By Ken Reed
More than 60% of Americans tend to make New Year’s resolutions. Often those resolutions include exercise, fitness, and sports goals.
In an effort to help inspire Americans to commit to meeting their personal goals for the new year, League of Fans is highlighting two inspiring athletes who don’t fit the stereotypical definition of “elite athlete.”
Meet Dan Durante. Durante is a 70-year-old world-class sprinter who regularly knocks off 50 pull-ups in 60 seconds. As part of a fundraiser for Liberty High School in the Washington D.C. area, Durante challenged the members of Liberty’s football team to beat him in a pull-up competition. None of the football players that are more than 50 years younger than Durante came close. On this day, Durante did 39 pull-ups in 53 seconds. The best Liberty football player did 26.
Durante is a physical fitness advocate at a time when it’s sorely needed in the United States. Fewer than 15 percent of people over the age of 65 do regular strength training. Strength training at age 65-plus is especially important to help ward off falls, osteoporosis, obesity, etc.
Both cardiovascular and strength training exercise are important for quality of life reasons for seniors.
“There’s life after 20,” says Durante.
Meet Zach Hodskins. Hodskins is a senior guard on the Milton High School (Georgia) basketball team. He’s good enough at his sport that the University of Florida has guaranteed him a spot on its roster for next season. Hodskins story isn’t that unique, except for the fact that he only has one hand.
Hodskins was born without a left hand or forearm. But he’s never wanted any special treatment. Growing up, he worked on his game until the fingers on his right hand bled from his solo workouts.
“I never doubted myself, even though a lot of people did,” says Hodskins.
Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan said he isn’t bringing Hodskins to his program as a publicity stunt but because the kid can play.
Donovan told Hodskins family: “We’re first and foremost recruiting you as a player. You are an inspiration, but you are here because you’re a good basketball player.”
Durante and Hodskins. Two inspiring athletes who could help all of us keep our 2014 resolutions.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans, why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks, and the fact the vast majority of players are for more protective netting in stadiums.
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Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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