Monday, October, 20, 2014
Improving Pool Safety with Model Aquatic Health Code
The movie "Jaws" made you afraid to go into the water, but it was the inclusion of the "Jaws" theme music in another "scary" water scene five years later that likely resonated more with moviegoers. But instead of a shark, the object of fear was a Baby Ruth candy bar. Harold Ramis' classic comedy "Caddyshack" — virtually impossible not to quote while golfing nearly 35 years after its release — makes light of the pool safety nightmare known as a Code Brown, but that subject is certainly no laughing matter to pool operators tasked with keeping their aquatic facilities safe and clean.
Thursday, October, 09, 2014
Fan Violence Reaching New Lows
Levi's Stadium is the most technologically advanced stadium in the U.S., so why have people only been talking about what's happened in its bathrooms? The reason is a sickening video that shows a fan apparently telling another fan that a stall is open for him to use. The fan responds with three fast punches that knock that fan unconscious, rendering him partially paralyzed. And earlier in the week at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, three men brutally beat a man in the parking lot after the Angels lost to the Kansas City Royals in the ALDS. As of this writing, there was no reason given for the attack. It may seem that fan violence in California receives the most national media attention (why are you so angry California sports fans?), but the reality is that fan violence is everywhere.
My eight-year-old daughter has asked me multiple times when I'm finally going to take her to her first Chicago Bears game. I tell her when the Bears have a defense, but the truth is that I don't want to expose her or her six-year-old sister to that environment. The cursing and obnoxious behavior, sadly they have seen that with Daddy when he watches the aforementioned Bears defense. But the fan violence, that is the real reason that keeps my family away from professional sporting events these days.
Fan violence isn't increasing and it's not a new phenomenon at sporting events; we just have the technology (camera phones) to document each and every incident. NFL attendance will always remain strong. After all, it's still the most popular sport in this country and most teams only have eight home game opportunities, so the people will always be there, along with the temptation to apparently punch those people. So what can we do to turn left hooks into fist bumps?
In the October issue of Athletic Business, crowd-control expert Dr. Tamara Madensen examines crowd dynamics, and why event and security managers tasked with protecting its spectators must thoroughly understand these types of situations if they are truly committed to curbing fan violence. There are a variety of other tactics venues can employ, as AB senior editor Paul Steinbach learned in his great One on One with Fans Against Violence founder Kathy Samoun. FAV is a fan-based organization committed to "taking back the stands." Check out FAV's website, well worth the time.
I've been fortunate to have become more and more immersed in sports security through my close work with the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), and I can assure all families and fans that ensuring a safe environment for all spectators is a topic constantly being addressed by those responsible for securing those events and venues. Because this is the fight that's not only worth fighting, but a fight we must win.
Wednesday, October, 01, 2014
First-Time Speakers Discuss ABC Presentations
The Athletic Business Conference & Expo returns to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 13-15. While hundreds of attendees and exhibitors will reunite for North America's largest fall athletics, fitness and recreation show, there will be plenty of new faces this year, as well. Specifically, attendees will have a variety of new speakers to choose from within the 10 seminar tracks offered at ABC. AB editor in chief Dennis Van Milligen recently touched base with some of those speakers to discuss their presentations and what attendees can expect, as well as their own expectations for this year's show.
Wednesday, September, 17, 2014
Integrating Entrance-Screening Technology in High Schools
Last February, New Hanover (N.C.) High School escaped a second-round upset bid by Knightdale in the boys' basketball playoffs courtesy of a last-second shot that broke a 53-53 tie, but that wasn't the only drama associated with this hotly contested game. Spectators entering the game had to go through a metal detector, a move that was necessitated by a 15-year-old student bringing a .22 caliber handgun to New Hanover's first-round game against Ashley High School. The walkthrough metal detector was set up shortly before the game, replacing police offers using handheld detectors. As New Hanover athletic director Keith Moore told StarNews of Wilmington, "I'd rather be safe than sorry."
Tuesday, September, 16, 2014
The Death of the Multisport Athlete
Friday night lights are back for high schools across the country, and as you read this, many of the nation's top athletes are hard at work on the gridiron preparing for this week's upcoming game. I remember my first experience around a star athlete. I was 11 years old and my oldest brother was attending Wheaton North High School, which at that time was home to Kent Graham, the best high school athlete in the state of Illinois. Kent was a 6-foot-5-inch physical freak and the number-one-ranked quarterback in the nation. He also played safety. He earned three all-conference distinctions in basketball and regularly hit .400 for the baseball team. My dad fondly recalls Kent hitting a home run off my brother in Little League that cleared the lights and still hasn't landed.
Monday, August, 25, 2014
Multimedia Marketing Transforms High School Athletics
To say the business of high school sports marketing has evolved during Jack Roberts' tenure would be an understatement. Roberts, executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, just completed his 28th year in that position. He fondly remembers when he started, a time before fax machines and a time when lengthy face-to-face meetings were all part of doing business.
Friday, August, 22, 2014
Should Athletes Lose Scholarships Over Social Media Miscues?
One of the debates that has intrigued me recently involves the increasing amount of coaches that are withdrawing scholarship offers due to a high school recruit exhibiting unacceptable or inappropriate behavior on social media. According to this story we published last week, high school coaches in Georgia are applauding University of Georgia head football coach Mark Richt for dropping a recruit that misbehaved on Twitter.
Wednesday, August, 06, 2014
Protecting Athletes From Heat-Related Illnesses
No one should forget that deadly week in the summer of 2011 when two high school football players and one high school football coach died from heat-related causes. That following summer, in 2012, athletic administrators were feeling a different kind of heat: parents of the two football players who died in 2011, Isaiah Laurencin in Florida and Don'terio J. Searcy in Georgia, sued their respective county boards, asserting that the coaches pushed the boys too hard. Both schools, Miramar (Fla.) High School and Fitzgerald (Ga.) High School, boast prominent football programs. And it's not just the schools and county boards drawing the legislative ire of angry parents.
Friday, July, 25, 2014
Planning, Training Key to Protecting Aquatic Venues
Sean Sepela has spent most of his life around water — as a swimmer, certified lifeguard, swim coach, and currently as the aquatics operations manager at George Mason University. As Sepela has immersed himself deeper into the aquatics world, he has recognized the evolving challenges aquatic facilities are facing today compared to years past. "There are a lot more concerns today compared to when I first started," he says. "Those 'what-if' situations we simply thought about years ago must be evaluated, assessed and trained for to ensure the safety of our swimmers and the facility itself."
Monday, July, 21, 2014
Shaping the Future of Athletics Safety and Security
Editor's note: Look for more Sports Venue Safety articles as we publish a new one online each day this week. Or, view the entire digital issue here.
My first exposures to the issues of safety and security at a sporting event came when I was eight years old. It was at Old Comiskey, back when the Chicago White Sox were "winning ugly" in the American League West. I remember going to at least half a dozen games that year with my father as the White Sox fought for an AL West championship, but that wasn't the only fighting I witnessed. The fights in the stands became as much of a spectacle as the game itself. It got to a point that we never wondered if a fight would break it, but rather when. Though I attended games with my father, a U.S. Navy SEAL and Golden Gloves boxing champion, I never had a complete sense of safety. Still, I was undeterred. I loved going to Old Comiskey and watching the White Sox despite the extracurricular activities.
Tuesday, June, 17, 2014
Tuesday Takedown: Little Sense in Volunteer-Coach Ban
Being Father's Day last Sunday, I felt compelled to weigh in on a story that came across our newswire last week where a country board in South Carolina is considering banning volunteer parents from coaching to avoid the perceived "favoritism" that is apparently associated with parents coaching their children. Yes, you read correctly. At a time when we are dealing with a coaching crisis of sorts across the country and should be encouraging parents to be more involved in their child's life, there is a group out there that wants to ban those parents from not only helping their kids, but other kids on that sports team, as well.
Tuesday, June, 10, 2014
Tuesday Takedown: Witnessing a Health Club's Rebirth
It is safe to say that necessity is the mother of reinvention these days in the health club industry. The rise of in-home fitness options and low-priced health clubs are certainly factors in fitness chains reinventing themselves and how they attract/retain members, but for the Midtown Athletic Club, neither played a role in its $1 million renovation this year. Rather, it was an industry trend driving its new approach and layout.
Tuesday, June, 03, 2014
Absence of Accountability in Recent High School Attacks
Toward the beginning of 2013, Lockport (N.Y.) High School athletic director Patrick Burke was the recipient of the 2013 Empire State Supervisors and Administrators Association's Administrator of the Year Award. He has been praised by his peers for his work ethic and leadership, and for being a role model at the school he loves and within the community he serves. Toward the end of 2013, Burke found himself the recipient of something entirely different: a beating by two intoxicated students he attempted to confront for unruly behavior at a basketball scrimmage.
Tuesday, May, 20, 2014
Tuesday Takedown: Compression Socks Put to the Test
I have to admit, I've heard the buzz on knee-high compression socks boosting running performance and improving recovery for quite some time, and have even done a little research on the subject to determine if I should be the next convert that says goodbye to ankle-high socks and hello to awkward tan lines. "Increase oxygen delivery." "Decrease lactic acid." "Prevent cramps." "Minimize muscle fatigue." In theory, that sounds great. But then you get to the part where researcher after researcher explain that little to no evidence exists supporting the claim that these garments actually do improve performance during exercise. But then something pretty spectacular happened last month. Meb Keflezighi became the first American to win the Boston Marathon in 31 years — and he did it wearing knee-high compression socks.
Monday, May, 05, 2014
Tuesday Takedown: The Sad Truth About False Accusations
In the court of public opinion, there is no innocent until proven guilty. There is only guilty, even when proven innocent.
Tuesday, April, 29, 2014
Tuesday Takedown: Coaches' Hazing Accountability
Watertown (Mass.) High School's football team used to hold a camp with some long-standing traditions, some of which included forcing players to sit in urine, doing chores for veteran players and having younger players participate in a cookie run where the boys were stripped, cookies were placed in their buttocks, and they had to race across the field. If the cookie fell out, they were forced to eat it.
Tuesday, April, 15, 2014
Tuesday Takedown: Feeling The Bang With Diamond Dallas Page
Age Wave CEO Ken Dychtwald delivered the first keynote presentation at last year's Athletic Business Conference & Expo in San Diego. The theme of his inspiring talk was embracing active aging, as well as the wellness revolution. He began his presentation by telling the audience of 2,500 plus the story of Arthur, a former Army paratrooper who had been injured during the Gulf War. Too many jumps had taken its toll on Arthur's back and knees, and for the past 15 years, he had been told by medical "experts" that he would never walk unassisted again. In his inspirational video watched by more than 10 million people (and embedded below), Arthur describes himself as a 47-year-old disabled veteran who had given up. He couldn't walk. He couldn't run. He had no hope until he reached out to one person: Diamond Dallas Page.
Tuesday, April, 08, 2014
Tuesday Takedown: College Search Firm Business Booming
The University of South Florida thought it had its new men's basketball in Steve Masiello, but an inconsistency uncovered during a background check determined the Manhattan College coach had lied on his resume about graduating from the University of Kentucky. He had already signed a five-year deal with USF when the contract was voided after the discrepancy was discovered. (In an interesting twist, Manhattan opted to keep Masiello but only if he completed his undergraduate degree.)
Thursday, April, 03, 2014
Security In Spotlight at 2014 Boston Marathon
"Watched my dad come up Boylston as I stood outside the Lenox Hotel. We high fived as he passed and then once he made it down to the finish area I turned around to walk back to Ring Street to try make my way to the meeting area. First explosion happened within seconds of turning around. People screamed and a few around me yelled to "Stay calm." It was so crowded where I was standing no one really got anywhere before the second blast. At that point, it was crazy, I got pushed into the alley way and everyone around me was knocked to the ground. Since we were between the two blasts it wasn't clear which way to run. I went toward Exeter and jumped the barricade to get off Boylston and to search for my dad as quickly as possible."
Tuesday, April, 01, 2014
Tuesday Takedown: Rioting Is The Real March Madness
I am proud to call Madison, Wis. my home away from home. Despite being based in the Chicago area, I have had the pleasure of spending many weeks over the past nine months in Madison at AB Media headquarters. The office is located approximately one mile from the beautiful University of Wisconsin campus. Needless to say, many of my co-workers bleed Badger red and now, by extension, so do I. On Monday, I walked into the office to many smiling faces after Wisconsin's thrilling overtime victory over Arizona on Saturday punched the Badgers' ticket to the NCAA Men's Final Four. But while Wisconsin experienced the thrill of victory, Arizona took the agony of defeat to a sadly familiar level.