Archive for October, 2009

Good call, Random House

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

In case you were saving up your book-buying money for Tim Donaghy’s upcoming biography, you won’t be reading it any time soon. Donaghy, the disgraced NBA referee, who went to prison for betting on basketball games, had written a manuscript for an upcoming book “Blowing the Whistle: The Culture of Fraud in the NBA.” According to a story on (link below), the publisher, Triumph Books, and parent company, Random House, cancelled the book because of potential liability issues.

I think most people can agree that any book written by Tim Donaghy would likely be filled with fraud and stretching of the truth. If you haven’t already, invest those book-buying dollars in “BasketCases: How youth Basketball Parents Can Lower Their Blood Pressure and Keep Their Sanity,” the first book of its kind in the country to make basketball a better experience for all participants.

Youth football coach allegedly punches dad in the face

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

 In case you missed this story out of Massachusetts from a couple of days ago, follow the link below. Apparently a dad bought his son to football practice late. The coach didn’t like the tardiness and ordered the player to run laps as a consequence. Dad didn’t like the fact that his son was punished, saying it was his own fault, not his son’s fault. Apparently the parent and the coach called each other names, went behind a building to settle their differences and then the coach allegedly punched the dad in the face, breaking his eye socket. Charges are pending, according to the news report.

Good Lord. Another classic example of the problems associated with youth sports. Do I have a issue with the coach telling the boy to run some extra laps? Absolutely not. He missed some practice. Seems fair to me as long as it wasn’t excessive. The player probably won’t be late next time and he got some exercise during the process.  Perhaps if the tardiness was truly the father’s fault, Dad should have volunteered to run the laps with his son instead of allegedly instigating a fight with the coach.

Obviously both the coach and the parent are to blame here for the escalated argument and subsequent assault. Clearly is sends an awful message that differences are handled with fists instead of words. How embarrassing! At least the confrontation ended with only relatively minor physical damage. Next summer marks the 10th anniversary of a hockey dad killing another parent right in front of his sons. That also happened in Massachusetts. Will we ever learn from these incidents?

15 Big Ones

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Last Sunday, I drove to Andover, Minnesota, to speak to that community’s boys’ basketball association parent meeting. This was the second year I have spoken to that group. I talked about basketball rules that parents and coaches often don’t understand and talked about the importance of sportsmanship and a positive experience.

For the first time, I also encouraged youth basketball parents to talk a “day off” during the season. The Andover teams will participate in 10 tournaments. Assuming most of those are two-day tournaments, what is wrong with sending your kid with another parent and either having the day for yourself as a person or as a couple or with your other (non-basketball) kids. Seems to me that 19 out of 20 is still outstanding attendance.

I was visiting with a guy after the meeting who purchased BasketCases. He was a dad who was coaching a junior high “C” team because no one else would volunteer. I stressed the importance about making basketball a positive experience, and he agreed.

One statistic he told me was very interesting. He said one of the Andover parents estimated how much money their family spent on youth basketball from 4th grade through the senior year. The price tag: $15,000 dollars.

That is a lot of dough. But when you add up fees to play during the season and during the spring, entrance fees, gas, hotel rooms, food on the road, etc., you can see how easy it is for basketball to become an extensive proposition. That’s why, at $20, I think a copy of BasketCases may be the best value in youth basketball.