In August of 2000, with the help of some of the country’s most respected experts in the worlds of sports, medicine, psychology, law, technology, business and marketing, I launched MomsTeam.com to address the needs of sports parents.
I knew, as a mother of sports active triplet sons, that it would take an entire team of people to give youth sports parents the information and support they needed to be successful. I recall the day I was standing on the sidelines of my son’s first lacrosse game chatting with some other parents. We were comparing notes: where did we go to buy our kids’ sticks and pads, did our pediatricians ask the same questions during their pre-participation physical evaluations, is there such a thing as the best mouth guard, how were we ever going to manage getting our kids to all of their games on time and in uniform, did anyone know the coach, and what was the best time and place to talk to him if we had a concern?
We stood there sharing our collective wisdom, concerns, and questions for the entire game. Near the end of the game, one of the parents remarked, “Wouldn’t be great if there was a manual for sports parenting?” One of the dads turned to me and said: “Brooke, you could write that one.” I responded, “I couldn’t do it all by myself. I would need a team. I know a lot from my experience as an athlete, coach, fundraiser, community activist, and from starting a brand new soccer league, and I do seem to be the go-to person when any parent has a question. But, frankly, I have just as many, if not more, questions of my own about sports parenting.”
Thus, from a sideline discussion between a lawyer, emergency room nurse, child psychologist and a few other sports parents – what one of my sons so aptly called Mom’s team – was born MomsTeam.com.® Fast forward nearly a decade after that ah-ha-moment; and, instead of standing on the sideline of a youth lacrosse game I am sitting at my desk in the editorial offices of YouthSportsParents huddling with my staff.
Again, everyone was asking questions, but this time the questions were much more difficult to answer: First, was there any way to solve the youth sports crisis in this country, to make it child-centered again, to make it as much about having fun and skill development as it was about winning, to reduce the alarming number of injuries kids are suffering playing sports – not just physical injuries such as concussions and overuse injuries, but emotional ones as well.
And, second, how could YouthSportsParents use its position as a trusted source of information for youth sports parents to advocate for change while at the same time upholding the high standards of journalistic objectivity that had become our trademark?