By Ken Reed
Yes, there’s a lot of greed in Major League Baseball. There’s also a lot of win-at-all-costs thinking that zaps the spirit out of what is a great game at its essence.
But there’s also a lot of good stuff.
One of the best parts about baseball is the game’s ability to forge strong, lasting relationships with family members and friends. It also might be the best sport going for strengthening bonds across generations.
Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post recently wrote an excellent feature article on the power of baseball to connect people — often for life.
Hochman writes about how a love of baseball, expressed in handwritten letters to and from his parents, helped a soldier endure a military stint in Afghanistan.
“So many of our parents taught us to love baseball, to believe in baseball,” writes Hochman.
“But today, more than ever, families split apart, with the children living far from home. As such, the text message, the instant message on Gmail and even the handwritten letter, these are what keep our bond stitched, like a Rawlings.”
Hochman went on to write about the baseball bond between a daughter and her father that’s lasted for decades. And he provides a glimpse of a mother and son’s love of everything related to the San Francisco Giants.
But he ends with a touching and powerful portrait of his relationship with his own dad, and the important role baseball has played in maintaining and enhancing that relationship.
“This is our 15th summer in different cities, Dad and me,” wrote Hochman.
“But over the years, we’ve texted about baseball on flip phones and iPhones, and we’ve instant messaged on America Online and Gmail.
“Baseball just does something to Dad and me. It’s our thing. We’re baseball guys. We’re romantics. We allow this game to overtake us. We give it unlimited access to our hearts and souls, acknowledging that there are indeed going to be some downs — but if we make it through those, it’ll just make the ups seem that much higher.”
When sport is driven by the soul instead of the ego, it can be good, very good.
— 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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