By Ken Reed
I see my overarching mission as trying to enhance the positives and mitigate the negatives in sports. That said, I tend to address the problems and issues in sports more than talking about what’s working when sports are at their best.
The negatives in sports are driven by ego and greed and lead to win-at-all-costs (WAAC) and profit-at-all-costs (PAAC) thinking, policies and actions. When WAAC or PAAC is driving the bus, sports can be ugly and unjust.
On the other hand, at their best, sports are one of the purest aspects of life, and often a window into the human spirit. When sports are driven by the soul and not the ego, you get beautiful displays of sportsmanship and fair play, along with amazing efforts that test the limits of athletes physically, mentally and emotionally.
And you get stories like Lauren Hill’s.
Lauren was a high school student preparing for her first year of college when she got the news that she had an inoperable brain tumor. That’s when her soul took over. She dropped all the petty and shallow ego-based concerns that take too much time from our lives and focused on living in the present, living life to its fullest, and helping other people.
Sadly, Lauren Hill died Friday morning. But what a life she led her last year and a half on this planet. She acknowledged her tumor but didn’t let it determine how she’d spend her final months. She started a non-profit foundation that’s raised $1.5 million for cancer research. She continued with her plans to play basketball at Mt. Saint Joseph University and set a goal of scoring one basket in a college game. Last Nov. 2nd, she scored two buckets in front of 10,000 people who squeezed into a basketball arena to cheer for Lauren Hill and the beautiful spirit they saw in her.
“She’s made an impact on the world, more so than me — more than I will ever do,” said her coach Dan Benjamin. “I’ve gotten so many emails and phone calls from all over the world. People are contacting me because they want to share her story.”
What an amazing example of how to live and die. Lauren Hill lived life to the fullest and helped people along the way. A heroic legacy to be sure.
“I’m spreading awareness and also teaching people how to live in the moment because the next moment’s not promised,” Hill told the Associated Press after one of her team’s practices. “Anything can happen at any given moment. What matters is right now.”
To honor Lauren Hill’s memory, we should all try to do our best — one day at a time — to heed this powerful lesson she taught, not only with her words but especially through her actions.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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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.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
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.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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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