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Aug 16 2013

Where Are Today’s Heroes?

By at 9:49 am

mickey mantleToday, there are no heroes.

We had Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, and Willis Reed. My grandchildren have A-Rod, Ryan Braun, and Lance Armstrong.

We had Martin Luther King, Jr. and JFK. Today, we have David Petraeus and Jesse Jackson, Jr. Not to mention Anthony Wiener and Elliot Spitzer.

We had Golda Meir, Gloria Steinem, and Bella Abzug. Today’s young women have Sarah Palin and Sheryl Sandberg.

No more heroes, no more larger-than-life figures. Now everyone’s clay feet (or entire clay bodies) are revealed. (Unlike the miscreants during my youth, who didn’t necessarily keep it in their pants, but were protected by a less intrusive fourth estate. Come to think of it, I’m grateful for that.)

We (figuratively and literally) looked up to the brave astronauts hurtling into space. Now, we don’t even know the names of who is going where, when, or for how long. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 11 2013

How I Went from a Baseball Hater to a Baseball Dad

By at 12:14 pm

little league baseballI am not a fan of baseball. I’ve never understood the draw of the game, and could never comprehend the passion people have for it. My closest friends from college are all crazy baseball fans; they’re involved with fantasy leagues, spending hours arguing over who has better players.

I didn’t get it. After all, I didn’t play baseball as a kid. I never watched it on TV. I never played catch with my dad, who was never around. My only real experience with baseball was occasionally–very occasionally–going to Shea or Yankee Stadium to see games with my camp or friends. We’d sit all the way at the top, in the cheap seats, directly in the summer sun. There we’d sit, broiling, as all the action occurred amongst the ants on the field far below.  In my opinion, a slower, duller game could not have been invented. Y-A-W-N. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 23 2013

In Israel, Baseball is Too Babyish to Play

By at 2:05 pm

baseball mitt and baseballMy kids need little organized effort to enjoy our company. In our house, especially in spring, that often means tossing balls with Abba. My two youngest will ask Dov if he has time to play catch with them, and if his schedule isn’t on overload, he will say yes. Nothing could please them more.

There will be a rush to gather mitts, ball, and caps. You can hear the buzz in their voices, and the rushed breathing of boys as they put on their sneakers. I glance outside the window from my workstation, and watch them wait at the curb for their Abba to pick them up, looking down at the ground, shuffling their feet, kicking stones with their toes, with only an occasional hopeful glance upward, just being boys. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 18 2013

We Lost a Hero in Lance Armstrong

By at 11:57 am

Like many, I planned on tuning into Oprah’s exclusive interview with Lance Armstrong last night. And I was dreading it.

I was dreading it because I am angry with him.

I was dreading it because I really looked up to the guy.

I was dreading it because I was afraid that his responses would be full of sanctimonious excuses and trite apologies.

I was dreading it because no matter what others claimed over the years, I actually believed him when he swore that he wasn’t doping. That others were jealous, vindictive, and publicity-mongering.

Who is a hero? Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 7 2013

News Roundup: Ear Infections & Atheism

By at 3:50 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

- When your doctor prescribes an antibiotic to your child for an ear infection, they may be doing so without cause. Sometimes the best thing to do is wait out the infection, instead of ineffectively treating it with drugs. (But no word on exactly how you should deal with a kid in agony.) (Slate)

- One mom reflects on what it’s like to move through a few religious identities and end up with nothing, raising her children without religion. (Boston Magazine)

- The parents of the two Manhattan children murdered by their nanny in October have spoken out on their Facebook page about their loss and living with their one living child. (Yahoo news)

- Teens on sports teams and teens who exercise have a more positive self image and greater self esteem than their less sports-oriented peers, but it’s unclear if this is causation or correlation (i.e. are more confident teens more likely to join sports teams, or does being on a sports team make teens more confident?). (NPR)

Nov 15 2012

Should My 8-Month-Old Already Be Competing?

By at 9:40 am

As he toweled off, my husband asked me, “How old do you think the youngest Floater ever was?”

My 8-month-old son, Carston, had just completed his first swim lesson as part of the Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy (LKSA) at the JCC in Newton, Massachusetts. LKSA is a seven-level swimming program designed to teach kids to swim safely; it begins at level one, Splasher, continues on to Floater, then Kickers, and eventually ends with Flyers.

I’d been motivated to sign my little splasher up for safety reasons and, honestly, because I’d heard kids nap better after they swim. My husband, on the other hand, was ready for our son to become the next Michael Phelps—or more appropriately, Mark Spitz.  Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 17 2012

I Send My Jewish Son to Catholic School

By at 10:05 am
baseball kid

My son Nicky at bat.

My son Nicky loves baseball. He’s really, really good at it.

Despite the looooong list of Jews who made it big in baseball, we were shocked to learn our town was not overflowing with Jewish schools that have viable baseball programs. My husband’s old Catholic school, however, (“The Hall”) has a very well-respected baseball program. So does another Catholic school nearer to us (“The Mount”). Mark Teixeira is a hometown boy who went to The Mount. We forgive his playing for the Yankees. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 15 2012

Olympic Athletes Can Grow Up to Be Normal People, Too

By at 4:10 pm
alina adams brian boitano

Me with Brian Boitano!

Would you want your kid on a Wheeties box, Renee Septimus wondered here on Kveller. She talked about the kind of things that young Olympic athletes must be giving up to acheive their level of success–school, summer camp, birthday parties, etc.

Renee concluded: I’m glad my children lived “average” lives. They turned into well-rounded, self-actualized adults with many interests, good relationships, and satisfying careers.

As someone who spent several years covering Olympic sports for ABC, ESPN, and TNT, as the older sister and official chaperone of a brother who was the 1996 US Novice Ice Dancing Champion and, last but not least, a mom, myself, I have a different perspective on the subject. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 13 2012

Would You Want Your Kids on a Wheaties Box?

By at 12:41 pm

usa gymnastics team london olympicsWe all love Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, and the rest of the USA women’s gymnastics team. They were the only team I tried to catch when they performed. I don’t enjoy watching sports, but I love ballet and I am astonished at what those young women could do with their bodies. Their movements seem to take dance to another level.

But I wonder–at what cost? What do athletes like Aly and Gabby give up to achieve perfection in their sport? Surely they give up the typical childhood and adolescence most people have. And although when you are going through it, it may seem painful, most of us cherish memories of school, camp, birthday parties, friends. I guess I mean that they miss the balance of a life well-lived. (No pun intended.) Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 3 2012

Will Sports Really Raise My Son’s Self-Esteem?

By at 10:06 am

little boy soccer ballMy sister has five children. All of them are heavily involved in team sports, and thriving–great physical shape, good grades, active social lives, and high self-esteem.

She’s utterly convinced that team sports are crucial to self-esteem building, and that I’d better get my kid started with one–NOW–before he falls hopelessly behind.

First of all, HE’S FIVE. There are lots of reasons to do team sports, but there are even more reasons to build garages for all your BOB trucks. Or put on goggles and swim across the living room. He’s FIVE.

I totally believe in sports, don’t get me wrong. But I’m not so sure that it’s the only path to self-esteem. Read the rest of this entry →

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