have a Place in the Hall of Fame? raises a question that holds some heated debate within a variety of sports venues, something it will do for some time to come. even has an online poll, asked from a different slant than their article title (be careful of this), for individuals to vote one way or the other. And the current statistical trend seems to be weighing heavily on the YES they should NOT be allowed into the Hall of Fame side of the equation.

For me, the answer is simple, and, aside from what some who read my posts might guess, has no direct relevance to the poor character choices these athletes have made and examples they have set.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A Tribute to John Wooden: A Role Model For Us All

The first time I ever heard the name John Wooden was during a master's course I was taking for a post-graduate degree in administration. One of my assignments was to write a synopsis on a video of Coach Wooden's principles, relating his beliefs to information being taught in the course. Before then, I really had no idea who John Wooden was - let alone his coaching accomplishments. He was not someone I had ever come across. Boy, what a small world I lived in, right?

Pushing the video into my VCR, I sat back on my couch, with a pad of paper and pencil to jot down some notes, and proceeded to watch what I thought would be a mundane lecture on success, leadership, or something else along those lines. However, what I got was so much more.

Monday, March 01, 2010

College Recruits Getting Younger and Younger: Kindergarten the next great recruiting venue!!!

Ok, let me make sure I have this right. According to ESPN Los Angeles, Sills, 13, commits to USC, and MaxPreps, Delaware seventh-grader is a USC commit, we now have 13-year-old student athletes making college commitments. Is this for real? Do 13-year-olds even know what size underwear their mom buys them, let alone what college will be the best fit five years into their future?

Look, I am all about dedication, commitment, setting high goals, and becoming the best one can be; however, adding to that the challenge of college decision-making at such a young age? Not so sure about that one.


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