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Douglas E. Abrams, J.D.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Sophia and Elizabeth Glazer (Wellesley, Mass.)


The American Medical Association calls domestic violence a "public health problem that has reached epidemic proportions." Most victims are vulnerable women and children assaulted by male perpetrators. Most victims emerge physically battered or emotionally scarred. An alarming number end up being murdered.

"It's Not Right"

Sophia and Elizabeth Glazer have a game plan that uses youth sports to help stem domestic violence in their community. Their efforts in the local youth football league this past autumn set an example which will hopefully prompt students elsewhere -- athletes and non-athletes alike -- to help make their own communities better places to live and raise families.

Disturbed by the national epidemic of domestic violence, two sisters started a group called Youth Football Cares, which not only holds bake sales to benefit local battered women's shelters but is trying to use youth sports to instill healthy relationship behaviors among children and adolescents which they can carry into adulthood.

Youth Sports Heroes: Kailee Kiminski, Tierney Winter, Melanie Bailey, and Teagan Monfils

 

Less than 100 yards separated two veteran long-distance runners, senior Kailee Kaminski and junior Tierney Winter, from the finish line in the Minnesota Class 1A girls state high school cross country meet in Northfield on November 1. In her first statewide race, freshman Jessica Christoffer had just fallen nearby, exhausted and unable to continue.

The three girls attend different schools and did not know one another, but Kaminski and Winter made split-second decisions to help the fallen runner to her feet and support her arm-in-arm so that all three could finish at about the same time. A race official on the scene warned them that the consequence for the trio would be disqualification.

This month's "Heroes" column features competitors in three girl's cross-country meets this fall who exhibited true sportsmanship even the face of disqualification.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Plainfield (Conn.) High School Athletes


"Sports does not build character. Sports reveals character," said journalist Heywood Broun more than half a century ago. He meant that athletic competition can bring out either the best or the worst in an athlete, depending on the inner strengths or weaknesses that the athlete brings to the game. Sports can be noble or ignoble, depending on who is playing and how they play.

On the night of September 26, 2014, fans displayed the ignoble side of sports at a high school football game in Plainfield, Connecticut. Within hours, however, the noble side prevailed as Plainfield student-athletes confronted a wrong that had reportedly festered in their town's sports programs for years.

Sports can be noble or ignoble, depending on who is playing and how they play. On the night of September 26, 2014, fans displayed the ignoble side of sports at a high school football game in Plainfield, Connecticut. Within hours, however, the noble side prevailed as Plainfield student-athletes confronted a wrong that had reportedly festered in their town's sports programs for years.

Youth Sports Hero of the Month: Deven Jackson (Shermans Dale, Pa.)


About three million youngsters will play youth football in the United States this fall.  Only one received sustained media coverage last month, and it was 10-year-old Deven Jackson, who took the field with the West Perry Midget Football Mustangs after a two-year absence from the gridiron.

In 2012, Deven was struck with meningitis. He suffered kidney failure, and his mother told ABC News that doctors gave him only a ten percent chance to live. Doctors amputated both legs six inches below the knees, and playing football seemed out of the question.

About three million youngsters will play youth football in the United States this fall. Only one received sustained media coverage last month, and it was 10-year-old Deven Jackson, who took the field with the West Perry Midget Football Mustangs after a two-year absence from the gridiron.

Youth Sports Hero of the Month: Derek Herber (N. Attleboro, Mass.)


It was the ideal ending to a 17-year coaching career, the sort of final curtain call that coaches imagine as their tenure winds down. In the Massachusetts Division 2 boys track and field championships in New Bedford on June 1, North Attleboro High School earned one point in the 4 x 400 relay, the day's final event. Derek Herber had already announced that this would be his last season as coach, and now his team had won its second consecutive state championship, edging runner-up Central Catholic High School, 69-68. Track athlete in starting blocks of relay race

This month's Heroes blog highlights a track and field coach who, instead of capping off a 17-year career with a state championship, ended up retiring with a gesture of true sportsmanship worth its weight in gold.

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