Adults and youth sports (5×8 – 10/23/12)

The messages we send, why are elections held on Tuesday, hooked on Mommy’s heroin, the seven-hour marathoner, and asking for help and getting it in North Dakota.


At some point today the Minnesota State High School League is going to rule on last week’s brawl at a soccer game between Totino-Grace and Prairie Seeds, a shameful episode that has been accompanied — if our e-mail is any indication — by parents excusing their children’s behavior by blaming the other team.

Hundreds — thousands, perhaps — of similarly-aged kids played soccer last week without brawling and embarrassing themselves, their families, and their schools.

“We support our boys. We are just thankful that our boys are safe. There was a lot of fear,” the school’s dean of students told WCCO.

The MSHSL issued this statement yesterday…

The Minnesota State High School League continues to investigate a series of incidents that occurred during and after the Section 5A boys soccer championship game on Thursday, Oct. 18. League staff is reviewing reports from the game officials as well as others. League staff has requested additional information from the participating schools and it will also be reviewed before action, if any, is taken.

League staff plans to conclude its investigation on Tuesday, Oct. 23, after which the League intends to issue a definitive statement. Until that time, the League has no further comment.

“If any”? And can’t someone in charge at least say something like, “brawling is

unacceptable” as a general statement of policy?

Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of disturbing youth sports stories in the news today. The New York Times, for example, visited Southbridge, Massachusetts where a couple of Pop Warner teams went at it recently.

One team ran up the score — it was 52-0 — before the game head to end because too many kids had been knocked out of the game. Mercy rules, which allow contests to be stopped when lopsided, were ignored. It’s a man’s game, afterall.

The tough-guy coach of the winners had this assessment of the embarrassment: “This is a football game, not a Hallmark moment.”

The program’s slogan is, “are you tough enough?”

The league suspended both coaches for the rest of the season, the referees for the game were tossed out, and the presidents of both football programs were put on probation.

That’s how you stop the nonsense.

Rules are only as effective as the adults charged with enforcing them, the Times noted.

Somewhere, though, youth sports is teaching kids the right things — Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, for example, where everyone seems more interesting in helping a blind player and one who is deaf than running up the score…

That’s because the soon-to-be 11-year-old Gage, a fifth-grade student at Muhlenberg Elementary School in Allentown, is blind.

That, however, has not prevented him from playing a game he loves.

With the assistance of game officials and teammates who help position him before the ball is snapped, Gage, who has a heightened sense of hearing, can play his defensive nose guard position.

Just getting to compete is a dream come true for Gage, who has been blind since birth.

“Gage has been wanting to play football for three years now, but I just wouldn’t give in,” said his mother, Melissa Hein. “I just had a lot of concerns as a mother, especially with his vision impairment.

“But it has been such an esteem-booster for him, more than anyone could possibly imagine. He gets mad when they cancel practice because of rain.”

It’s not only good for Gage, but for his teammates as well, because they experience the true meaning of youth sports. They are learning the values of teamwork, camaraderie, concern for one another and, in the case of Gage, how to overcome adversity.

LCYA’s younger flag football team also has a boy, 6-year-old Alonso Hernandez of Emmaus, who inspires those around him.

Alonso, a first-grader at Lincoln Elementary School in Emmaus, is nearly deaf.

“Our organization encourages participation,” said LCYA football coordinator Buddy Farr. “We want to help kids by keeping them off the streets and giving them something positive to do. And in the case of kids like Gage and Alonso, we’re saying that even if you have a disability, you can still be part of the team.


The answer is a bit obscure, NPR says, and has to do with buggies.

Related: Will social media decide the presidency? (BBC)


Words for this story? Anyone? Me, neither.

Rebecca Rachelle Hill told police she and her pre-teen daughter regularly liked to do the same things.

Their shared interests included a heroin habit that left the 12-year-old so addicted she was hospitalized for drug withdrawal last week, according to felony charges against Hill. She told police she regularly gave the girl heroin and marijuana and brought her along on shoplifting trips.


Officials had cleaned up most of the 26 mile course from Sunday’s marathon in Mankato by the time Burt Carlson came sprinting across the finish line. He’s 86.

KEYC – Mankato News, Weather, Sports –

(h/t: Michael Stalberger)


I’ve mentioned Farm Rescue before, but the new video reinforces an observation I made to some acquaintances over the weekend: I’ve never met anyone from North Dakota I didn’t like.

Bonus I: A pianist set up “shop” at a bus station in Newcastle in the UK and urged passersby to contribute a note or two.

Bonus II: Is promoting wearing bike helmets bad for public health? Carleton College students are going to settle the growing debate. Maybe.


The 2012 presidential debates are now history. Today’s Question: What should have been covered in the debates, but wasn’t?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Debate analysis.

Second hour: Worried brain: Why our fears don’t match the facts.

Third hour: In his new book “The American Bible,” author and religion scholar Stephen Prothero writes “To be an American is not to subscribe to a Common Creed. It is to engage in a common conversation.” He joins The Daily Circuit to discuss the texts that have shaped and informed that conversation.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Rebroadcast of last night’s presidential debate.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – Weeks before cantaloupe from a Colorado farm killed dozens of people last year, a food inspector gave the company a near-perfect score: ninety-six out of 100. But the inspector wasn’t from the FDA. Who keeps our food safe?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – How do certain personality traits add up to someone’s effectiveness as a leader? And do those traits make for a good president? The NPR Science Unit

finds some answers in beginning a new series on the science of leadership.