PLAYING TO WIN Turns 3 (and 4!)

It has been almost exactly three years since Playing to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture was released. And people continue to read it, which is definitely an amazing feeling. In fact, sales are up this year! Mostly this is thanks to professors assigning the book/excerpts in classes, and I can tell you that […]

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Watching the Brie Train: Douglas Family Gold

It’s an established fact that I like gymnastics, and I love reality TV. So you can bet when there is overlap I’ll be watching. Enter Douglas Family Gold. Oxygen aired the six episode (30 minutes each) series beginning in May 2016, though the action all takes place in 2015 as Gabrielle Douglas (aka Gabby/Brie), reigning […]

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Background Checks in Youth Sports: Not Just for Sexual Abuse

I’ve long been a strong proponent of background checks for all who work with kids— not just for sexual abuse (though, sadly, this still remains a very real issue as just this week Marvin Sharp, an Olympics-level gymnastics coach who had been arrested last month for sexual abuse of young girls was found dead in […]

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Jump! Bigger than the ropes

I can now say that thanks to a Lifetime reality show something I wrote is a little bit less true. The four-episode Jump! about a double dutch team in New Jersey showed me that jump-roping has more to do with teamwork than I previously thought. In Chapter 1 of Playing to Win I detail the […]

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The Privilege of Passion

Last week the always reflective Motherlode ran a very thoughtful and insightful essay by Lisa Heffernan, “Our Push for ‘Passion,’ and Why It Harms Kids.” Heffernan actually makes the case that some forms of manufactured passion hurt not just the kids, but the whole family. Part of the reason why her essay is compelling (besides […]

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The Similar Worlds of Mutton Busting and AAU Basketball

In addition to reading a lot of books, I read a lot of magazines. Sometimes it takes me awhile to get through the stack on my nightstand, but I always do. I recently read two articles in my “regulars” (New Yorker and Sports Illustrated) that spoke to one another in important ways– even if no […]

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Friday Night Tykes: The Male Version of Toddlers & Tiaras

I’ve often said that in many ways the hyper-masculinity of youth (tackle) football– especially in the South– is the analog to the hyper-femininity of child beauty pageants. Esquire TV’s controversial series Friday Night Tykes proves it. The 10-episode series, plus a review and discussion show called Tackling Tykes that does a great job summarizing the […]

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Books Are Living Things: Playing to Win continues to spark conversation

As my friend and scholar/writer Margarita Mooney likes to say, “Books have long lives.” While Playing to Win is still less than a year old, I can see how this is true as the book continues to inspire questions, dialogue, and conversations in a variety of settings. In the past two months I’ve been lucky […]

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Teaching for a LIFETIME: My thoughts on Dance Moms, Bring It!, and Kim of Queens

Welcome to the world of Anti-Abby Lee Millers… Ironically brought to you by the network that made her famous, Lifetime. Building off the success (or infamy) of Dance Moms (a show I’ve written about quite a bit), the network debuted two new series this year: Kim of Queens and Bring It! Given the descent of […]

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Competition, Competition, Competition: Sibling, or Otherwise

This may be my last regular post for some time. I’m preparing for the arrival of my second son next month and want to enjoy the holidays, Carston’s second birthday, and the end of this pregnancy (as much as that is possible!)– especially before potential sibling rivalry/competition appears in my home! In the competitive spirit […]

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