Your Kid’s Not Going Pro

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Posts Tagged ‘YouTube

Locker boxing: The unofficial varsity sport

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My kids don’t play hockey or lacrosse, or for that matter don’t play any organized sport that involves a locker room. So I must admit I’m behind the times when it comes to the phenomenon known as locker boxing.

Locker boxing — or helmet boxing, as the Wikipedia entry is listed — involves athletes donning their sports’ gloves and helmets for a round of fisticuffs in the locker room. Well, that definition seems obvious, doesn’t it? You try to hit your opponent in the head repeatedly until he’s knocked down, gives up, or has his helmet knocked off. It combines two classics: the stupidity of teenagers, and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.

Locker boxing, a common nonhockey and nonlacrosse cause of concussions among hockey and lacrosse players, got back into the news recently thanks to the lacrosse team at Gowanda High School outside Buffalo. WKBW-TV breathlessly reported that it obtained videos of Gowanda lacrossers (or whatever they’re called) engaged in some locker boxing — as if you couldn’t do a search for “locker boxing” and YouTube and come up with a zillion videos.

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This one was added a mere hour before I typed this.

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Whomever posted this made it clear who was fighting by, you know, posting names.

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Yup, girls do it, too.

Unlike, apparently, the videos I posted above, locker boxing actually ended up causing some trouble in Gowanda. Originally the superintendent canceled the lacrosse team’s season after getting wind of the videos, dated April 29. Then under pressure from parents of the 15 team members not present in the video, the school board reversed that decision and suspended only the five players fighting and/or making videos of the fights for the rest of the season. The coach, however, is out for the rest of the year, according to WKBW, so he won’t be at the team’s final game May 25.

From WKBW:

Locker Boxing [sic] was banned by the Greater Toronto Hockey League almost three years ago, but recent news reports suggest that it may be making a comeback in locker rooms across Canada and the U.S. – sometimes with coaches watching from the locker room sidelines.

School officials said [Coach Roy] Logan was not present during the April 29 incident.

Despite the ban, there is still locker boxing in the Greater Toronto Hockey League, and there are still coaches watching it from the locker room sidelines.

As bad things that can happen in a locker room go, I guess there are things that are worse. Still, what the hell, teenagers? Forget your health and general welfare. Don’t you know how much your parents paid for that equipment? Christ!

You might wonder, with all the shenanigans happening in school sports locker rooms, how come there isn’t more supervision? I’ll give you two words: USA Swimming. The problem with, say, assigning a coach to hang out in a locker room while strapping teens undress and shower together is the line of perverts that would form to volunteer for the supervisory job. I’m not sure whether a coach needs to walk in every few minutes (not regularly — you don’t want the kids to know your patterns) to make sure things are good. Honestly, I’m not sure what you could do, other than what Gowanda did — suspend players and coaches.

You don’t need to install video cameras to track locker boxing. Go to YouTube, and you’ll see the kids have that covered.

Written by rkcookjr

May 20, 2010 at 11:31 pm

Another next LeBron added to the basketball prodigy pile

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I’d be more excited about this Atlanta Journal-Constitution story profiling 10-year-old basketball wunderkind Dakota Simms if it wasn’t all so depressingly familiar. Headline: 10-year-old trains for NBA while parents really get a workout.

He’s a sports brand in the making:  Pint-sized, but powerful. Confident, but not cocky.

Fourth-grader Dakota Simms is training for an NBA payday though he has never actually played organized basketball. At 9, he showed off his skills as a mystery shooter during a break at an Atlanta Hawks game that earned him network sports appearances and national headlines., a Turkish publication, dubbed Dakota “Mini [Michael] Jordan.”

What’s all the fuss about? Dakota’s coaches, who volunteer their time because they believe he has natural talent, say he’s made 289,000 three-point shots in three years and averages 50 every five minutes during practice.

Terence “Coach T” and Yoshi Simms of Norcross say their son, who turned 10 in February, has received offers from talent scouts looking to make him a star, but they don’t want him to move too fast, too soon. They say a California casting agent asked them to relocate to be on call for acting and modeling auditions. An Atlanta sports agent has called, as have coaches with the Amateur Athletic Union basketball league.

“We were not just totally ready to pick up and move to California,” said Dakota’s mother. But she is considering signing with a local talent agent for showbiz gigs.

The video below, taken from a CNN profile that aired in November 2009, shows that indeed Dakota Simms is a very impressive ball player for his age.

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However, so is Jaylin Fleming.

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And so is Jashaun Agosto.

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And so are scads of other 4-, 5-, 6-, 7-, 8- and 9-year-old basketball prodigies. And they’re not all boys.

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In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about Dakota Simms, his father notes that Ellen DeGeneres asked about him, but she does that with all the hot young basketball prospects. Apparently she did the same with Anthony Iglesia, already linked to above as a 7-year-old hotshot, shooting with Michael Jordan.

This is not to denigrate Dakota Simms. He works hard, loves basketball, and can legitimately talk about the NBA more than the million other 9-year-olds who’ll dream they’ll play there. Instead, this is about the community that grows around a hotshot when he’s barely out of diapers, with people who may or may not have the best interests of the child in mind. In that line from the story about Simms — “Dakota’s coaches, who volunteer their time because they believe he has natural talent” — in so many cases it’s more likely “Player X’s coaches, who volunteer their time because they believe they’ll get a huge payoff someday as part of his posse.” (As an aside, one of his coaches, 6-foot-11 Cheyenne Throckmorton, has started social networks for tall people, and people with mohawk haircuts.)

From the AJC story, it appears Dakota Simms’ parents are handling things about as well as possible. They’re not forcing the kid at gunpoint into the gym — he loves to play. They are holding him back a little bit for public consumption, perhaps some wisdom on marketing gleaned from his mother’s experience as a public relations professional. (She also is starting a magazine aimed at 10- to 17-year-old girls that promotes itself thusly: “Take the self empowerment from O, The Oprah Magazine, combine it with the eclectic fashion of Vogue and you have one of the greatest publications ever put into circulation.” So Dakota isn’t the only reach-for-the-stars type in his family.)

But the danger is twofold. One is outlined in the excellent biography of Pete Maravich written by Mark Kriegel, Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich, in which your young prodigy grows up to be an alternately dull and weird human being because of obsession with one thing and one thing only. (Kriegel’s book, which really is about Pete’s father Press, a college basketball coach, is one of the greatest books written about sports parenting.) That’s best worst-case scenario.

The worst worst-case is that the prodigy grows up believing he (or she) is absolutely the greatest, gets fawned over at a tender age, and flames out because it turns out the rest of the sporting world caught up in size and talent — or that no one around that prodigy ever thought about the possibility there might be 100 more like him right at that moment.

I won’t judge where Dakota Simms and his parents stand, because I don’t know. But this message is as much for the coaches, would-be agents and fanboys and fangirls trying to promote a young talent, and the local media all too willing to do gee-whiz pieces on any 8-year-old who can dribble between his or her legs.

And, this message is for anyone who puts up YouTube videos of any young athlete, in any sport, with titles like BEST 7-YEAR-OLD QB EVA!!!!!!! This was a trend that took off in 2007 after video of a 12-year-old (initially hyped as an 8-year-0ld) Los Alamitos, Calif., football prodigy named Cody Paul got tens of millions of views, combining every remixed version.

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Things happen when your child shows up as a sports prodigy on YouTube, and people notice him or her. One is that you get some oohs and aahs, and maybe you do get a college coach or Ellen DeGeneres calling. Another is that you get tasteless responses in comments and video responses like, simply put, “Better Than Cody Paul.”

And the other thing — well, it’s an unknown. But how does that hype play on the child athlete, especially if he or she doesn’t turn out to be the star that everyone saw on YouTube? If this commenter is to be believed, Cody Paul, now a sophomore, is 5-foot-3, 145 pounds. Maybe he will be the greatest, very small running back the world has ever seen. But even if Cody Paul were 6-foot-3, it’s got to be tough to live up to that preteen hype, and you know there are kids gunning for him just for that reason.

You know what will really make a great athlete, the next LeBron, one of Dakota’s favorite NBA players? What’s most incredible about LeBron James is not his amazing 6-foot-8, 250-pound frame, or his basketball IQ. It’s that LeBron at an early age was hyped as the next Michael Jordan, and at every step he actually exceeded expectations. There’s no book on how to handle that hype, or to know what a child can handle it. But one way everyone surrounding a youth prodigy can handle that hype is not to feed it.

Written by rkcookjr

March 24, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Precocious hockey kid's finger-wag will never die

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The beauty of having children is that they can lecture you like you’re a dumbass. Like how my 12-year-old son the other night, for his science class, had to interview numerous people about whether their habits were Earth-friendly, as if I needed someone who sucks power through a garden hose with his Xbox giving me an implied guilt trip because I have the temerity to drive my car a whopping four miles a day, round-trip, to get to my mass-transit train that takes me to work so I can afford to pay his electric bill.

Another 12-year-old boy, Miller Donnelly of Sudbury, Ont., has taken child harangues to the older generation to a new level, or should I say the 266,000-odd YouTube viewers (and counting) have done so with “The Magic Hockey Helmet,” which got a recent push from young Miller’s interview with ParentDish. “The Magic Hockey Helmet” is Donnelly, when he was 9, talking in full Canadian accent about how aboot the time he puts on a hawkey helmet, he magically turns into a 20-year-old (minus-6.67 Celsius), with people screaming and cursing at him.

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Listen, kid, I know full well how to act at a game without your cute little spiel. By the way, I must say, if you’re playing like a 20-year-old, it’s probably because you handle the puck like a major junior with multiple undiagnosed concussions! Holy fucking shit, kid! You’re like a convenience store — no checks! JUST PASS THE PUCK ALREADY, ASSHOLE! MOUNT RUSHMORE CALLED — THEY SAID THEY NEED YOU TO GIVE BACK THE FUCKING STONE YOU CALL YOUR HANDS!!!!!!

I mean, really, where do these kids get off telling adults how to behave?

Written by rkcookjr

December 3, 2009 at 1:25 am

YouTube's small child football concussion videos

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In an earlier post, I talked about youth sports injuries in light of the NFL’s public efforts to look less like it’s giving its players early dementia and death through greater review of concussions. The hope is that if the NFL takes them more seriously, others will at all levels of football. Maybe that will happen. But given the pre-concussion youth football videos all over YouTube, I’m not sure.

I hate to post any of these, because I feel like a preacher airing porn films over and over and telling people, “Would you look at that filth!” But I have to show you a few examples of what I’m talking about — video all over YouTube and elsewhere of small children knocking each other into next week, which given their ages, is a comparatively long way to get knocked.

These videos are posted by parents or others PROUD their kid is the baddest badass on the block, when instead they make Malcolm Gladwell’s argument that football isn’t that far removed from dogfighting.

For example, this one is THE HARDEST HITTING 6 YEAR OLD IN THE GAME!!!, a video that’s recently made the rounds on sports blogs such as Deadspin and With Leather.

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The above video was a response for a two-year-old video, with 323,000 views (porn is popular), Football Hard Hits from a crazy 9 Year Old!!!!! (Note slo-mo replays, gratuitous “Bring the Pain” quote, and five, not three, exclamation points. Warning: Creed is the soundtrack.)

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Here is one uploaded today (Nov. 24). Apparently whomever did this promised this 8- and 9-year-old if it won its championship, he would post a highlight reel of its biggest hits. So they won, and so he did. (More slo-mo, but no exclamation points. But some great shots of small children writhing in pain!)

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Hey, I know football is a violent sport, and many of the hits in the above videos are well within the rules. But lest you think 8-year-olds don’t hit hard because they’re small, their hits can hurt bad if they are hitting other 8-year-olds.

I’m not going to pass judgment on any parents who would sign a 6-year-old or 8-year-old for tackle football. However, I do think any parents screaming, on YouTube or elsewhere, about what a pain-bringer their child is THE BIGGEST ASSHOLE ON THE SIDELINE!!!!!! (Yeah, that’s six exclamation points!)

Written by rkcookjr

November 24, 2009 at 11:41 pm

5-year-old scores an own goal. And there's online buzz why?

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The video above of the little girl soccer goalie accidentally kicking the ball into her own net isn’t to Tay Zonday Internet star level yet. But with nearly 100,000 views on YouTube in a week, and shoutouts from Deadspin, the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, it’s safe to say accidental bicycle-kicker is reaching the status of Internet phenomenon, at least in the youth sports division. An appearance on Versus’ Sports Soup seems inevitable. (It won’t appear on another Soup spinoff, G4’s Web Soup, because no one gets whomped in the nutsack. Or as my 7-year-old son calls it, the sheen.)

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A youth soccer clip that climaxes with somebody getting whomped in the nutsack.

Anyway, back to the clip of the little girl. As described by a commenter on Deadspin named SunnieDay:

This is a clip from a REC soccer game when the goalie was five years old. And how do I know that? Because I took the video and made the clip; she’s my daughter. I appreciate the comments from the people smart enough to take it for what it is — a just-for-fun, “blooper” video, from a moment in our lives that will always bring a smile to my face.

That’s wonderful. That’s cute. But I have no idea why so many people find it so entertaining. It’s a girl who tries to kick a soccer ball in the air, and kicks it over her head and back toward her own goal. That’s it. I bet you, if you weren’t barred from city parks, could see something similar during any youth soccer season anywhere. And then you might see someone get whomped in the nutsack.

The only reason I can figure it’s taken off is so people who are barred from city parks can make vile comments about the video. Sample from YouTube, which is furiously taking down inappropriate comments so quickly that these excerpts might be gone by the time you read this:

CougarBoobies: …perfect example of why women shouldn’t play sports.

Jaraha: She scored on herself. The next Carrie Prejean?

Westmeat: why do they even bother to let this slut play. she is such a fucking loser.

Westmeat (three minutes later): i hate it when bitches like this try to show off and ruin it for the entire team. if her parents don’t beat her with an electrical cord after the game, i will not be surprised.

When my 10-year-old daughter and her friend posted their own YouTube show, they got some cretinous comments like this (which I X’ed out). My daughter asked why, and I had to explain the concept of an Internet troll and the sort of person who gets his jollies talking obscene smack about little girls.

I don’t know what soccer girl’s mom thought the reaction would be, but I hope that if more people watch it, the ones who find the whole thing cute and funny crowd out the weirdos and perverts. I would hate to think they are the most responsible for this video’s inexplicable, enduring popularity.

Written by rkcookjr

November 17, 2009 at 6:14 pm