inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #76 of 119: put me in coach, I'm ready to play (watadoo) Thu 16 Aug 07 18:32
    
In 1972, 87 percent of children who lived within a mile of school
walked or biked daily; today, just 13 percent of children get to
school under their own power, according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. In a significant parallel, before 1980, only 5
percent of children were obese; today that figure has tripled, says
the CDC.
[...]<<<

thank gopod for the excelent free health care in the US. oops, I
forgot. 

This Regan, is called topic drift. heh

The question is how to break the cycle. I let my boy and his pals ride
their bikes down to Rheem valley, 6 miles away to go to a movie or hit
the community pool. We eased into this, mainly around car/bike saftey
issues. but I know other parents who are horrified that i let my boy
act like a 11 year old in the summer time. 

One reason that Ethan can't hook up with too many other kids in the
summer to just screw around with is that most of the kids from his
school are in "camps" all summer. glorified ay care, essentially to
make it so both their parents can work or for single parents who have
no choice but to work.  It's a complex set of issues.  playing club
sports all summer helps fill in a lot of that free time.  Both in a
supervisory AND a social way. I'm in a blessedly lucky situation and
far be it for me to judge any who can't make the same choices I have.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #77 of 119: I dare you to make less sense! (jet) Thu 16 Aug 07 19:47
    
Sorry, I wasn't thinking drift as much as, "whatever happened to kids
getting exercise outside of team sports"?
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #78 of 119: put me in coach, I'm ready to play (watadoo) Thu 16 Aug 07 22:20
    
exactly. riding bikes, taking hikes, going down to the school yard and
shooting some hoops or just screwing around.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #79 of 119: put me in coach, I'm ready to play (watadoo) Thu 16 Aug 07 22:30
    
I really feel sorry for this generation of kids. They are missing out
on so much due to their parent's over attentiveness and pushing for
success and glory.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #80 of 119: errant thoughts of redheaded mischief (izzie) Thu 16 Aug 07 23:20
    

coming to the discussion a little late (and Regan, while I'm not quite 
done, I really like your book and keep saying uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh while 
reading along), but I just want to caution that of course not *all* 
parents are preventing their kids from having that childhood alot of us 
remember! 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #81 of 119: Regan McMahon (r-mcmahon) Thu 16 Aug 07 23:30
    
Good point Izze, and bravo for those parents. I know it can tough to
buck the trend. Or maybe it's easy for some who see clearly and aren't
infleuced by what others are caught up in. 

I agree that kids need more free play. It's creative. You learn
valuable things like conflict resolution. You discover things. I hope
more parents will come back to seeing value in it. Kids need more time
outdoors, down the block, in the park, out in nature. Bike sales are
way down. It's just sad that U.S. kids aren't riding their bikes around
the neighborhood. People say it's a safety issue, but it's even the
case in gated communities with manicured playgrounds, so there's
clearly something going on in the culture. 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #82 of 119: Lisa Harris (lrph) Fri 17 Aug 07 06:05
    
I just read that about the bike sales being down.   Last year I was
horrified by the fact that although it is written in the school handbook
that we are not allowed to send candy in our kids' lunchboxes, teachers
still use candy as a reward for good behavior and good test scores.  I
complained, but nothing was done because I had no solution to offer.

This summer I decided that I will remind the principal that the best reward
for all of the hard work we expect of our kids would be FREE TIME TO PLAY!
while I agree that stickers stop being effective after 3rd or 4th grade,
free time to hang out with friends and play and run is PRICELESS and highly
motivating for everyone.

I also agree with <izzie> about not ALL parents being like those in Regan's
book. I, in fact, am not anything like those parents.  I wish there were
more parents that would let their kids play freely around here, but alas,
there are only a few.  Fact is, the more parents that stop lamenting and
start allowing, the safer it will become for the kids.  More kids out
playing means that they're out there together watching out for each other
yelling "CAR" for one another's safety and running to so-and-so's house to
get his mom when he scrapes his knee.  Ooh, what a concept!
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #83 of 119: Regan McMahon (r-mcmahon) Fri 17 Aug 07 07:37
    
Freeplay as a reward is a great idea! My daughter's school does
sometimes give an exrtra recess as a reward. But I was shocked, like
you, when her first-grade teacher gave out M&Ms and red vines as
mini-rewards in the classroom. 

I know freplay is my preferred reward. I rather thave time off than
overtime pay. 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #84 of 119: put me in coach, I'm ready to play (watadoo) Fri 17 Aug 07 07:52
    
That's brilliant and so in front of our noses.  Seems to me the worst
punishment Ethan has ever had at his school for screwing around instead
of doing classwork, the  punishment he's complained most bitterly
about has been to miss recess to sit in the classroom and  finish his
work.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #85 of 119: Lisa Harris (lrph) Fri 17 Aug 07 09:42
    
Right, but I like to see it as a reward, rather than as a punishment.
Basically the same thing, but the spin makes it more palatable to the kids,
I think.
So, Regan, this will be my Revolution.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #86 of 119: Gail Williams (gail) Fri 17 Aug 07 10:03
    
Very nice.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #87 of 119: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Fri 17 Aug 07 10:14
    
This issue of "freeplay" reminds me of how sports were engaged when I
was a kid in the '60s growing up in a town of 12,000. Our sports play
prior to 8th grade was mostly sandlot with ragtag gear, or, less
frequently, baseball, basketball and football with, at most, one adult
for the entire rec program. We had fun. The best of us (not I) went on
to college scholarships.  One of us came one cut away from making the
NBA. 

The regimentation of how children participate in sports is a concern.
But isn't the core issue that Regan is addressing with clubs not unlike
workaholism?  Those parents (and coaches), as organizers of this
phenomenon, have created an expected level of participation that is
deliterious to the intent. In the workforce, how often have we seen
people working 60 plus hours a week and running on fumes, burning out,
and ultimately less productive than those workers allowed to pace
themselves more reasonably? Regan is correct to insist that change must
come from the parents, collectively, to establish more reasonable
guidelines.  

As for the pervasive fear we have grown to have for our children's
safety, this mirrors similar manifestations in the larger society.
There is currently an irrational reaction in our culture to public
safety as a whole.  We see this in our responses to a overzealous
Homeland Security, the elusive and perpetual War on Terror,
overreactions to a sensationalizing media, etc.

However, much more significant than these factors in the change of
childhood play behavior is the rise of electronic "play."  The
"cocooning" of children with their electronic devices--cell phones,
I-pods, DVDs, Gameboys, Nintendos, X-Boxes, and computers--best
explains a growing lack of physical exercise in our children.  On-line
interaction becomes a substitute for direct play.  There are so many of
these contemporary diversions within the house that dissuade children
from venturing outside to find their friends.  Club sports, despite
their shortfall, are one healthy alternative to the consequences of
electronic cocooning, except that time-taxed parents often resort to
fast food dinners with their greasy calory-laden simplicity. Heck, most
American families with two working parents resort to fast food eating.
 

Of course the larger question of why club sports evolved is related,
in part, to our growing fear of our streets and our parks.  
Ultimately, this is a fear of one another.  Gated communities and club
exclusivity are not healthy indicators of a free society, but of a
paranoid aristocracy.  Electronics, fast food, fear of one another, of
failure as parents, elitism, overindulged kids--the problem is
systemic.    

Club sports are here to stay, but for me, I will always root, anyday,
for the barefoot Tijuana Futbol team over the Los
Gatos/BeverlyHills/Lake Oswego/Mercer Island/Scottsdale/Port
Washington/RichKid Elite squads.  
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #88 of 119: Ludo, Ergo Sum (robertflink) Fri 17 Aug 07 10:57
    
>a symptom of the overall malaise of fear-parenting and
social management.<

This reminded me that in many,very traditional, parts of the world
parents and the larger tribe have been doing just that for time beyond
memory.  Perhaps the opposite could be considered a malaise if the
broad sweep of history is to be any test. 

Honor-killing has to have its roots in something.  

BTW, I understand that the most reliable predictor of individual
development is the peer group. 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #89 of 119: Regan McMahon (r-mcmahon) Fri 17 Aug 07 17:25
    
i agree that plugged-in play is a big factor in the lack of freelay
outdoors. I highly recommend the book "Last Child in the Woods: Saving
Our Children From Adult deficit Disorder" by Richard Louve. His book
has spawned a movement to get kids back outside in the natural world to
explore the world and learn about themselves in realtion to it. His
book has spawned a whole movement whose whose wonderful slogan is "No
Child Left Inside." 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #90 of 119: errant thoughts of redheaded mischief (izzie) Fri 17 Aug 07 18:17
    

My 13-yr old who hardly ever did any sports at all until last year (8th 
grade) was just sidelined in Cross Country this afternoon for a flare-up 
of Severs Disease in his left foot.  Coach told him he still needs to come 
to practice every day, and still needs to at least jog the course as best 
he can (so as not to lose what little conditioning he has) but he's not to 
run, and is to stop and head back down the course if it gets bad.  Bennett 
isn't gung-ho about it, but he's in pain and Coach has him convinced that 
being a team Manager isn't a bad thing and that'll he be running again 
much sooner if he takes a break now.  I (heart) Coach Kimball.  and I wish 
more coaches were like that, especially I think for growing-kid 
repetitive-use injuries.  
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #91 of 119: Regan McMahon (r-mcmahon) Fri 17 Aug 07 18:49
    
Ack-- I see I typo'd Richard  Louv's name. No e. 

A telling quote from a San Diego fourth-grader he interviewed about
outisde vs. inside play:

"I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical
outlets are." 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #92 of 119: Regan McMahon (r-mcmahon) Fri 17 Aug 07 18:53
    
Hey, Izzie, is jogging good when you have a flare up of Sever's
Disease? Would staying off it make it heal faster or better? How is
jogging "taking a break"? 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #93 of 119: errant thoughts of redheaded mischief (izzie) Fri 17 Aug 07 22:07
    

Regan, he can "jog" which for my kid means a mellow walking pace.  He has 
a slight limp, and clearly favors his, uh, I think, right foot (I don't 
get to live with him so I'm winging that part).  His coach, the team 
trainers, and his naturopath MD have all said that normal heel-strike is 
okay, but that it's just the pounding from running that's bad.

My kid, for all his wonderfulness, is not an uber-atheletic guy.  If it 
hurts to a wince, he'll stop and at least reconsider whatever it is he's 
doing.  The trainer says to take ibu; the naturpath and I came up with an 
herbal soak, and his dad is timing how long he keeps it elevated and iced, 
as needed.

School actually starts next week, and everyone in our town of 5,000 knows 
that the highschool needs my kid on his horn for marching band.  If he 
can't walk, he can't march.  So everyone involved is really helping 
encourage him to do what the docs, Coach, and trainers say.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #94 of 119: put me in coach, I'm ready to play (watadoo) Fri 17 Aug 07 23:29
    
The regimentation of how children participate in sports is a concern.
But isn't the core issue that Regan is addressing with clubs not unlik

workaholism?  Those parents (and coaches), as organizers of this
phenomenon, have created an expected level of participation that is
deliterious to the intent. In the workforce, how often have we seen
people working 60 plus hours a week and running on fumes, burning out,
and ultimately less productive than those workers allowed to pace
themselves more reasonably?<<<<

That is the click moment. Workaholic parent transferring their malaise
onto their kids. It's not productive to generalize, but it is a
symptom I've seen (and as an active type A 60 hour a week kind of guy,
trying to make sure that I let my boyo, be enjoy his tween years like i
did) make every effort to avoid.

Good luck to Bennet, Izzie. I ran cross country in high school and I
had this wonderful crusty old coach, Don Phillips. I came down with a
bad case of shin splints after running around 12 miles on asphalt. i
could barely walk and it hurt like crazy. Coach phillips had me sit out
practice by way of jogging barefoot around the soccer field.  This
being the early 70's soccer had no respecdt and it got the louse, pooor
drainage field -- meaning it was wet and schmushy and like running on
sand. Coach Phillips knew his stuff and my shin splint were gone
withing 2 days never to return. 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #95 of 119: Lisa Harris (lrph) Sat 18 Aug 07 07:25
    
I hope Bennett is up and marching soon.

I like the workaholic analogy a lot.  I'll use that.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #96 of 119: Lisa Everitt (lisa) Sat 18 Aug 07 09:26
    
I think that's very true -- just another way we project our neuroses onto 
our children.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #97 of 119: errant thoughts of redheaded mischief (izzie) Sat 18 Aug 07 12:13
    

I turned down a page in the book because it struck me as a different twist 
to this problem.  The quote:  "If high school and college teams give 
preference to club players, then ipso facto they're favoring the 
privileged over the disadvantaged, widening the gap between rich and poor 
in an arena that used to serve as a great equalizer."

That made me wonder if that might not be *why* some of the elite club 
things happened in the first place, and might not be part of the draw.  
Can't have the little princess playing ball with those children who don't 
look like us!  

A little later in the book though, you talk about how some colleges and 
highschools are seeing children, pitchers I think, as already used-up with 
repetitive strain injuries and the like, largely from club sports.  Is 
that a backlash?  Will the streetball/stickball players one day have an 
edge again, because they don't have surgical scars at 15 years old?
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #98 of 119: Lisa Harris (lrph) Sat 18 Aug 07 13:15
    
I think it means that they still DO have the edge.  The way I read it, the
coaches prefer well-rounded, uninjured athletes.  That seems to point away
fromt he club-team kids and toward the rec center/street/high-school
athelete.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #99 of 119: Regan McMahon (r-mcmahon) Sat 18 Aug 07 20:48
    
What I learned in my research was that the pro scouts were turning
away from baseball players in the West because they feared their arms
wouldn't last as long as those of players who had breaks in thier
schedules, like kids who live in cold climates who take the winter off
from baseball. No evidence that I know of that they would turn to
street ball players. They recurit players from colleges and high
schools ... and of course from various Latin American and Carribbean
countries. 

But in baseball, many kids still make their high school teams after
only playing rec (Little League, Babe Ruth). Just in the past few years
has baseball started to go the way of club soccer, with something
called Xtreme Baseball, which plays through the summer with lots of
travel, including plane travel. My friend's son lives in Oakland and
last summer he was playing games in Tennessee and Arizona. It seems
ridiculous, and a pursuit only for the wealthy. She did not have him do
that this summer. 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #100 of 119: Lisa Everitt (lisa) Mon 20 Aug 07 10:15
    
Regan, how is the book being accepted, out there in the world? Are you 
doing many media appearances or signings, and what are you hearing from 
people? 
  

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