Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon
The Sports Reformers
by Ken Reed
Sports, at their best, matter. They can positively impact society and a large number of stakeholders. However, the world of sports is plagued by a number of problems today, most of them ego-and-greed-driven.
Nevertheless, there are many sports reformers – current and former athletes, doctors, lawyers, politicians, consumer watchdogs, former athletic administrators, research scientists, civil rights activists, professors, fans and parents — who are working to enhance the positives and mitigate the negatives in sports.
This book is a collection of short interviews with some of those individuals.
Their work makes them true sports heroes.
“Surrounded by media where we are continually reminded of scandal in sport, it is important to remember that the world of athletics is filled with people who simply want sport to be its very best and work towards that end. Thank you Ken Reed for sharing the stories of visionaries who affirm us in this mission. This book is an amazing source of inspiration for athletes, coaches, athletic directors, school administrators, foreign aid workers, and all who see the role that sport can play in building a better world.”
—Gerry Chidiac (GerryChidiac.com)
Ego vs. Soul in Sports
by Ken Reed
Imagine the world of sports without ego.
No more trashtalking, showboating, cheating, cheap shots, or running up the score. No more wackadoo parents and coaches ruining youth sports. No more prima donna athletes with an inflated view of their own importance.
The win-at-all-costs mentality? Gone. The me-first athlete? History. Greedy owners that put their wallets ahead of what’s best for the game? Bye-bye. As John Lennon once sang, “Imagine . . .”
Sports have always brought out the best and worst in people. One of the compelling aspects of sports is that character is openly on display. Problem is, the ugly side of sports is getting way too loud these days. The ego in sports has run amok. And as the ego takes center stage, win-at-all-costs (WAAC) and profit-at-all-costs (PAAC) mentalities and behaviors begin to dominate. Things like sportsmanship start to take a backseat.
Nevertheless, despite all the ego- and greed-based negativity in today’s sports world, there are still some pearls out there, little stories in the back of the sports section that stir the soul. While too many sports center headlines bring forth feelings of shame, it’s the snippets about obscure athletes that bless us with shining examples of the human spirit and give us reason for hope.
This is a book of short essays about sport at its best and sport at its worst. Hopefully, the book is somewhat entertaining and occasionally even enlightening. Ultimately, however, the book’s goal is to inspire those who love sports to find a way to make the sports world a better place to be.
And that means a place with a lot less ego and a lot more soul. Because in the big picture, it really is about how you play the game.
How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
by Ken Reed, foreword by Ralph Nader
Many sports fans are conflicted—they may love the games, the players, and their communities, but may be alarmed by issues including academic corruption, athlete health, and the overarching emphasis on winning and profit at all costs. From disturbing new research about the long-term impact of sports concussions to publicly financed stadiums that drive profits to team owners but not communities, author Ken Reed argues that much of our sports culture is broken, driven by ego and greed. How We Can Save Sports is written to inform and empower sports stakeholders who care deeply about the impact of sports today on individuals and society as a whole.
Reed, sports policy director for the League of Fans, introduces readers to ten of the most pressing problems in sports today and shows how they largely derive from the mentalities of profit-at-all-costs and win-at-all-costs. Chapters dig into issues such as concussions, overzealous adults in youth sports, the disappearance of PE from many school curriculums, the focus on profit objectives in college sports, discrimination in sports, and more. Each chapter outlines key challenges and provides concrete steps that readers can take to work for change. The book includes lists of helpful resources for readers interested in change at various levels—from youth and high school sports, to AAU and college athletics, to professional sports.
Game Changer: Phil Lawler’s Wellness Based Physical Education
by PE4life and Ken Reed, foreword by Dr. Kenneth Cooper
Engaging and inspiring, Game Changer: Phil Lawler’s Crusade to Help Children by Improving Physical Education charts Lawler’s tireless mission to refocus physical education to a wellness-based model that encourages fitness for a lifetime. Game Changer captures the passion of this legend in the field of physical education who believed that every child—regardless of athletic ability—should be given a chance to find an activity he or she can embrace and enjoy for a lifetime.
The renowned Dr. Kenneth Cooper of Cooper Aerobics Center names Phil Lawler the “Father of the New PE.” Game Changer offers an inspiring glimpse at the life of Lawler and his “New PE,” the wellness-based approach to physical education that has energized a revolution in the world of education.
Full of ideas and strategies, Game Changer provides both the information and motivation to develop, implement, and support PE and community programs that encompass all children, not just the athletically inclined. Messages from leaders in the physical education field provide lessons learned in the development, leadership, promotion, and ongoing advocacy of wellness-based PE programs.
Game Changer takes readers through Lawler’s beginnings as a stereotypical PE teacher and coach and his dawning realization of how physical education class can be a positive tool for encouraging a lifetime of health and physical activity. As Lawler’s work received a boost from the mounting research connecting physical activity to academic and behavioral improvements, the New PE gained momentum nationally and abroad. Readers will be inspired by Lawler’s vision and commitment, despite his own health challenges, to improving the health and fitness of children worldwide.
Though his battle with cancer cut short his own work, Game Changer carries the torch of Lawler’s New PE by providing information and tools to assist physical educators in developing more inclusive PE programs that emphasize developing, attaining, and renewing personal fitness goals across the life span.
Sara’s Big Challenge: Who’s the Real Me?
by Ken Reed
Things are going great for Sara Thompson. She’s doing well in school, she loves the competitive soccer and basketball teams she’s on, and she has the three greatest friends in the world, Erika, Paige and Brecken.
But then her dad tells her the family is moving to a new town because his company has transferred him. Sara’s world quickly falls apart.
In her new hometown, Sara misses her old friends desperately. She mopes around and spends most of her time alone in her bedroom. She hates feeling lonely and wants to make new friends more than anything in the world.
Her loneliness drives her to start hanging out with kids she has nothing in common with. She knows it doesn’t feel right – she wakes up with a nervous stomach every morning – but she thinks it’s better than being friendless in a new town at a new school.
Things start to change for the better for Sara when her language teacher begins to take a personal interest in her. Mr. Hoffman shares his experience of having to move to a new town and go to a new school when he was a kid. He talks with Sara about how his decision to role play — act like somebody he wasn’t — in order to become part of a group made his situation worse. He stresses the importance of being true to yourself with Sara. He also pushes her to pursue her passion for sports and sets up a meeting for her with a local girls basketball coach.
Sara begins to flourish with her new basketball team, the Greeley Hoopsters. Her confidence soars to the point where she ends up helping her best friend on the team, Shawna Jones, follow her heart away from basketball and into the world of music – but not before Shawna helps the Hoopsters win the state championship.
Sara’s Big Challenge is a story about the importance of being true to yourself and finding the courage to do it. It delivers a critical message for budding teenagers who – on a daily basis – must contend with the double whammy of peer pressure from the outside and the incessant desire to belong from the inside.
About the Author
Dr. Ken Reed is Sports Policy Director for the League of Fans and the author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan and Ego vs. Soul in Sports: Essays on Sport at Its Best and Worst. He is a long-time sports marketing consultant, sports studies instructor, sports issues analyst, columnist and author.
As an adjunct professor at several institutions, Reed has taught a variety of sports studies courses, including Contemporary Sports Issues, History of Sports, Sports Marketing and Communication, Sports Ethics, Sports Governance, Sports Sociology, and Sports Management.
Reed has long been a strong advocate for quality physical education and sports programs for all students, not just elite athletes. He created the Center for the Advancement of Physical Education (CAPE) for PE4life, a non-profit organization dedicated to making quality daily physical education available to all students, K-12. He has delivered a variety of professional development seminars to educators on how physical education, sports, and other forms of physical activity can improve academic performance, decrease behavioral problems and enhance student wellness.
Reed also has served as an executive board member and faculty fellow for the National Institute for Sports Reform, as well as on the board of directors for Positive Coaching, a non-profit whose mission is to promote positive attitudes and behaviors in youth sports. In addition, Reed has served as an advisory board member for Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Sports Industry Operations program.
In addition to How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan Reed has published a sports novel targeting girls, 10-14, called Sara’s Big Challenge. The book’s overarching theme is the importance of being true to yourself. He also has published a book on Phil Lawler, the “father of the new physical education,” entitled Game Changer: Phil Lawler’s Wellness-Based Physical Education.
Reed has been a regular sports issues columnist for several sports magazines and a freelance contributor to multiple publications, including the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He currently blogs on sports issues for the Huffington Post.
Reed holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver (marketing/finance), a master’s degree in management from Colorado State University (concentration in athletic administration), and a doctorate in sport administration (emphasis in sport policy) from the University of Northern Colorado. Reed lettered in baseball and basketball at the University of Denver and has worn many hats in the world of sports, including coach, referee, scout, administrator, event planner, marketing and communications consultant, strategic planner and sports talk show host.
Denver Post feature on League of Fans’ Sports Policy Director Ken Reed: “Coloradan wants to be voice for fans to reform sports,” Sep. 11, 2011.
Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon
Sports Forum Podcast
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.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
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.
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