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 #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered and got to know well, like Muhammad Ali, as well as his relationships with fellow sports journalists like Bob Costas and Howard Cosell.
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Episode #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for 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.
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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