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"The Smartest Team": Staking Out The Sensible Middle In The Polarized Debate About Football

It has been an exciting week for those of us who worked so hard over the past two years to produce "The Smartest Team: Making High School Football Safer.

After kicking off with our premiere on Oklahoma Educational Television (OETA - PBS) in August, and with stations in North Carolina and Colorado having aired the documentary in September, the beginning of October marks the first full week of broadcasts on PBS stations in more than ten states. 

The buzz about the PBS documentary, "The Smartest Team," has been overwhelmingly positive, but some appear to be working overtime, on Twitter, through a whisper campaign, and via other back-channel means, to cripple MomsTEAM's ability to get its message out. Brooke de Lench explains.

Margaret Stafford Taught NFL QB Matthew To Feel Confident, Not Entitled


Role models are hidden in our everyday lives and neighborhoods. You just have to find them. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Margaret Stafford, mother of Detroit Lions quarterback, Matthew. As I journey further down the football mom tunnel, I thought it might be a good idea to pick up some tips from the best. Margaret did not disappoint. After all, she is a pro now, too!Matt Stafford

A Dallas football mom learns from her neighbor, Margaret Stafford, that the secret to the success of her son, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, both on and off the field is to be confident, but not feel entitled. 

The Truth About Sexual Abuse Of Athletes By Coaches: It's All About Power

Since the Sandusky case, many have jumped on the bandwagon to address child sexual abuse in sports. We show videos of adolescent aged girls and boys being targeted and abused. Without a doubt, we react emotionally and with revulsion to something so horrific as the taking the innocence of a young child.Girl swimming butterfly

Yet, that isn't the whole truth when discussing coach-athlete sexual abuse. If you look at the list of banned swim coaches on the USA Swimming website, there isn't one coached banned for sexual abuse who was accused of having a relationship with a swimmer under the age of 13.

Since the Jerry Sandusky case, many have jumped on the bandwagon to address child sexual abuse in sports. The problem is that we are still not seeing the issue as the abuse of power that it is, says the founder of Safe4Athletes, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting sexual abuse of athletes.

The Road to Varsity: Lessons from Little League

My relocation to North Carolina temporarily disrupted my officiating schedule. With membership into a new association pending,  I needed to find a way to work on my game during the summer and fall without the benefit of regularly scheduled summer basketball. Tennis provided an excellent venue for physical preparation.  Tennis, like basketball requires fitness, quickness, teamwork and stamina. But while tennis helped with the physical game, it was watching Little League baseball, more than anything else, that helped the most with the mental side of basketball officiating.

A high school basketball official prepares for the upcoming season by learning valuable lessons on the mental aspects of sports by watching the fun 10-year-olds have playing Little League baseball.

Making Youth Sports Safer: Moms Have The Power!

Another high school football player dies after a head on head collision. A young ilfe cut short way to soon. A tragedy for sure. Education, better coaching, and impact devices in helmets can only do so much. Officials can only do so much, but in many cases not enough.  Moms cheering at football game

One of our three high school hockey goalies has already gotten a concussion during "Captains Practice." The official season starts in November. Hope he recovers in time.

Unless those with all the power in youth sports intervene to demand changes, the status quo will continue, and more and more kids will be seriously injured, some lasting for a lifetime. Who has the power to make youth sports safer? Moms, says longtime hockey and lacrosse coach, Hal Tearse.

From Son Up to Son Down: A Middle School Football Game-Day Diary

 

The big day finally has arrived! Who is ready for some Tuesday night football? After a summer of workouts, drills, and tournaments, it is finally time for my son to use all the skills he has learned on the football field.

After 8 years of playing against the other neighborhood school teams, the 7th grade is finally together as one team. The first game is a big one. The schedule has 7th grade as the away team, so it comes with the added bonus of traveling on a bus with 100 + of your favorite 12- and 13-year-old boys. Just bless the coaches right now!

So here is the game-day journal of just another football mom, navigating her way through the waters of 7th grade football!

After 8 years of playing against the other neighborhood school teams, a Texas youth football player begins 7th grade football. Want to know what it's like for his mom? Well, here's her game-day journal.

Wanderlust Festival: Seven Reasons Why It Is A Not-To-Be-Missed Experience For the Entire Family

Once again this year, I had the privilege of attending on behalf of MomsTEAM the fabulous Wanderlust Festival, a 4 day adventure combining yoga, music, nature, and inspiration.  Although I am not yet a parent, I returned from Colorado more convinced than ever that Wanderlust is a not-to-be-missed experience for parents and their children.

The Wanderlust Festival is a 4-day adventure combining yoga, music, nature, and inspiration. After attending again this year, MomsTEAM blogger Tracey Wright shares her list of 7 reasons why attending the festival is a not-to-be-missed experience for the entire family.

Improving Football Safety: Is It Up To Parents?


Now that the concussion lawsuit filed by retired National Football League players has apparently been settled (remember: the judge still has to give her approval), it's time to focus on the upcoming football season, and working to make the sport safer at every level of the game. Missy Womack

Sincerest form of flattery

We could sit back and wait for the N.F.L., National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS), USA Football and Pop Warner to lead the way on football safety.

Football safety is largely up to parents, argues Brooke de Lench, working with all other groups in their community with a stake in making football safer, including independent football organizations, school boards, school superintendents, athletic directors, coaches, school nurses and psychologists, and other health care providers, to improve football safety at the grassroots level.

Youth Sports Hero of the Month: Pierre Garcon (Washington Redskins)


"I'm ready for a sports hero who doesn't treat the world like his spittoon," Golf Digest columnist Tom Callahan told the New York Times two years ago.

I think that Callahan was off-base in his blanket dismissal of professional athletes and their better instincts. Most pros recognize the responsibilities that come with being in the public spotlight; most obey the law, and many devote time and energy to community betterment. Pros make headlines when they stray, but most do not stray. Pierre Garcon with team that won uniforms

Most professional athletes recognize the responsibilities that come with being in the public spotlight; most obey the law, and many devote time and energy to community betterment. But few pros likely serve their community as earnestly as Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon.

Two-A-Days: Are You Ready For Some Football?


Mid-August in Texas can only mean one thing: it is time for football season, finally!

Before we can start school and focus on the upcoming schedule, we tune up with "two-a-days."  In its purest form, that means teams practice in the early morning, take a break, and come back in the evening for a second practice, thus avoiding practice during the hottest part of the day. Football player hydrating

A Texas mom of two teenagers - a son in his first year of middle school football and a daughter on the high school drill team - slogs through an  endless series of two-a-days in preparation for another year of school and sports.
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