Junior Varsity
By John Dudley Erie Times-News staff blogger
Junior Varsity strives to be northwestern Pennsylvania's online gathering spot for pre-high school athletes, their families and fans.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1677
Posts tagged ‘youth sports’
Posted: March 10th, 2011

City officials in Chicago are taking a novel approach to address the problem of concussions in sports by threatening to force schools to pay for water and sewer services they are now exempt from paying if they fail to respond to athletes showing symptoms of a head injury.

The full Associated Press story is below. The proposal would affect elementary, middle and high school programs at Chicago’s more than 100 public schools.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 9th, 2011

This was probably inevitable. Companies are now direct-marketing kits that test genetic material from kids to determine whether they have the DNA to become sports stars. The kits cost around $200, some a little less, and most require parents to scrape a small amount of flesh from the inside of their child’s cheek and return it to a lab for gene profiling.

Not surprisingly, this has created a stir within the scientific and sporting communities. The companies marketing the kits say they are simply responding to demand from parents who want to know if their children carry genes that would mark them for such athletic traits as speed, quickness, power or endurance.

Critics say depending on the results, kids could become discouraged about their athletic careers at too young an age, or falsely led to believe they are destined for stardom when other factors enter into determining whether athletes will become successful.

One researcher says the kits are based on “gross assumptions.”

Here is the full Associated Press report:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: February 23rd, 2011

Most of the youth sports injuries we hear and read about involve kids who are hurt playing football, baseball, hockey, soccer and the like. But this New York Times blog entry points out that thousands of children suffer injuries ever year simply from running. Surprisingly — or not — about half of those injuries among elementary-aged children are head injuries suffered from tripping over their own feet or legs. The post also examines whether it’s safe for young athletes to compete in marathon-length races.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: February 17th, 2011

These are a couple of weeks old, but here are the Knights of Columbus free throw shooting contest results in a release from Neil Burkell:

2011 K of C Free Throw Championship Winners

Seven boys and girls were named District 88 Champions of the 2011 Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship and earned the right to compete at the regional level. The Fr. Simpson, Fr. Dwyer Council 6191 in Edinboro sponsored the local competition at Our Lady of the Lake Social Center. All youngsters ages 10 to 14 were eligible to participate.

Winners were Jordan Leandro of Cambridge Springs, Tracy Ayres of Cranesville, Sarah Maracci of McKean and Joshua Bastow, Julia and Nick Bradford, and Celeste Seidel of Edinboro. Each winner will advance to the Regional Competition at Kennedy Catholic H.S. in Hermitage, PA on February 20th at 4:00 P.M.

All contestants were allowed 15 free-throw attempts in the event. Winners in each age group were awarded basketballs. Council 6191 wishes all contestants success in the Regional Competition.

2011 K of C Free Throw Championship Participants: Jordan Leandro of Cambridge Springs, Tracy Ayres of Cranesville, Sarah Maracci of McKean and Joshua and Justin Bastow, Julia and Nick Bradford, Katie Browning, Logan Donahue, Hunter Kallay, and Anna, Celeste, and Rockne Seidel of Edinboro.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 9th, 2010

The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch recently carried an outstanding series spelling out the dangers created for young athletes by a youth sports system that lacks uniformity and oversight. In response, Ohio’s governing body for high-school athletics is offering to step in and help regulate an industry that has swelled to include an estimated 40 million participants nationwide. It would mark a sea change in the way youth sports have been run, although one caveat is determining where the funding would come from to pay for such a massive program.

“We have done a disservice to our children and their families, because we have allowed the structure to grow into what it is,” Ohio State University athletic director Gene Smith told the Dispatch. “We have had all these cottage industries pop up and convince families they have to fly to Connecticut or go to Vegas to compete against the best. I think it’s a flawed system.”

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 1st, 2010

The Glenwood YMCA, 3727 Cherry Street, will host the first annual John Gilmore Beach Soccer
Tournament during Discover Presque Isle on Sunday, July 25 at Beach 11.
The tournament offers co-ed power and recreational soccer divisions; two female players must play at
all times. Players must be 16 years of age or older. Cost is $50/team. Registration deadline is
Sunday, July 25. All proceeds benefit the YMCA’s John Gilmore Fund for Diabetes Awareness and
Discover Presque Isle.

For more information, call 868-0867 and ask for Sean or Brian.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: July 1st, 2010

The Eastside Family YMCA, 2101 Nagle Road, is now accepting sign-ups for their youth (6-12) co-ed
NFL Flag Football program.

Registration deadline is Sat., July 17 (with a $5 late fee for anyone
registering after this date).

Practices are once per week beginning Aug. 11 with games held on
Saturdays starting Aug. 21. Each participant receives and keeps an authentic NFL Flag jersey and
NFL Flag belt to wear during games.

Member NFL Flag Football fee is $20; non-member participant
fee is $75. Register forms available at the Eastside YMCA Membership Desk or register online at
www.ymcaerie.org/eastside/leagues. For more information call Corey Wolff at 899-9622.

Also, the Eastside Family YMCA is now accepting sign-ups for their youth (4-5) co-ed
T-Ball program. Registration deadline is Sat., July 17 (with a $5 late fee for anyone registering after
this date).

Practices are once per week beginning Aug. 9, with games held on Saturdays starting
Aug. 21. Free for YMCA members; non-member participant fee is $75. Register at the Eastside
YMCA by calling 899-9622 or register online at www.ymcaerie.org/eastside/leagues. For more
information call Corey Wolff at 899-9622.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 30th, 2010

On Monday, I wrote this column suggested that the United States’ failures in World Cup competition stem, at least in part, from the fact we as a sporting public don’t care enough about soccer to put pressure on our international teams to be great.

Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins shares that view and goes a step beyond, insisting that our youth soccer programs have failed to produce top players. Jenkins says part of the problem is that soccer leagues are looking for talent in the wrong places — cushy suburbs instead of gritty inner-city neighborhoods:

As (U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil) Gulati noted to the Wall Street Journal before the World Cup began, American soccer “is very much a pay-to-play sport.” Gulati suggests that his federation may need to do some “outreach” in poorer communities. He can start by taking a truckload of balls into New York, Cleveland, Chicago, and San Antonio, and informing the kids at the local Boys and Girls Clubs that Messi makes about $35 million a year.

When have you ever seen a bunch of American kids kicking a soccer ball around on their own, unsupervised, across a patch of asphalt or in an empty lot? Answer: never. The day that America wins a World Cup is the day that the game is played with real urgency, as a vital imperative ambition, not just a way to display our sophistication.

This is an emotional, hot-button issue to be sure. I heard from a women’s soccer coach who was angry about my column and said most U.S. sports fans don’t engage with soccer because we have to share the sport with the rest of the world.

I am intrigued by the idea, though, that youth soccer programs, which have become ubiquitous in the past couple of decades, aren’t developing high-level players in the same way that Little Leagues are sending elite players on to the major leagues or that youth basketball and hockey programs are preparing players for the NBA and NHL.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 15th, 2010

As a youth sports parent, one of the things you do, I guess, is sign up to receive e-mail newsletters about youth sports. I receive several, some good, some not so good.

But one of the more consistently informative newsletters I receive is “Tips From the Coach,” compiled by longtime youth baseball coach Bruce Lambin, who takes a no-nonsense, common-sense approach to issues such as training, parenting, playing time and expectations. The website can be found here.

Lambin’s latest newsletter addresses the benefits of spending some time on the bench every once in a while, a concept that, unfortunately, seems to escape some of the more overzealous youth sports parents.

Here is a sampling:

I guarantee, it does not bother kids to sit on the bench. It bothers PARENTS! They are sitting up in the stands bitchin’ and second guessin’. They have traveled all this way and spent all this money and Little Bobby is sitting! Little Bobby is not unhappy (unless prodded by Mom and Dad and he thinks he is letting them down). Little Bobby is learning to be a better ballplayer. It is Mom and Dad that need to learn a few things!

Check out Lambin’s site for the complete post or to sign up to receive his newsletters. The site also includes a forum as well as a number of products Lambin sells.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: June 4th, 2010

I came across an interesting article this morning in the Baltimore Sun about the popularity of youth lacrosse, a sport that has really begun to take hold in recent years in the Erie area.

What I found fascinating is that the author, Jeff Nelligan,who has been involved in lacrosse as a coach and parent for the past decade, believes the sport is devoid of the politics that ruins the experience for so many young athletes and their families — not to mention the coaches.

Here is part of what Nelligan writes:

“It relies on the most difficult elements of athletics. It requires the hand-eye coordination of baseball — catching and throwing an unforgivingly hard ball in a small pocket, often while running. Lacrosse has the brutal collisions and the acute need for field sense found in football. And it requires the endurance of basketball and ice hockey. “Lax,” as it’s sometimes called, is a very tough game to master, and with all due respect, it’s not turning a dozen energetic kids loose on a soccer field chasing a ball, or the slow agony of kid-pitch baseball.

Nor is there the relativism in youth lacrosse seen in other youth sports. There’s no political correctness about everyone-has-fun-and-everyone-plays and please-be-nice-to-Billy. I can count on one hand the number of times snacks were handed out after games. As one of my son’s coaches, a former Gilman School and Division 1 standout, perhaps uncharitably said, “This sport doesn’t tolerate the geeks or the parents who say, ‘Oh, let’s try this for fun.’ After one season, they move on and you see their equipment at garage sales.”

And then there are the coaches, many like my friend above. I’ve coached and been around kids’ teams for a solid decade — but there’s nothing like the lacrosse coach: rough-hewn, stern, demanding. Praise is spared and practices can be grim affairs. Players are called by their last names, and parents on the sidelines get used to their kids getting ripped unmercifully for mistakes during a game.”

Posted in: Uncategorized

Switch to our mobile site