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Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Plainfield (Conn.) High School Athletes


"Sports does not build character. Sports reveals character," said journalist Heywood Broun more than half a century ago. He meant that athletic competition can bring out either the best or the worst in an athlete, depending on the inner strengths or weaknesses that the athlete brings to the game. Sports can be noble or ignoble, depending on who is playing and how they play.

On the night of September 26, 2014, fans displayed the ignoble side of sports at a high school football game in Plainfield, Connecticut. Within hours, however, the noble side prevailed as Plainfield student-athletes confronted a wrong that had reportedly festered in their town's sports programs for years.

Sports can be noble or ignoble, depending on who is playing and how they play. On the night of September 26, 2014, fans displayed the ignoble side of sports at a high school football game in Plainfield, Connecticut. Within hours, however, the noble side prevailed as Plainfield student-athletes confronted a wrong that had reportedly festered in their town's sports programs for years.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Alex Norwood (Conyers, Ga.) and Schuyler LaRue (Maryville, Tenn.)


Sixteen-year-old Atlanta-area first baseman Alex Norwood hit a dramatic grand slam in a winning cause on March 21, but his truly game-changing hit was none that never appeared on the scoreboard.

In a junior varsity game at Newtown High, the Rockdale County High junior came through in the clutch in a way that mattered even more when, between the second and third innings, home plate umpire Woody Reagin suffered a massive heart attack and collapsed. Alex Norwood and coach Jerrid Harris

This month's Youth Sports Heroes honors two high school students - one a wrestler, one a baseball player - who were in the right place at the right time to save the lives of an umpire and fan who, but for their training and quick thinking, might have died.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Overland High School (Aurora, Colo.) Girls Soccer Team

 

When the Overland High School Trailblazers opened their varsity soccer season against the Fairview High School Knights on March 12, the girls were short one player. The referees sidelined Trailblazer Samah Aidah as a result of a pre-game ruling that her hijab, a headscarf worn by Muslim women as a sign of modesty and devotion, created an alleged "danger." Aurora Colorado girls soccer team wearing hajibs

When a referee sidelined Overland High School soccer player Samah Aidah because her hijab allegedly created a "danger," her teammates expressed their solidarity at their next game by all wearing hajibs. 

Disciplining Youth Sports Coaches: Lots of Factors To Consider

My March "Youth Sports Hero of the Month" column honored 12-year-old Matthew Marotta for his sportsmanship at the end of a hard-fought pee wee hockey tournament game in Winnipeg, Manitoba on February 16.

For readers who might not have read that blog entry yet, the Nanaimo Clippers edged Matthew's Prince George Cougars, 3-2, on a hotly disputed goal in the final moments of double overtime.Youth hockey player watching action from bench

In his March Youth Sports Hero of the Month blog, Doug Abrams honored 12-year-old Matthew Marotta for his sportsmanship at the end of a hard-fought pee wee hockey tournament game in Winnipeg, Manitoba.   In this post, the former youth hockey coach focuses on the factors sports leagues should weigh in considering disciplinary measures against a coach, using the Marotta incident as a jumping off point.

Youth Sports Hero of the Month: Terrance Washington (Louisville, Ky.)

For West End Yellow Jackets football coach Terrance Washington, practice at Russell Lee Park in Louisville, Kentucky on the night of September 12 seemed just like any other practice. Then, as he was putting the Mighty Mite Division team through its paces, he heard parents yelling that a two-year-old girl had just fallen 15 feet into a dark abandoned well 50 yards from the field.

"We were scared, we were screaming, we couldn't get it together," the little girl's cousin said later. "Fortunately . . . , Washington didn't hesitate."

It started out like any other practice for Lexington, KY youth football coach Terrance Washington. But then, as he was putting his team through its paces, he heard parents yelling that a two-year-old girl had just fallen about 15 feet into a dark abandoned well about 50 yards from the field, and he didn't hesitate.

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.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Dan and Susan Farren (Rohnert Park, CA.); Ray Antonopoulos & Jeff Meisner (West Newbury, MA)



In a Cal Ripkin Baseball game on April 13, eight-year-old Matthew Henry was hit in the chest by a pitch and left the batter's box on his way to first base. He collapsed after a few steps, reportedly the victim of commotio cordis ("agitation of the heart," in Latin).

The value of having trained medical personnel and an automated external defibrillator nearby was never more apparent then in this month's Youth Sports Heroes blog honoring two pairs of Good Samaritans who, in an 11-day span, saved the lives of an 8-year-old baseball player and a mom watching her son play baseball.

Doug Abrams Receives USA Hockey's Excellence in Safety Award

University of Missouri law professor, and MomsTEAM expert, Doug Abrams is the 2013 recipient of the Excellence in Safety Award presented by USA Hockey, the sport's national governing body. He is the first lawyer and law professor to receive the award.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Andrew Austen (Radnor, Pa.), Whitney Foster (Louisville, Ky.), and Avery Ingram (Eugene, Ore.)

Andrew Austen, Whitney Foster and Avery Ingram are different from one another in many ways. They live in different parts of the country, play different high school sports, and maintain different training regimens.  They likely have never met one another, but they are joined by a common thread – all three have overcome disabilities to play on teams with their friends and classmates. Participation in sports enriches not only their lives, but also the lives of coaches, teammates and opponents whose respect they have earned for their determination and talent.

Andrew Austen, Whitney Foster and Avery Ingram are different from one another in many ways. They live in different parts of the country, play different high school sports, and maintain different training regimens. They likely have never met one another, but they are joined by a common thread – all three have overcome disabilities to play on teams with their friends and classmates.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Lewis Winter (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Nicholas Penberthy (East Amherst, N.Y.)

This month's youth sports heroes are giving the children of migrant farm workers in Florida and inner-city children in Buffalo a chance to play sports.
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