Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

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Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin

Despite recession, the kids' games go on

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Definition of  a city in trouble: people come to your town to do pieces where they express amazement your kids are still playing youth sports and doing things besides foraging through trash bins for sustenance.

ESPN’s Outside the Lines is doing this in Janesville and Beliot, Wisc., hit hard by industrial cutbacks, including reports by Mark Fainaru-Wada, he of Barry Bonds-BALCO-“Game of Shadows” fame, on Beloit youth baseball and the effort to raise money for a Janesville youth baseball complex.

I can’t be too flip about this idea and effort. I did the same a month ago in Elkhart, Ind., for’s “The Elkhart Project,” which is devoted to a city that, thanks to the RV industry hitting a brick wall in this economy, went from 5 percent to nearly 20 percent unemployment in about six months. My story, I am told, is due to come this week, and it will get into why youth sports seems to be unaffected by the recession — why, in fact, it seems to be strenghtening kids’ sports — but also why that might not be able to last in some particularly hard-hit areas, no matter how much the parents try.

Like I’m sure the ESPN folks discovered in southern Wisconsin, the resolve of the people in Elkhart against a stunning economic turnaround is inspiring. You come to realize that despite the nuttiness you hear so often about sports parenting, the vast, vast majority of parents look at sports at something that can be a positive influence on their kids for whatever they do in life — with the full understanding what they will do is not going to be sports. It explains why youth sports is one of the last things a family will give up when times are tight.

Cheerleading: it’s a contact sport

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So says Charlie Sheen. And the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

It is denying an injured cheerleader the right to sue the male spotter who missed catching her during a practice routine, as well as the right to sue her school district and the district’s insurer.

At issue in the case was whether cheerleaders qualify for immunity under a Wisconsin law that prevents participants in contact sports from suing each other for unintentional injuries.

It does not spell out which sports are contact sports. The District 4 Court of Appeals ruled last year cheerleading doesn’t qualify because there’s no contact between opposing teams.

But all seven members of the Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to overturn that decision. In the opinion, Justice Annette Ziegler said cheerleading involves “a significant amount of physical contact between the cheerleaders.” As an example, she cited stunts in which cheerleaders are tossed in the air.

If you’ve ever seen cheerleaders tossing each other around at a football or basketball game at the college level or younger, you realize your child would be much safer taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from a young Troy Polamalu or taking a charge from Shaquille O’Neal than they would doing 25-story pyramids or being tossed over the Sears Tower or whatever other death-defying routines the clearly sadistic cheerleader coach has mandated. The AP story to which I linked notes there have been 100 “catastrophic” cheerleading injuries since 1982.


Sure, you’re laughing now, boys. But you won’t be laughing when her broken self sees you in court.

Hopefully, this ruling will force high school football coaches to substitute cheerleading for dancing as the implicitly pansy-ass contact sport that they contrast to football as the not-pansy-ass collision sport.

Written by rkcookjr

January 28, 2009 at 12:31 pm