WBEZ | youth sports http://www.wbez.org/tags/youth-sports Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Sportsmanship spelled out in a sign http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-02/sportsmanship-spelled-out-sign-105404 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_he_sign2.jpg" style="width: 350px; float: right; height: 467px" title="Hoffman Estates Park District spells out sportsmanship. (Cheryl Raye-Stout)" />Have you ever watched a kid&rsquo;s game and been totally embarrassed by another adult&#39;s antics? Or maybe you got caught up and were out of control?&nbsp; Some coaches will address the adults; some coaches are the guilty party. Most people agree that it has gotten out of hand.</div><p>My son plays in a Saturday soccer league for fun. It is not a club or travel league, it is really just to play the game. The arena has the players on a surface below and the stands for viewing are above the field.&nbsp; A few weeks ago, an adult was perched over a railing hurling insults at the referee. It was incessant and unwarranted. At one point the on-looker said, &quot;Where&#39;s the whistle?&quot; The ref didn&#39;t look up, just raised his whistle in his hand and said, &quot;Right here.&quot; You would think the heckling would have stopped. It didn&#39;t.</p><p>A few days later on Facebook, I came across a picture taken of a sign that had instructions on behavior for the on-lookers at a hockey rink. The photo didn&#39;t have a location, but it does now. The <a href="http://www.heparks.org/">Hoffman Estates Park District</a> Ice Rink has the sign that has gone viral. The man behind the sign is Jeff Doschadis, General Manager of Ice Operations. Here is what the blue sign with white lettering says:</p><p style="margin-left: 135pt"><strong>Please remember</strong></p><p style="margin-left: 135pt"><strong>1. These are kids.</strong></p><p style="margin-left: 135pt"><strong>2. This is a game.</strong></p><p style="margin-left: 135pt"><strong>3. Parents should cheer for everyone.</strong></p><p style="margin-left: 135pt"><strong>4. The referees are human.</strong></p><p style="margin-left: 135pt"><strong>5. You and your child do not play for the Blackhawks.</strong></p><p style="margin-left: 135pt"><strong>If you don&#39;t understand this, please contact the ice dept. at (847) 781-3632. We would be happy to explain it to you.</strong></p><p>Jeff doesn&rsquo;t take credit for the origins of this sign, he saw it at another venue, but his sign has caught the attention across the United States and in other countries.</p><p>The Hoffman Estates Park District has an anti-bullying campaign and this is an extension of their policy. The sign was put up in September when there was a tournament with teams in the U.S.A. and Europe playing at the arena.</p><p>However, last month pictures and news about this sign spread. There wasn&rsquo;t anything out of the &ldquo;norm&rdquo; happening in Hoffman Estates.</p><p>&ldquo;As a Park District, we have seen our share of things happening involving kids, parents and referees, not just hockey, baseball, soccer any youth sports,&rdquo; Jeff said. &ldquo;It happens thoughout Chicagoland, the nation and worldwide.&rdquo;</p><p>This sign must have resonated with other parents and leagues. They have contacted Doschadis throughout the US, Vancouver, Winnipeg, even London and New Zealand. Some want to copy the sign for their own use.</p><p>When I asked Jeff if this is a bit sad, that a sign has to point out the obvious in youth sports participation, he didn&rsquo;t think so and added, &ldquo;Anything that can bring pause, make someone think about is not a bad thing.&rdquo;</p><p>Right now it is located at the two entrances to the ice rink. One line&nbsp;reminds everyone the kids are not the Blackhawks. In fact, the NHL has sent this information about the sign to all their teams, since they sponsor youth leagues. Jeff has received gratitude from officials of the Illinois Youth Hockey League, mainly for sticking up for the referees. Doschadis pointed out that most of the refs are just kids themselves, ranging from 14-16 years old. They have a lot to deal with officiating a game, let alone a belligerent parent or player.</p><p>It was compelling to me that Jeff would post the phone number, just in case someone doesn&rsquo;t get it. You know people know it is wrong, but this was putting a contact number to almost challenge the reader. There has not been one negative response, everyone knows what they are supposed to do&mdash;they sign is an effective reminder. When spring arrives, Jeff will post signs at the other park districts sporting locations,</p><p>&ldquo;Anything that would allow a parent, kid, official a moment of clarity at a youth (and high school) event and remember why they are there,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">@CRayeStout</a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame </a></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 08 Feb 2013 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-02/sportsmanship-spelled-out-sign-105404 A decade on, coaches try to bridge racial divide http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/decade-coaches-try-bridge-racial-divide-101330 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/stcover.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F75050192&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>When it comes to race relations, something as simple as a handshake can become a flashpoint. That&rsquo;s what happened about 10 years ago on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side. Two youth basketball coaches &mdash; one white, the other black &mdash; were supposed to shake hands after their teams played. But, when one extended his hand, the other refused. The incident fueled tensions that had the black coach&rsquo;s school withdrawing from the league. For more than a decade, the men held hard feelings about each other. For our series, &ldquo;Race: Out Loud,&rdquo; we invited them to sit down to see if they could reach any sort of reconciliation. But, first, WBEZ&rsquo;s Chip Mitchell spoke with each separately to hear what led to that moment on the court.</p><p>MITCHELL: The African American coach is a guy named Christopher Mallette. In 2001, he headed athletics at St. Sabina in Chicago&rsquo;s Auburn Gresham neighborhood. Mallette wanted to give his flag-football players some tackle experience. And he wanted to give something to St. Sabina players of every sport.</p><p>MALLETTE: Exposure.</p><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;The parish had been mostly black since the 1960s.</p><p>MALLETTE: We just thought, broaden the horizon of players, also the families involved.</p><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;So Mallette proposed that the school join the Southside Catholic Conference. That was a multisport league for grades five through eight. The league&rsquo;s schools &mdash; there were 21 &mdash; they were on the South Side and in a few suburbs nearby. Most of the league&rsquo;s players were white. But Mallette says he didn&rsquo;t expect much resistance to St. Sabina joining.</p><p>MALLETTE: We had every indication that it was a no-brainer. We were a big parish. No issue paying fees and dues and fielding teams and equipment. We&rsquo;re ready to roll.</p><p>FITZGERALD: There was a pride, saying, &lsquo;Hey, St. Sabina wants to join our league.&rsquo;</p><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;Tom Fitzgerald is the white coach. He headed athletics at St. Linus in Oak Lawn, a suburb 15 miles away. That parish included some families who lived near St. Sabina before the neighborhood turned black.</p><p>FITZGERALD: People were saying, &lsquo;Oh, that&rsquo;s great.&rsquo; You felt like, &lsquo;This was the parish that we lived in when we were kids.&rsquo; I thought it was kind of contagious.</p><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;But it wasn&rsquo;t.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SABINA%20BLDG_0.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Mallette headed athletics at the Faith Community of St Sabina in Chicago's Auburn-Gresham neighborhood. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div><p>FITZGERALD: I can&rsquo;t identify the source. I can tell you that I did see some unofficial police reports of the crime rate over there in the St. Sabina neighborhood. And they showed some numbers &mdash; between assaults, robberies &mdash; and people are getting nervous now, saying, &lsquo;Well, we&rsquo;re not sending our wives and kids over there&rsquo; &mdash; really concerned for their safety.</p><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;League officials voted 11 to 9 against allowing St. Sabina to join. Fitzgerald cast one of the votes to keep the parish out.</p><p>FITZGERALD: My explanation and rationale behind my vote was that I would not tell people that we would go over to St. Sabina and play and then not show up. To me, that&rsquo;s wrong. And when the vote came in for no the floodgates opened. I could not believe the amount media attention that this received.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/TRIBUNE.jpg" style="float: left;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />MITCHELL:&nbsp;Mallette says too much of the attention sided with the white parishes.</div><p>MALLETTE: If your real concern was crime, the crime that was occurring was black-on-black crime. There were no people waiting in their lair here, to jump out of their lair, and rob the families that were coming to play a basketball game.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">MITCHELL:&nbsp;League officials offered compromises. Fitzgerald says he wanted St. Sabina to play at a neutral site for a year or two before hosting games.</div><p><br />FITZGERALD: I honestly felt people would go over there, once the ice was broken. I know how good the people from this neighborhood are &mdash; how genuine and sincere they are. We could have weaned ourselves into a very healthy relationship. But when you force people to go over there, you&rsquo;re going to get resistance.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;St. Sabina rejected the compromise offers. Here&rsquo;s Mallette.<br /><br />MALLETTE: I actually had coaches and athletic directors from other SCC schools, point blank, say, &lsquo;This is about race.&rsquo; And they saw our entrance into the Southside Catholic Conference as an invasion, if you will, of their feeder program to the schools they traditionally went to. I had a coach tell me, &lsquo;I think you&rsquo;re a good guy but you got to understand, at the end of the day, we would rather have Jimmy playing quarterback &mdash; at St. Lawrence or Brother Rice or Marist or wherever &mdash; than Jermaine.&rsquo;<br /><br />FITZGERALD: I said the only way I would consider changing our vote after we had talked about it is if the cardinal called me &mdash; jokingly I said that. Next day, the cardinal calls me at home. I have really put myself in a predicament there.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;The league reversed itself and let St. Sabina in. Many schools gave a warm welcome. But there were flare-ups. At one game, some white parents had it out with St. Sabina&rsquo;s pastor. He&rsquo;s an outspoken white priest named Michael Pfleger. After another game, a St. Sabina player accused a kid on the other team of calling him the N-word. And there was the handshake incident. Fitzgerald says Mallette had refused to shake his hand after a league meeting months earlier.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: I&rsquo;m just there, like, &lsquo;You know Chris? Two can play this game.&rsquo;<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;Fitzgerald waited until the two faced off as basketball coaches and the game ended.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">FITZGERALD: The players line up first, then the coaches.</div><br /><br /><p>MALLETTE: You greet the opposite coach.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: A handshake is just a sign of respect.<br /><br />MALLETTE: You joke back and forth a little bit.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: It&rsquo;s just truly about sportsmanship.<br /><br />MALLETTE: It&rsquo;s just part of the fraternity of coaches and part of what you do.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: I was the last one in line. I shook all the kids&rsquo; hands. I shook his assistant coach&rsquo;s hand. And he extended his hand. I just went up to him, kind of got close, put my hand on his shoulder. I congratulated him about a good game but I refused to shake his hand.<br /><br />MALLETTE: And I called, &lsquo;Coach! Coach!&rsquo; I think he looked over his shoulder and kept going.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: I made sure that I did not make a spectacle out of it.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LINUS.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />MALLETTE: The kids from St. Sabina saw that. You know what? I&rsquo;m sure the kids from St. Linus saw that also. I know the parents from St. Sabina saw it and they were sitting in the stands right next to the parents from St. Linus.</div><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;The St. Sabina parents eventually decided they&rsquo;d had enough. Just before the playoffs, they voted to pull their school out of the league. They said it was a matter of protecting their integrity. But the whole experience left Fitzgerald feeling burned.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: I&rsquo;ll tell you, the people who know me and the people I represented backed me up. And that meant more to me than anything else.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;He dabs his eyes.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: You know, I&rsquo;m not a racist. And I&rsquo;m just like, &lsquo;God, that&rsquo;s just mean.&rsquo; Discrimination is not right. Being a racist isn&rsquo;t right. But I&rsquo;m being accused of something that I&rsquo;m furthest from being. And that bothered me.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;Despite the feelings, the coaches never saw fit to speak with each other about why they didn&rsquo;t shake hands &mdash; and about why the effort to put St. Sabina in the Southside Catholic Conference failed. More than 10 years passed. This summer we invited them to sit down together.<br /><br />MITCHELL (on scene):&nbsp;Thanks so much to both of you for agreeing to talk.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;The conversation lasted almost two hours. Christopher Mallette said his players &mdash; the St. Sabina kids &mdash; he said they learned something from playing the white teams that season.<br /><br />MALLETTE: None of our kids could sincerely say they could brand the South Side Irish as racist because they met so many good coaches, so many good parents, principals, nuns, priests. There was an exposure there. You can&rsquo;t stereotype any longer.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: There had to have been a way to make this work .<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;Tom Fitzgerald said race was never the issue for his Oak Lawn parish.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LINUS%20BLDG_0.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Fitzgerald headed athletics at St. Linus Parish in Oak Lawn, a suburb just southwest of Chicago. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />FITZGERALD: I wish the test of time would have had an opportunity to allow St. Sabina to stay in. Unfortunately, some walls were built, intentionally or unintentionally, that prevented us all from trying to get that done.</div><br /><br /><p>MALLETTE: I think what hurt St. Sabina most deeply was that so few, if any, or no people from other parishes who stood up and said, &lsquo;You know what? We&rsquo;re standing with you here.&rsquo; And there&rsquo;s also a sense of nostalgia, I think.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: My parents, I mean, there are people my age who had their first few years of grade school at St. Sabina.<br /><br />MALLETTE: Yeah.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: That whole area over there.<br /><br />MALLETTE: And, if you even look at where the South Side Irish Parade began, it began at St. Sabina.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: Over on 79th Street.<br /><br />MALLETTE: And it went down 79th Street. But you also look at white flight. And when white flight took place and a lot of the South Side folks moved out of those parish communities and moved a little bit further south, a little bit further west. And, at that time, the adults and coaches were kids. They were the kids around the table.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: That&rsquo;s where I was born.<br /><br />MALLETTE: Yeah, &lsquo;Why are we moving?&rsquo; And you&rsquo;re told, &lsquo;Crime.&rsquo; And the only thing that you see is black people moving in so, psychologically, you equate black people with crime.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: Generically I will agree with that comment but it depends upon how you were brought up too.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;Mallette told Fitzgerald the white schools weren&rsquo;t the only ones worried about safety.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SABINA.jpg" style="float: left;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />MALLETTE: I received letters telling us that someone was going to put a bullet into a kid&rsquo;s back when they show up from the Aryan Nation. We were getting all types of things. We were getting phone calls.</div><br /><br /><p>MITCHELL:&nbsp;Mallette also talked about what it was like for St. Sabina people to travel to a white parish.</p><p>MALLETTE: We actually got pulled over, we actually got racially profiled, going to a meeting with the athletic board. And that was the one thing I had mentioned and everyone had laughed and shrugged off, &lsquo;That will never happen.&rsquo; And it was a meeting to talk about our kid being called the N-word at a basketball game. And here you get pulled over and you have citizens come out of their homes, cheering the police on. While myself, the father, the mother and the 13-year-old kid are spread eagle with their hands on the trunk of a car, trying to find this meeting place.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: That&rsquo;s wrong. I didn&rsquo;t walk in your shoes. For everything that you went through that year, those were shoes that were probably very difficult to walk in.<br /><br />MITCHELL:&nbsp;I brought up what happened between the two men on that basketball court &mdash; the handshake that didn&rsquo;t happen. Fitzgerald pointed to Mallette&rsquo;s slight from months earlier. Mallette said he didn&rsquo;t remember it.<br /><br />MALLETTE: If I did shun you there, Tom, I apologize. That shouldn&rsquo;t have happened.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/BASKETBALL_1.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /><br /><br />FITZGERALD: Nor should I have shunned you back. That&rsquo;s not what I want to teach my sons.<br /><br />MALLETTE: That&rsquo;s really the most important thing is that our kids get better and do better than we do.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: Absolutely.<br /><br />MALLETTE: And I think a large part of that is to see not just all of our successes and all of our trophies and diplomas on the wall but to have honest conversations with our children about where we fell short.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: And maybe shame on some people for not standing by you and saying, &lsquo;Hey, let&rsquo;s try to understand really what&rsquo;s going on here.&rsquo;<br /><br />MALLETTE: Right.<br /><br />FITZGERALD: We missed that opportunity.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">MITCHELL:&nbsp;After talking &mdash; seeing each other for the first time since that basketball season a decade ago &mdash; Tom Fitzgerald and Christopher Mallette got up to leave. They shook hands and said goodbye.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 01 Aug 2012 10:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/race-out-loud/decade-coaches-try-bridge-racial-divide-101330 'The Most Expensive Game in Town': A look at the rising cost of youth sports http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-29/most-expensive-game-town-look-rising-cost-youth-sports-97740 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-29/youth soccer flickr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="333" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-29/youth%20soccer%20flickr.jpg" title="(Flickr/Erica Hampton)" width="500"></p><p>Kids cost a pretty penny these days. According to the <a href="http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/expendituresonchildrenbyfamilies.htm" target="_blank">U.S. Department of Agriculture</a>, it costs a middle-income, two-parent family $226,920, on average, to raise a child from birth to age 18—that’s almost 14 grand every year! That figure primarily accounts for general expenses like food, shelter, health and child care, transportation and education. The price tag for parents of the nearly 50 million kids who play organized sports each year is even steeper.</p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><span style="font-size:10px;">Listen to Lester Munson and Mark Hyman on the Afternoon Shift</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1333561907-0" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Lester Munson.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div></div></div><br><p>In his new book, <em>The Most Expensive Game in Town: The Rising Cost of Youth Sports and the Toll on Today's Families</em>, sports journalist <a href="http://www.markhyman.com/" target="_blank">Mark Hyman</a> examines the cost of youth sports—from uniforms to equipment, league fees, travel, tournament fees and clinics. In the book, he tells the story of one father of three, Fran Dicari, who blogs about his expenses under the moniker “<a href="http://www.statsdad.com/p/youth-sports-costs.html" target="_blank">Stats Dad</a>.” Last year, Dicari spent over $11,000 on league fees, physical therapy, personal coaches, AAU fees, baseball cleats, basketball sneakers, turf cleats, golf shoes, baseball gloves, golf gloves, airline tickets, shirts, shorts and oh so much more.</p><p>Hometown hockey hero and current color commentator for the Chicago Blackhawks Eddie Olczyk also recognized the rising cost of recreation. And so the Chicago Blackhawks and the Blackhawks Charities created <a href="http://blackhawks.nhl.com/club/page.htm?id=74491" target="_blank">The Eddie Olczyk Award</a> to support young hockey players and teams in Illinois who may not have the means to play at a competitive level. Olczyk joined Hyman, ESPN.com senior writer Lester Munson and Steve Edwards on <em>The Afternoon Shift </em>to discuss the high price of play.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 29 Mar 2012 17:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-29/most-expensive-game-town-look-rising-cost-youth-sports-97740