Olympic Emotion and Support for Injured Cyclist

Youth sports and parents of Olympic athletes.

ESPN’s Rick Reilly takes a look at a subject that we cover often here. In this week’s column he wonders when youth sports became all about winning and not about having fun. In a portion of an email sent out to his players, a football coach writes, "Players practice full throttle unless they are injured. … It's about team! If you don't love being a Bulldog and can't wholeheartedly commit, you are in the wrong place. … You are either getting better or getting worse. We need to get better and it will take serious commitment. … This e-mail is meant to set expectations. No surprises, full steam ahead. Thanks and Go Bulldogs!" The players are 8 years old.

I need to thank Debbie Lundgren of the Bike & Pedestrian Alliance of Clinton (BPAC) for sharing the following information with me. If you are in the Clinton/Madison area, you have undoubtedly followed . She is the cyclist who was critically injured after being struck by a large delivery truck on her way home from work in October 2011. Colleen is involved with the 2012 Gaylord Hospital Sports Association Cycling Tour that will take place on Oct. 20. You can read more about Colleen’s recovery and community advocacy on her blog. I’m sure that those who know her will not be surprised by the words she sent to me in an email, “Whatever angle you choose, make the story not about ME but about the journey and how we need one another."

I discovered the Bristol Cadets (Clubhouse Baseball) quite by accident on Facebook last week. A portion of their mission statement reads, “The atmosphere surrounding youth baseball has to change! It may look and feel like the professional game we all watch on TV, but it is very different. The money professional franchises make all depends on winning, marketing, celebrity players, and sales. Youth baseball is about life lessons, teamwork, good sportsmanship, and developing productive members of society. Parents rooting at a youth game should cheer for the other team as well, build up the kids, be supportive of the coaches and umpires. The focus should not be on winning or losing, it should be on families and community. Today Little League has become a battleground for parents with the kids being innocent bystanders. Our mission at Clubhouse Baseball is to change the atmosphere and give youth baseball back to the kids.” 

The league founder, Danny Cahill states, “I am also going to put teams together to play against the very expensive AAU Travel programs which can cost $3,000 per kid, per summer, just to be on a team. They can play with my program for free, get great coaching and competition.”

In related news: Clubhouse Baseball defeated HPC Foodservice 10-3 on Monday, July 30, to capture the 2012 Farmington Bank/Vantis Life Prep Division Championship.

A fellow Patch columnist emailed me asking my thoughts on the displays of emotion from some of the parents of the athletes during their Olympic competition. I’m not sure that many of us reading this can appreciate exactly what those families have sacrificed for their child to get to where they are. I can’t imagine watching my child and knowing that everything they dreamed about and worked hard for hinged on one tiny moment in time.

And finally — sad and mad are just a fraction of the emotions I felt while reading about the California basketball coach who allegedly was driving drunk when he killed a 7-year-old riding his bike home from football practice with his family. His father and younger sibling are in critical condition.

The attorney of the driver said his client, "is devastated" by the crash. "He has dedicated his entire adult life to enriching the lives of children, then this happens."

Tornados happen. Earthquakes happen. Cancer happens. Drunk driving never has to happen.


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