Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

A Youth Sports Blog

Posts Tagged ‘obesity

Tim Brown wants to take candy from your baby

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ESPN today [March 23] posted an interview with shoulda-been-a-first-ballot-Hall-of-Famer wide receiver Tim Brown, and the second question was:

What cause is most important to you?

Right now, I’m working diligently on childhood obesity and trying to help prevent that. We’ve teamed up with youth sports organizations all around the country, trying to change their fundraising habits. A lot of these organizations fundraise by selling cookies and candies and all that kind of stuff. So we’ve brought in some alternative ideas for them to be able to use that would actually produce more money for them and also be a lot lighter on the belt. … Childhood obesity turns into adult obesity, and then diabetes is a risk.

Yes, that’s right, folks: Tim Brown, one of the most dynamic receivers of all time, has been reduced to taking candy from your children.

Tim Brown was here. (Photo from Flickr)

Actually, for the last few years Brown, through his Locker81 Fundraising Solutions, has tried to sell youth sports organizations on branding their own gift cards or prepaid Visa cards that would kick some cabbage to the local league every time someone made a purchase with those cards. Or, for even more rewards, the cards could be used to purchase other noncandy items Brown’s organization could get you.

I’m completely for this. Not because I have a deep, overriding concern for childhood obesity. Hey, it takes a lot more than kids buying and selling candy bars to create an obese population. I don’t even hate being approached by kids in downtown Chicago selling me M&M’s for “the team,” the name of such team never revealed.

No, I support it because every year through my local baseball and softball league, I’m forced to sell at least one box of candy for each kid, or pay $40 a box NOT to sell it.

With two kids, I’m up to $80 to not go through the hassle of trying to figure out on whom I can pawn off candy, a task made more important because it seems like everyone else in the world is selling candy at about the same time. My 4-year-old daughter likely will play T-ball next year as a 5-year-old, and then I’ll be stuck with $120 on top of what I’ll already have to pay to have three kids in softball and baseball.

So, Tim Brown, please sell my league on your gift cards. It seems like an easier and more painless way that telling a parent volunteer that, no, I’m not selling candy, and I’ll have your check soon. Maybe I’ll use the gift card to buy myself, oh, I don’t know, a candy bar.

Written by rkcookjr

March 23, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Sports parenting trends for 2010 (Not! Not! Not! and Hot! Hot! Hot!)

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177850846_f693a08122If it’s year-end, then that means the turn of the calendar instantly makes passe some of the activities you participated in so intensely over the past 12 months. Mainly, that’s because we in the media (I think I count) needs some space-filler at year’s end, and a new way to sell you old things, so that’s why it’s time for the official Your Kid’s Not Going Pro Not! Not! Not! and Hot! Hot! Hot! Sports Parenting Trends for 2010.

How do I know what makes the official Your Kid’s Not Going Pro Not! Not! Not! and Hot! Hot! Hot! Sports Parenting Trends for 2010? The same way everyone else makes their lists — by looking at what appears to be hot in 2009, and declaring the opposite so for 2010. (See, I even put not before hot — opposites!) And, to be really witty, making just a slight twist to what was hot, enough that you can do mostly the same thing but can feel bad for not doing it in the right frame of mind. In other words, I pull them out of my ass.

The list:

Not! Not! Not!: Helicopter parenting — Hot! Hot! Hot!: F-16 parenting

Not! Not! Not!: Yelling at your kid’s coach — Hot! Hot! Hot!: Making nasty comments about your kid’s coach in your Facebook status update

Not! Not! Not!: Win at all costs — Hot! Hot! Hot!: Win at a discount (we’re in a recession, you know)

Not! Not! Not!: Tommy John surgery for your overworked 14-year-old — Hot! Hot! Hot!: Drool cup for your multiply concussed 14-year-old

Not! Not! Not!: Every kid gets a trophy — Hot! Hot! Hot!: Every kid gets creatine

Not! Not! Not!: Cities using youth sports as an economic development tool — Hot! Hot! Hot!: Cities using illegal child labor as an economic development tool

Not! Not! Not!: Coaches getting arrested for fondling players — Hot! Hot! Hot!: Coaches getting arrested for selling drugs to players, then fondling them

Not! Not! Not!: Spending lots of money on your kids’ traveling teams — Hot! Hot! Hot!: Picking just one kid for the travel team, then spending all your money on him or her (we’re in a recession, you know)

Not! Not! Not!: Positive reinforcement — Hot! Hot! Hot!: Neglect

Not! Not! Not!: Sports leagues for 3- and 4-year-olds — Hot! Hot! Hot!: Sports leagues for prenatals

Not! Not! Not!: Childhood obesity — Hot! Hot! Hot!: Childhood morbid obesity

Not! Not! Not!: Paying user fees for school sports — Hot! Hot! Hot!: Saving your money for club sports (we’re in a recession, you know)

Written by rkcookjr

December 27, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Parents overestimate child fitness levels, guv'nor

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Anamarie Regino

Image by cliff1066™ via Flickr

Blimey! British mums and dads are blinkered into thinking their little yobs are running about when their lazy little gits really never push their nubby fingers away from the bangers and mash.

Oh, sorry about the faux Cockney. Let me rephrase it in American: British parents believe their children are exercising more than they actually are, thus putting them at greater risk of obesity. From the Beeb, er, the BBC:

Parents have big misconceptions about the amount of exercise their children take part in, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

It says 71% of parents polled believe their children are “active enough,” but only one in 10 of the children say they are doing the recommended daily amount [activity for at least 60 minutes per day]. …

The BHF questioned nearly 1,000 UK parents with children aged eight to 15. … It produced a report called Couch Kids which shows that while the number of obese children has risen since the mid-1990s, there have been no major changes in children’s physical activity levels over the past decade. …

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the BHF, said: “Mums and dads need to take the blinkers off about how active kids need to be in order to keep their hearts healthy.”

Hey, Dr. Knapton, get a period and speak in a language we all can understand!

[youtubevid id=”WXfs87baS4U”]

Jarvis Cocker also is extremely upset about the rising obesity rate in Britain.

Parents worldwide are pretty good at overestimating how healthy their little darlings are, figuring they’re Hercules when they’re more of a Klump. For example, a 2008 U.S. study found that parents of children with type 2 diabetes (the kind you’re at risk to get if you’re overweight) underestimated their child’s weight. (So did the child.)

Parents’ recognition of their child’s exercise activity and weight is like people’s opinions of Congress versus those of their own Congressmen: everyone else is bad, but my child is just fine. It doesn’t help, at least in the United States, that physical education in schools over the years has been a casualty of cuts for budgetary and academic reasons, but you could name thousands of other, legitimate societal reasons for obesity and the need for greater activity for children.

But it looks like the place to start is for parents to be the first ones to encourage more activity, whether through organized sports or no, rather than less, and to tell kids to get their arse outside. Bloody hell, I just can’t stay away from the British slang.

Making youth sports less taxing

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In Australia, there’s a movement to get tax breaks to help pay your kids’ fees for participating in organized athletics.

From the Northern Star, the newspaper in Lismore, New South Wales (three hours’ drive south of Brisbane and 10 hours north of Sydney):

Far North Coast parents and sporting identities have called on the Federal Government to broaden tax deductions for working families to include affiliation fees to sporting clubs, thereby encouraging participation, reducing the impact on the hip pocket and combating childhood obesity.

The Federal Government allowed the associated costs of sending children to school, such as uniforms and computers, to be a tax deduction in sweeping changes last year and many believe sport is the next frontier.

Dr David Arthur, a senior lecturer at the College of International Sports Management at Southern Cross University, says the cost of sport is becoming prohibitive for many families.

“Making sporting fees a tax break is a great idea,” he said.

“You could possibly tie that in with the private health system somehow, I don’t know. It would help the government to combat poor health and allow more people to have their kids involved in sport.

2256838871_5a376632c9_mWithout a tax break the child on the right will never resemble the one on the left. Think of the little people.

Tax dollars to support your neighbor’s kid on the travel baseball team? It’s closer than you’d think. Specifically, north of the border. Beginning Sept. 1, 2007, Canada instituted a tax break on the first $500 of fees for a child’s approved sports and activities. Basically, if you’re a Canadian parent, you get a 15 percent discount come tax time on that first $500 — and that’s per child, not total. And that’s just from the federal government. Depending on your province, you can get a similar credit at that level. In Nova Scotia, the credit extends to adult sports as well. There is a movement to get the child sports credit extended to adults nationwide, figuring it’ll save at least 135 million loonies a year in health costs.

773160242_623bd5c1c1The money we save can buy us more beer, backbacon and smokes, eh? Koo-LROO-kookookookookoo-KOOOOO!!!!

Canada is not the only country to give out these kind of breaks. For example, in Malaysia you can take a tax deduction on the cost of your sporting equipment.

The Canadian plan has its flaws. The $500 available to deduct isn’t much, given how much some sports will run you. It also doesn’t factor in equipment purchases or travel. At least in the first year of  the deduction’s existence,  it did nothing to turn around plummeting youth sports participation rates or reduce obesity, but I haven’t found any formal studies done recently to find out whether anything has changed since then. Plus, even if a deduction did increase youth sports participation, at least in the United States obesity rates have risen in parallel with participation rates. So merely increasing participation doesn’t guarantee reduced childhood obesity.

However, maybe those Canuckleheads are on to something. In the United States we allow owners of college sports stadium skyboxes to deduct 80 percent of the expense of owning it for the purpose of not watching the game. It would seem our tax breaks would be wiser handled by allowing, say, parents to deduct 80 percent of the expense of youth sports fees and equipment. (The recently passed stimulus package, like the current tax code, was very forthright that no tax breaks or money should be used to pay for athletics. Though the current code is the one that counts skyboxes as an educational contribution, and thus deductible.)

If nothing else, a tax break would help parents who are being priced out of leagues, particularly in this economy, and put our tax money to a more positive use. By god, are we going to let Australia beat us to the punch?

(Um, yes, probably.)

Written by rkcookjr

March 18, 2009 at 12:55 pm