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inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #101 of 119: Regan McMahon (r-mcmahon) Mon 20 Aug 07 14:26
    
I have done a ton of radio apearances, some TV, some print and online
interviews and I've done a bit of speaking to parents' groups at
schools and coaches' associations. Since my book came out in late
spring, it was to late in the year for many schools to book me then, so
a bunch have booked me for the fall. I've tracked discussion of my
book in the blogosphere, too, especialy on parenting and health blogs.
The reception has been warm. poeple seem hungry for this mesage. I get
emails sent to my website -- www.revolutioninthebleachers.com -- that
are really heartfelt from  parents struggling with these issues. Many
tell me my book reaffrimed their gut feeling that things were out of
whack and gave them strength -- and ammunition!-- to resist some
parental peer pressure.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #102 of 119: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Mon 20 Aug 07 15:59
    
What is this doing to kids' development, particularly girls? I'd heard
of girls into gymnastics and ballet who have delayed onset puberty
because of how much they practice.

A lot of my daughter's friends (she's 7) are in youth soccer and I
feel bad that she can't be in it, but it's complicated because her dad
and I are divorced and I don't want to schedule stuff on his time. It's
also very insular; you have to register for the fall in spring and
it's not always easy to find the registration. At the same time, she's
naturally athletic and I think she'd enjoy it. 

On the other hand, I took her out of gymnastics because, just as she
was about to move up to level 2, a bunch of new kids came in and they
went back to the very, very beginning and she was doing stuff that
she'd been doing for 2 and 3 years. She's disappointed, but I'm not
sure of the point of paying $600 a year plus time and gas for her not
to be progressing. I brought it up to the director of the program, and
she said, well, it's the level 1 class and it's the one people start
out with. And I can understand that, but when she was in first grade,
if a new kid joined the class, they wouldn't all move back to learning
the ABCs. 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #103 of 119: Lisa Harris (lrph) Mon 20 Aug 07 17:04
    
Great question, I know lots of girls that have delayed puberty because of
their sports.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #104 of 119: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Mon 20 Aug 07 17:37
    
>I'd heard

Actually, there's a book called Off Balance that's all about it, and
while I have Joan Ryan's book, I haven't read it, though I expect it's
covered in there.

Which reminds me of another question -- how much does the Chronicle
support its reporters going out and doing books? How does that work?
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #105 of 119: Regan McMahon (r-mcmahon) Mon 20 Aug 07 18:12
    
re girls and sports: overall, it's a great thing. It's great for
buiklding self-seteem and healthy body-consciousness. Excessive
training and low bodyfat can combine to delay grils' puberty, and that
does happen to a lot of gymnasts in particular. That is covered in Joan
Ryan's book, "Little Girls in Pretty Boxes," which I quote from -- if
fact precisely that part -- in my book. 

re your daughter, Sharon: I totally understand why you didn't see the
value in her staying in gymnastics if she was going back to sqaure one.
But if she's naturally athletic and enjoys doing some kind of sport,
sounds as if it would be worth it to try to come to a shared decision
about it with your ex. Rec soccer is not a big commitment -- usually
one practice a week and one soccer game on Saturday for a relatively
short fall season, Sept. till mid-Nov. or maybe you could find a
different gymanstics program that would fit her level better. But don't
give up! Try to find something that fits your family and can give her
a healthy outlet for exercise while she's still figuring out what she
likes. 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #106 of 119: Regan McMahon (r-mcmahon) Mon 20 Aug 07 18:15
    
re Chronicel staffers who write books -- it's been different for
different people through the years. In general they're supporive and
enjoy the good promotion for the paper. But as things have gotten
tougher financially at the paper and in the industry, they've stopped
letting people take leaves to write books. I didn't take one. I just
wrote my book on weeknights after work and on weekends. I took a couple
of my regular vacation weeks off toward the end to make sure I met my
deadline. 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #107 of 119: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Tue 21 Aug 07 05:54
    
The other problem with soccer is that last spring, she was being
babysat by some friends with a girl her age (her friend too; they're in
Brownies together) and the girl is in soccer so they took Maggie and
the coach let her play, which I thought was really cool of them. The
problem is, the team had been working together for a while and they
didn't know her, so, as she said, 'nobody cheered for me and nobody
even gave me a chance to play,' so she's pretty turned off of soccer. I
expressed that it was disappointing that at 7 she was giving up on
something completely due to one bad experience, but I dunno.

Her dad and I just swapped nights so I'm looking into the availability
of gymnastics classes on the new nights.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #108 of 119: put me in coach, I'm ready to play (watadoo) Tue 21 Aug 07 07:16
    
I saw phase one of the revolution happen on Sunday. We finished three
days  of tryouts for the Oakland Pee Wee hockey team. Two of Ethan's
friends, not formerly Oakland players, but ones they'd been trying to
recruit from Berkeley for around 3 years because of how gifted they are
turned them down flat.  Seems Oakland has a much different gung-ho win
win win culture than the Berkeley* team and they told his parents
they'd have to commit to 4-6 tourneys a year with extensive out of
state travel -- including tourneys on ALL the major holidays. 

Doesn't work for our families they told the hyper Oakland coaches.
We'll play elsewhere.  The Berkeley players are all going to go over to
the San Francisco team en masse -- a much more laid back program.
competitive, but stressing fun and teamwork and team-fellowship.
Berkeley was shut down by the city after 60 years this spring, leaving
a whole tribe of kids who'd been playing together for years, homeless.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #109 of 119: I dare you to make less sense! (jet) Tue 21 Aug 07 07:42
    
Given all this time and money people are spending, why not just start
new leagues that are more about playing and less about winning?
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #110 of 119: Lisa Harris (lrph) Tue 21 Aug 07 08:26
    
We have something like that here.  But you have to have a coach/business
person/teacher/parent willing to take on the responsibility of starting a
league. It's a lot of work and commitment.  The thing we have here is
actually a summer program run by a middle school PE teacher.  He teaches
basics and sportsmanship in an array of different sport camps throughout the
summer and during school holidays. It's really wonderful, but not year
round, because of his teaching schedule.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #111 of 119: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Tue 21 Aug 07 13:16
    
#107: oh, another heartbreaking thing about that conversation -- her
telling me that she'll never be any good at it because the other kids
have all been playing so much longer.

At 7.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #112 of 119: Regan McMahon (r-mcmahon) Tue 21 Aug 07 19:44
    
I hear that kind of thing often: That parents -- or a kid -- will
think a decision about a team taht they make when the kid is 7 or 8 or
10 will mark  them for life. But it's just not true. As I said before,
puberty cahnges everything, and the cream rises to the top. So if your
child is gifted athletically, they'll probably be good at whatever they
try whenever they get into it. If your kid is an average athlete,
she'll probably be an average athlete at whatever she tries, but she
may come to love a sport that's fun for her. Kids kids who start early
may have more training than kids who come into a sport later, but when
they enter is not the determining factor. Puberty might be. Or their
natural ability might be. The Golden State Warriors basketball team had
a player who who hadn't picked up a basketball till 10th grade. It
happens! 

Your 7-year-old, as you said, was discourged by one bad experience. A
year from now she may have a good team sport experience and be begging
you to sign her up. There's plenty of time!!! 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #113 of 119: Regan McMahon (r-mcmahon) Tue 21 Aug 07 21:00
    
re starting new leagues: I've heard from people who have done that.
One of the women in my book, Marin County psychotherapist and author
Madeline Levine ("Theh Price of Privilege") did that when she became
dissatisfied with her son's hypercompetitive elite soccer team. She
joined other parents who jumped ship and together they switched gears
entirely, starting a lacrosse league! And her son went on to play
Lacrosse on his high school team. So it all worked out well.

 Sometimes it's good to vote with your feet, as they say. That's what
those Berkeley kids did when they marched over to San Francisco to play
on a hockey team that was more in tune with what they were comfortable
with.

 It can be hard work finding the right team or league, or the right
coach for your kid, but it's worth it rather than staying in a
situation that's frustrating or against your value system or lifestyle
or whatever. It can be hard work being a sports parent! 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #114 of 119: I dare you to make less sense! (jet) Tue 21 Aug 07 21:56
    
I've spent an unusual amount of time in the past year with college
freshman in a peer-level situation.  I'd lay folding money that
lacrosse is the next soccer in terms of high-profile, high-expense,
high-pressure team sports for junior high and high school students.
It's amazing how hard they have to work to stay competitive and how
much of their college time training and games can consume. 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #115 of 119: put me in coach, I'm ready to play (watadoo) Wed 22 Aug 07 06:27
    
Ethan just got asked to play on the San Francisco Sabercats. It was so
refreshing. One of the other parents asked the coach about tournaments
and the he said, well probably a couple over the course of the year.
We let the parents tell us how many they want to commit to and if we
have enough buy in, we'll go. It's up to you guys collectively to tell
us what you want to do. w.o.w. refreshing.

Four of Ethan's friends from the Berkeley team have all also come to
the SF team. We all went out for dinner afterwards and it was just so
fine to watch the 5 boys having so much fun together at teh table we
put them at far away across the room (five pre-teen boys who've just
been skating hard for 90 minutes are pretty ripe, let me tell you. I am
so relieved as the Oakland team culture was such a nightmare. Straight
out of the worst case scenarios from your book, Regan with
tight-lipped grim parents pacing behind the glass and growing orders at
their kids to try harder and "stop doggin it"  So unfriendly and
over-amped for a bunch of 1 and 12 year olds. I think the head coach
thinks he's Herb Brooks and the Oakland Pee Wees are the 1980 miracle
team. har.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #116 of 119: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Wed 22 Aug 07 10:36
    

What a fascinating conversation this has been, the past two weeks have sped
by so fast! I want to thank you for joining us, Regan, it's been great to
have you here. And thank you, Bill, for your important role in leading the
discussion.

Though you've reached the two-week committment, please know that you're
welcome to continue here if you can. This topic will remain open and
available for further conversation indefinitely. If you have other things
demanding your attention, then I offer my thanks for sharing so much of your
time and expertise with us, Regan and Bill.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #117 of 119: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 22 Aug 07 11:50
    
I love all the true tales from the trenches too.  Great discussion all
around.
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #118 of 119: Regan McMahon (r-mcmahon) Wed 22 Aug 07 14:06
    
Thanks, everyone, for making me feel so WELLcome. 
  
inkwell.vue.305 : Regan McMahon, "Revolution in the Bleachers"
permalink #119 of 119: Lisa Everitt (lisa) Thu 23 Aug 07 08:43
    
Thank YOU for writing such a great, and sane, book. Best of luck to you.
  



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