Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

Archive for March 27th, 2009

Turning down the heat in Kentucky — more Gilpin death aftermath

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As reported by the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Kentucky Medical Association’s committee on sports medicine met Thursday to discuss what coaches should do in case of a heat-related illness suffered by a player. The meeting happened the same week Kentucky Gov. Steve Brashear signed a bill requiring high school coaches to take a 10-hour course taught by a doctor or another qualified professional on health safety issues, such as recognizing emergencies, first aid, and signs of heat- and cold-related conditions. Not every coach technically has to take and complete the class, but every high school athletic practice and game must be attended by at least one person who has.

This is the outgrowth of the death last August of 15-year-old Max Gilpin of Louisville after he collapsed during a hot Pleasure Ridge Park High School football practice. Former coach David Jason Stinson has pleaded not guilty to a charge of reckless homicide and is among the many being sued by Gilpin’s parents over his death. The criminal trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 31, with some coaches and coaching associations giving money to Stinson’s legal defense in fear of what a conviction would mean for their jobs.

The Kentucky bill originally proposed that ice baths and defibrillators be available at every practice, but that was dropped because of schools’ concerns on costs and physicians’ concerns that those devices aren’t always the best course of immediate treatment.

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Cheering for the enemy, in shorter pants

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The first two years of my oldest son’s brief baseball career were spent playing for a Pony League team called the Cubs. Yes, I’m in Chicago, but I’m on the south side, so many of my fellow parents were apoplectic at the thought their White Sox-indoctrinated child was going to be sullied by a Cubs logo on their little uniform. “Go Cubs!” I remember one day saying at a game. “Oh my god! I never believed I would actually say that!”

Many parents will be put into that position in the next few weeks (if they haven’t already in warm-weather areas) as uniforms are handed out and they realize their child is playing for a team they would usually affiliate with Satan. My son in T-ball is playing for the Phillies, which will arouse no antipathy where I live. But if I were, say, in Queens, it probably would. Same for a Giants fan who see his or her child in a Dodgers uniform, a Cubs fan whose progeny is wearing Cardinals, or a Red Sox fan finding the fruit of his loins sporting Yankees gear.

Here is some advice for you parents who have trouble separating the child for the uniform, or who are suppressing the urge literally to separate the child from the uniform:

1. Remember, you are not being forced to cheer for, say, Derek Jeter, Red Sox fans. They’re just kids in, to borrow a Jerry Seinfeld routine, laundry. Also, if the kid playing shortstop for your Yankees bobbles the ball, resist the temptation to yell “Jeter sucks!” Like old Looney Tunes cartoons, you should yell that into a paper bag, close it, run 10 miles away, then open up the bag and let the scream out.

2. Be sporting when people tease you about your kid playing for the enemy. Please, no punches to the face. Keep it to the shoulders.

3. Do not overcompensate by wearing gear expressing your hatred for the real team upon whose identity your child’s team is based. Unless you really mean you dislike your kid’s team.

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4. Do not fear your child will become a fan of the team you hate just because he or she is wearing that uniform. A few, well-placed, denied meals, withdrawal of affection and forced outdoor sleeping will correct your child in case of any budding interest.

5. Finally, if you want to set that uniform afire at season’s end to get rid of the stink of opposition, it’ll burn easier and quicker if you wait for your child to take if off first.