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 #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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