By Ken Reed
“Wins and losses matter, but true acts of sportsmanship define participants. A moment this genuine should be required viewing for all athletes.”
—Chip Scoggins, Minneapolis Star Tribune
I love this story.
Ty Koehn, a high school pitcher for Mounds View High School in Minnesota, strikes out a childhood friend, Jack Kocon of Totino-Grace High School, to send his team to the state tournament. But instead of immediately celebrating with his teammates, Koehn sprints to home plate to hug and console Kocon. It’s truly heartwarming to watch.
“It was just instincts to go up to him and let him know that the outcome of the game isn’t as important as our friendship,” said Koehn after the game.
Kocon appreciated the gesture.
“When I realized what happened, I hung my head and he gave me a hug,” Kocon said. “That was huge for me, because I needed someone and he was there for me.”
Koehn and Kocon played on Little League and travel baseball teams together when they were kids. They remained friends despite going to different high schools.
While hugging his buddy, Koehn told Kocon the loss wasn’t his fault and that he loved him.
“It was an amazing gesture, a show of sportsmanship that puts a lump in your throat,” wrote Scoggins this week.
“A young man experiencing one of the greatest moments of his sports career offering support to a young man experiencing one of his lowest moments.”
It’s something Kocon will never forget.
“Obviously it stinks to see yourself striking out on every major news [outlet], but it means so much more than that,” said Kocon upon reflection.
“In 20 years, I’m not going to remember the score. I’ll just remember what he did and that’s all that matters to me.”
That is sport at its best. It isn’t the Golden State Warriors winning the NBA championship. It isn’t the Washington Capitals winning the NHL’s Stanley Cup.
It’s heart-driven acts of sportsmanship like Ty Koehn’s.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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, and has a long involvement with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport (now called the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition). We discuss the state of college athletics today, given the pressures of NIL, the transfer portal, sports gambling and huge media contracts. McMillen then provides great perspective on the poor state of physical fitness our young people are experiencing today.
Listen on Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Anchor and others.
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More Episodes on Apple Podcasts; Spotify; Google Podcasts; PocketCasts; & Anchor
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.”
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.
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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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon