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Character Development

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 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 Heroes: Bridgewater (MA) Badgers Pee Wee Football Team & Valley H.S. Varsity/JV Baseball Teams (Elk Grove, CA)

 

December is the month when journalists across the nation tie up the year's loose ends. With that motivation, I write here about two youth teams that deserve all the accolades they have received. The teams play on opposite coasts, play different sports, and in different seasons. One team's players are younger than the other's, and neither team has ever met the other. Their only common thread is that on each one, teammates joined together to do the right thing at the right time.

In this month's column, Doug Abrams salutes two teams who, though they hail from opposite coasts, play different sports, in different seasons, and are different ages, have one thing in common: they acted as teams to do the right thing at the right time.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Matt Labrum and Staff (Roosevelt, Utah)


On Friday night, September 20, Judge Memorial Catholic High School of Salt Lake City downed the Union High School Cougars, 40-16. Football games played in rural Utah normally do not make news outside the local area, but this matchup on Union's home turf in Roosevelt (population: 6,100) attracted national attention for the post-game bombshell that Union head coach Matt Labrum and his staff dropped in the Cougars locker room. Football gear in locker

The coaches assembled the team, suspended every player, and collected their uniforms.

Football teams in rural Utah normally do not make news outside the local area, but after Judge Memorial Catholic High School of Salt Lake City beat the Union High Cougars, the post-game bombshell Union head coach Matt Labrum and his staff dropped on his team in the locker room attracted national attention for the lesson they were about to teach about character.
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