Apr 26 2016

12-Year-Old Girl Runs Half-Marathon by Mistake

Watch this video about a 12-year-old girl who ran a half-marathon by accident and feel like a marshmallow. Well, that’s how it made me feel.

marathon mistake

Also proud of the kid. 13.1 miles is impressive enough, but to run that far when you had only trained to run 5 miles is… well, dang. Watch here:

If the embedded video above doesn’t work, click the link below.

Source: 12-Year-Old Girl Runs Half-Marathon by Mistake (NBCNewYork.com)


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Jan 27 2016

Article by Brett Singer in Clark Magazine

Why hello there! I, the one and only Brett Singer, wrote a story for Clark Magazine, published by Clark University (‘natch).

The topic? Youth sports, specifically baseball, because that’s what I played as a kid and later coached my own child’s team. There were some big differences between then and now, which is what I talk about. The article is posted below.

Brett Singer Clark Magazine

You can also read the full issue online here. (Look for Clark Magazine, Fall 2015.)

The article I wrote was a full-page sidebar to a story written by Jeremy Shulkin about the reality show “Friday Night Tykes“, produced by Matt Maranz. And special thanks to James Keogh of Clark Magazine for the opportunity. (I like to give everyone credit.)

You can read more of my writing at brettsinger.org, see a nifty portfolio at Contently, or follow me on Twitter, which you should be doing anyway because I’m hilarious and extremely insightful. Also humble.

Bonus: here’s a wicked old photo of Clark University, back when it was called Clark College. Gotta love Wikipedia.

English: Clark College (now Clark University),...

English: Clark College (now Clark University), Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. This photograph published circa 1910. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Aug 19 2015

Mixed Feelings About James Harrison And Participation Trophies (UPDATED)

NFL player James Harrison does not believe in participation trophies. Even if they’re for his own kids.

James Harrison and coach Keith Butler can be s...

James Harrison and coach Keith Butler can be see in the background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Via ProFootballTalk:

Anyone who’s ever watched Steelers linebacker James Harrison play football knows that he’s an intense competitor who wants to win at all costs. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that Harrison is passing along that intense competitiveness to his sons.

That’s a good, but imperfect, description of what Harrison did. Here’s the post from Harrison’s Instagram:

In general I agree with the notion that we have gone too far in the direction of “attaboy” awards for children and for adults. So while at first I might be inclined to join the chorus of “yay! Go James Harrison!”, in this specific case I think returning the trophies puts Harrison’s kids in an uncomfortable situation socially. Granted, their father is a professional football player, and a well-known one at that. (He’s not Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, but most NFL fans know who James Harrison is.) That makes it easier. And I would never presume to tell someone that they should go against their personal family values, even if that person isn’t someone who can throw me across a room with his pinkie. (That doesn’t mean I think people can beat their kids, or do other harm to their children in the name their individual “family values”.)

However. In this specific case, everyone gets a trophy. I admit those trophies look a lot bigger than the crappy ones that we got “just for playing” when I was young. But youth sports often have a participation trophy, or certificate of completion, or something along those lines. This analogy isn’t perfect, but if a player is injured, he still gets paid, right? The backup quarterback of a Super Bowl winning team still gets a ring, even if he never played a single down. (I know the analogy isn’t perfect. If you have a better one, let me know and I’ll post it.)

Maybe you’re a good player on a crappy team. In my case, I was a crappy player on a great team, at least my first year in youth baseball. The team was so good we won the championship. I didn’t do much to contribute, but I got a HUGE trophy. Should I have given it back because I didn’t do enough to earn it?

This is in no way a commentary on James Harrison’s parenting skills. (And not only because he could hurt me if he wanted to.) I don’t know what kind of father Mr. Harrison is, and I’m glad to see that he is, at minimum, an involved one. But while I agree that “sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better” I’m not sure it follows that participation trophies are given out because kids “cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u [sic] up and keep you happy.” That certainly wasn’t the case when I played, nor was it the case when my own children played.

The truth is, part of life IS about showing up. Maybe the answer lies somewhere in between. Kids who never missed a game or a practice without a legitimate medical reason get a trophy, while kids who only bothered to show up every other game get bupkis. That won’t happen, but it would be a happy medium.

UPDATE: Albert Burneko wrote a piece on this topic for Deadspin that is less restrained than mine. (H/T Whit Honea.)

Source: James Harrison won’t let his sons accept participation trophies (ProFootballTalk)


Apr 17 2014

Goalrilla Spring Trainer – Amazon Lightning Deal

Act fast or you’ll miss this great Amazon Lightning Deal on the Goalrilla Spring Trainer, a device that could help your child be a better baseball player.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos starts his High Orde...

Jeff says: Buy this now!

Basically the Goalrilla Spring Trainer looks like a way for your kid to practice batting without a pitcher. Which is handy. (I misread this item as Gorilla Spring Trainer, which is funnier. Maybe it’s a gorilla that pitches to your kid. That too would be handy, although messier since you’d have to feed the gorilla and clean up it’s poop.)

The regular price is $286.13, as of this writing Amazon is selling it for $149.99. That’s over 50% off. (63% to be precise. And no, I did not do the math. Amazon did it for me. Thanks Jeff!)

If you want it, here it is, come and get it. It’s a Lightning Deal, and those actually do expire quickly.

Amazon.com: Goalrilla Spring Trainer: Sports & Outdoors.

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Dec 30 2013

And Then There’s This

From Yahoo Sports and Deadspin, video and tweets about a high school basketball game in which there was some fighting on the court. Notable because of the involvement (not in the fighting) of WNBA player Skylar Diggins, who is repped by Jay-Z. (The latter answers my question of “is Jay-Z the agent for anyone other than Robinson Cano?” The answer would appear to be yes.) Diggins was at the game because her jersey was being retired. It’s unclear if this story would be newsworthy without her presence, although we are talking about a high school basketball game that involved after the whistle fighting and there’s video, by which I mean ya never know.

I would explain what happened but (a) I’m not 100% certain and (b) it’s mostly “she tweeted this and then another person tweeted that” and Deadspin did a fairly straightforward wrap up. One thing worth noting is that while the video posted on Yahoo Sports (taken from WSBT-TV) focuses on the punch that knocked a player to the ground, this quote from Deadspin more accurately describes the full incident:

Diggins’s former Washington High School (Ind.) was facing Oregon-Davis (Ind.) when Lexi Minix, a player from Oregon-Davis, shoved a Washington player after the whistle. The Washington player smacked Minix in the face, and Minix fell to the floor.

Emphasis added. Not that it’s OK to hit people, but it does change the story from “she hit her for no reason” to “she hit her when she got shoved after the whistle”, meaning that it wasn’t during the playing of the game.

Also, this:

Oregon-Davis head coach Terry Minix is Lexi’s father, and Washington head coach Maurice Scott is Diggins’ stepfather. (via Yahoo)

As I’ve said before – ah, sports.

Oh, something else worth noting. The twitter accounts of some of the folks involved are listed as “protected”. However, their tweets are embedded on Deadspin’s site. I’m not talking about screenshots, I mean actually embedded directly from Twitter as far as I can tell. My point here is that “protected” doesn’t necessarily mean no one can see your tweets. In general, if you’d prefer not to have the public read your words, tweeting them is a bad idea. But it is interesting that despite the “protected” nature of the account, the tweets can still be embedded. Note: I am not making any accusation(s) against anyone, merely mentioning something I noticed.

Happy New Year! Peace!

Girls’ Basketball Game Turns Ugly With Some Help From Skylar Diggins – Deadspin

See also Yahoo Sports – Prep Rally


Oct 14 2013

Video: Baton Fire at High School Football Game

Via Deadspin, video of a fire at a high school football game that was caused by flaming batons.

The game was not in Baton Rogue. Ba-dum-bum.

Best part is the commentary by whoever shot the video. “That’s a fire!” “Gatorade! Gatorade!” Also, it looks like the cheerleaders/dancers never stop doing their thing. Because it’s only a fire.

Youth sports.  Never a dull moment.

Baton-Twirling Legend Causes Fire At High School Football Game


Sep 02 2013

Video – Alabama High School Football Coaches Fighting (Stupidity)

Via Deadspin, a story about high school football coaches behaving very badly:

Alabama High School Coaches Fighting on the Field

Alabama high school football coaches coming to blows after a game shouldn’t be that surprising, considering how seriously Alabama takes football in general, but that doesn’t make the incident any less ridiculous.

Here’s the video:

The key phrase above is “but that doesn’t make the incident any less ridiculous.” I don’t care how “seriously Alabama takes football in general,” these are adults being paid to coach kids. Yes, high school football is a big deal in some parts of these United States. Youth sports in general have become increasingly popular over the past 10+ years (my estimate), with major media coverage of younger and younger players. Remember the story about a 13-year-old QB committing to USC in 2010? (Here’s a follow-up on the now 17-year-old David Sills from June of 2013 if you’re interested; I admit to not actually watching the video I just linked to because I don’t really care.)

In case the above parenthetical was unclear, I’m not a fan of the excessive media coverage of youth sports. These are kids, most of whom will not go on to have professional sports careers, and they don’t benefit financially from the attention they receive unless they do manage to make it to the pro level. I am a fan of kids participating in youth sports, and I hope that the increased scrutiny of young athletes hasn’t taken away any opportunities for less talented youngsters to get on the field. For example, I was a sub-par baseball player — my first season I didn’t get a hit, although I was third on the team in walks because I quickly realized that 12-year-old pitchers don’t hit the strike zone all that often (at least they didn’t back then). By the time I stopped playing, I was good enough to start at first base and probably hit about .260 (guessing here). But I loved baseball. I was never going to be a superstar, but neither were most of my teammates. Why did I quit? Because the kids AND THE COACHES became increasingly hostile and hyper-competitive. Competitiveness can be a good thing on and off the field. But when a grown man screams and curses at a 10-year-old for striking out, that’s insane. A lack of sportsmanship from teammates doesn’t help either. This isn’t to say that everybody has to congratulate you for whiffing at an easy pitch and ending the inning with the bases loaded. But, to paraphrase Lisa Simpson, why would you come to our game just to boo (and curse at) us?

That’s why the video upsets me. It looks like a freakin’ bar bawl. I know these aren’t little kids; many high school football players are anything but little these days. It doesn’t matter. No one should behave like this, but for non-professional coaches it’s even more embarrassing.

via Alabama High School Football Coaches Get Into Postgame Brawl (Deadspin)