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Jul. 30 2010 — 10:47 am | 73 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

The end of Your Kid’s Not Going Pro — or is it?

If you read anything else on True/Slant, you’ve gotten the message that the site as we know it is officially closing up shop following its acquisition by Forbes. So that does mean the death of Your Kid’s Not Going Pro?

Not bloody likely.

Since starting this blog on Dec. 31, 2008, I’ve been able to connect with an audience passionate about the issues surrounding youth sports, a multibillion-dollar industry built on the backs of child labor, with none of the guilt or legal hassles of sending them into coal mines or shoe factories. I’ve written about people good, bad and ugly, and speaking for myself, learned more about youth sports parenting and coaching than being an actual youth sports parent and coach by itself would have taught me. (Warning: my fourth and youngest child, my daughter who turns 5 in August, is becoming the last of my brood to enter the youth sports world, as a soccer player next month. And showing I haven’t learned that much, I’ve agreed to coach her team.)

I caught a break in June 2009 when True/Slant agreed to bring me aboard, and the people here have been nothing but great to me. And thanks to them, and to you readers, I’ve been able to discover what I thought was true in December 2008 — that there was an audience for youth sports stories that were about the youth sports machine itself, and what it does to all of us, and what we can do to it. I thank Kashmir Hill, Michael Roston and Coates Bateman for bringing me on board and supporting this here blog, Andrea Spiegel for her support and tech wizardry, and Lewis Dvorkin for starting the whole shebang. Mostly, though, I want to thank all the great writers on True/Slant who inspired me, commented on my work, chatted to me about whatever just for the hell of it, and, if I may be craven, attracted readers that would have never discovered Your Kid’s Not Going Pro.

Many of these writers have typed their goodbye messages, what with Forbes electing not to have them continue under the new regime. Let me be among the many to say: That stinks.

However, my message is more of a “see you later.” It appears Your Kid’s Not Going Pro might live on under the new stewardship, though details are still being worked out. I presume one condition is that I stop using profanity. Fuck.

Whatever happens, I plan for Your Kid’s Not Going Pro to continue. Everything you’ve seen (or haven’t seen) on True/Slant also has a residence on the original WordPress site: yourkidsnotgoingpro.wordpress.com.

See you later.



Jul. 28 2010 — 2:00 pm | 198 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Your youth baseball brawl roundup

It’s playoff season for youth baseball, which means managers, parents and players who act only a little crazy when they get a bug up their butt about something during the regular season now have the stakes raised high enough that the same bug will cause them to go ballistic.

Here are a few highlights:

DODGEVILLE, Wisc., July 26 — The winners of the losers’ bracket in the Ohio Valley Regional is going to the Babe Ruth Senior World Series because of a game-ending brawl between the two teams in the first game of the best-of-three championship.

About the only detail not being argued is that Noblesville (Ind.) came back from three runs down in the sixth inning to lead the Hammond (Ind.) Chiefs, 11-10.  Oh, the only other detail not being argued is that Babe Ruth headquarters in Trenton, N.J., ruled both 16-18-year-old teams out of the tournament. In between, it gets messy.

According to the Noblesville coach, talking to the near-hometown Indianapolis Star, all three Hammond coach freaked the fuck out when the game-leading run was scored on an obstruction call against the Chiefs, and all three got ejected. With no adults left to coach Hammond, the umpires declared Noblesville the winner. The Noblesville coach said the teams lined up to shake hands, and while his team was “excited,” the Hammond team was in a rage, the flames being fanned by one of their coaches. A Chiefs player jumped one of the Noblesville players, and the brawl was on.

What happened in Dodgeville with the Chiefs, as re-enacted on ice. (NSFW language)

The Hammond coach copped to nothing, and in fact said he was trying to keep the peace and separate players, according to his interview with the near-hometown Northwest Indiana Times in Munster, Ind.

Meanwhile, the Dodgeville police said they arrested one fan on disorderly conduct charges, allegedly because he punched a Noblesville coach.

So congratulations to Cross Plains (Wisc.), which advances to the Babe Ruth Senior World Series for not punching anybody.

VALLEJO, Calif., July 21 — Vallejo Babe Ruth coach David Davis was booked in the local hoosegow on a charge of battery against a sports official. He allegedly punched a first-base umpire during the state 15-and-under championship tournament. Davis was arrested at the local police station as he was filling out an assault report — against the umpire, David Abbitt, a 26-year veteran.

Abbitt said Davis sucker-punched him — knocking him out and requiring him to be taken by ambulance to a hospital — as he argued a close call against the Vallejo team at first base. Davis, meanwhile, citing scratches on his arm he said were made by Abbitt, said he was only defending himself, and that the knockout punch never happened. Davis told the San Jose Mercury News:

[After the umpire kicked him out] Davis then describes a highly emotional situation between the two men, with alleged spitting, swearing, racial epithets and self defense.

“I thought it was a make-up call, so I went down to my knees and came up and he said ‘You’re outta here,’” Davis said, claiming that the knockout punch never happened. “All I did was defend myself. I just put my hands up as a reaction. Guy falls down, looks at me from the ground and puts on a tirade like he was hurt. It was weak and it was fake.”

Apparently there were no police or security at the July 18 game because of cutbacks by the city of Vallejo. After the Davis-Abbitt incident, somehow, some way, security was found for the tournament.

GURNEE, Ill., July 17 — Unlike the other two incidents, this was not a playoff game. But it doesn’t have to be one for tempers to get out of hand.

According to the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill., police were called after a fight broke out a 15- to 18-year-old Colt (Pony League) game. Two opposing players wrestled at the plate — a runner trying to score, and the catcher who tried to block him (without the ball in his hand) during the last out of the game. The umpires did not get involved, and player tempers cooled.

However, parents started screaming and fighting with each other. That’s when police were called. But no arrests were made. The presence of the authorities inspired a lovefest, according to the Herald:

[Gurnee Police Commander Jay] Patrick said the players on both sides hugged as the three cops left the field. The teams were not named.

“It could have really gone south,” Jacobs said. “But when (police) got there, everybody started to calm down quite a bit.”

For an incident like this, that counts as a happy ending.



Jul. 26 2010 — 2:09 pm | 44 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

How hockey goons get started

Believe me, if the player’s mom wasn’t there, this fight would have been EPIC! I presume Dad, and copious viewings of hockeyfights.com, taught the kid how to circle the skater, then drop the gloves, like a goon four times his age (and size).

(Hat tip: Puck Daddy.)



Jul. 24 2010 — 12:26 am | 102 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Snoop Dogg expands football league, his coolness to Chicago

Snoop Dogg — is there nothing he can do wrong? (Or at least not get away with?)

Cal Ripken Jr. sold his name to an existing baseball league and has done plenty to promote it, but the rapper-Katy Perry sidekick has built a successful youth football league from the ground up, and has done so in the inner city, where most leagues usually go to die.

Now Chicago kids are going to learn what it’s like to play in a Snooper Bowl. He came to Chicago on July 23 for a football clinic as a precursor to expanding his Snoop Youth Football League to the city. The low-cost league will be geared toward kids in public housing in a city where the violent crime rate is double that of New York or the birthplace of the Snoop league, Los Angeles. From NBC Chicago:

“I’m bringing football out here so they can take their energy, their anger and their attitude and put it in the right source of environment, which is the football field,” he said. …

Snoop Dogg, a former high school quarterback, started the program in 2005 with a $1 million investment. He’s coached his son’s youth and high school football teams.

The league, which will offer a lower cost to participate, is still looking for funding.  But the rapper said recent violence in the city shows how much Chicago kids need alternatives like his league.

“I just feel like Chicago needs me right now.  And I need Chicago,” he said.

In an interview with Time Out Chicago, Snoop Dogg said he started an assistant coach for his son, became his head coach, and decided to start his own league because he didn’t like all he saw with organized football, particularly expenses that froze out those from poorer neighborhoods. He also said a league like his might have prevented him from his long path of trouble, though on the other hand without it he wouldn’t have had the career and the money to fund a league keeping other kids out of trouble.

Snoop Youth Football teaches kids to go 1-8-7 on tha undercover cop only in their minds. However, a safety can go 1-8-7 on a receiver across the middle. (NSFW lyrics)

Snoop Dogg just received a VH1 Do Something award for his football league. He also should receive some sort of award for trying to decrease football head injuries by getting his kids state-of-the-art helmets and training them on avoiding head injuries, which is a hell of a lot more than just about anyone else inside the sport is doing. So if the money he gets for slumming on “California Gurls” is going toward this, then who’s to care if he hooks up with Ke$ha or Miley Cyrus later? If it’s Snoop, it must be worthwhile.



Jul. 23 2010 — 4:51 pm | 40 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Lucky youth baseball player breaks leg — because it led to discovery of cyst

Because it appears he’s going to be OK, we have license to say that 9-year-old Ryan Palmer of Marion, Ill., caught a lucky break in his baseball game the other day.

Lucky in that Ryan’s broken leg, suffered during a collision in the field in his local Pinto (Pony League) World Series, led to the discovery of a cyst. Ryan is a cancer survivor, so he’s had worse. Actually, his cancer had something to do with the broken leg, which helped in finding of the cyst.

From the July 23 Mt. Vernon (Ill.) Register-News:

Palmer, a cancer survivor, was rushed to a local hospital where Mt. Vernon physicians discovered a growing cyst near the fracture. The boy was then taken to Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, where he had surgery Tuesday morning [July 20].

“They got some really good news. The cyst came back benign,” said B.W. Bruce, coach of the Marion team on which Palmer plays. …

Bruce said Palmer has a strong disposition due to what he has already endured.

“He’s a tough kid. He’s been through a lot,” he said. “It was a situation where you know that he’s not going to complain or whine about anything unless it’s serious, which it was. The kid turned pale white and grabbed his knee. He knew exactly where it hurt. It was right above the knee where he broke the femur.” …

If the fracture had not occurred, the remaining cyst may have remained hidden, possibly causing future problems.

“It turned out that the break really happened because there was a cyst growing near that part of the bone,” said Bruce. “The chemotherapy that he went through a few years ago helped to weaken the bone.”

Ryan Palmer — you are made of tougher stuff than the rest of us, no matter how brittle your bones.


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    About Me

    A youth sports blog written by Bob Cook. He contributes to NBCSports.com, or MSNBC.com, if you prefer. He’s delivered sports commentaries for All Things Considered. For three years he wrote the weekly “Kick Out the Sports!” column for Flak Magazine.

    Most importantly for this blog, Bob is a father of four who is in the throes of being a sports parent and youth coach in an inner-ring suburb of Chicago. He reserves the right to change names to protect the innocent and the extremely, extremely guilty.

    You can follow me at facebook.com/rkcookjr and twitter.com/notgoingpro. I'm endlessly fascinating.

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    Contributor Since: June 2009
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    You can see what I’m up to by following me at facebook.com/rkcookjr and/or twitter.com/notgoingpro. You can also become an official fan of Your Kid’s Not Going Pro on Facebook. I’m endlessly fascinating.