Emily Attwood
Emily (emily@athleticbusiness.com) joined the Athletic Business team in 2011, a natural transition from her previous work at PFP (Personal Fitness Professional), a B2B fitness industry brand, and Inside Wisconsin Sports, a consumer sports publication. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Emily continues to enjoy living in the city with her husband Derek, making cheese, drinking beer and biking to work, except during winter, when she doesn't enjoy much of anything.
  • Wednesday, April, 08, 2015
    New Projects: Cleveland YMCA | Emerald Glen Rec Complex | GVSU Rec Center

    Breaking Ground

    After years of planning, construction of Parker Hannifin Downtown YMCA (pictured) in Cleveland has begun. The new facility will occupy two floors of former retail space and offer 40,000 square feet of fitness space, including a three-lane lap pool, a sauna, a steam room, networked fitness equipment, a group cycling studio, three group exercise studios, and a social gathering space. Scheduled to open in January 2016, the $8.9 million project was designed by Moody-Nolan Inc. of Cleveland.


  • Wednesday, April, 01, 2015
    e-Sports Athletes Looking for Recognition

    At first glance, one might scoff at any comparison between the athletic feats of an athlete on the field and a gamer online, but for e-Sports competitors, there may be more similarities than differences.


  • Monday, March, 16, 2015
    Environmentally Friendly Athletic Field Maintenance

    College campuses nationwide are getting greener, focusing on environmental sustainability, from designing LEED-certified buildings to launching zero-waste recycling campaigns and taking "Carbon-Neutral" pledges. College athletic programs are doing their part, increasing energy efficiency through the use of LED lighting and alternative energy sources, reducing water consumption and implementing gameday recycling programs.


  • Wednesday, March, 11, 2015
    Community Supports Footing Tax Bill for Church Ballpark

    While nonprofit and religious organizations have been under the microscope in recent years when it comes to tax-exempt status of their fitness and recreation facilities, voters in Boscawen, N.H. last night approved a plan that would donated $6,000 to a local church to cover property taxes and maintenance on its baseball field.

    The field, owned by Boscawen Congregational Church, was built in 1915 and has been offered free for use by local groups over the last century, including Merrimack Valley Youth Baseball and Softball. But in 2014, the city’s tax assessor determined that because the lot was not being used for religious purposes, it was not tax exempt, and the church was billed $1,600.

    In addition to covering the property tax bill, the city’s donation will also help defray maintenance and upkeep costs for the church ballpark. Church and community volunteers had been assisting with the efforts and will continue to do so.

    “It does need some work,” Merrimack Valley Little League president Eric Crane told the Concord Monitor. “Our plan has always been to revitalize and rebuild the church park.”

    Not all voters agreed that the donation was a grand slam, however. “My concern isn’t about the kids playing baseball. If you give money to one nonprofit, how do you deny others that come forward?” one resident asked.


  • Wednesday, March, 11, 2015
    Evaluating Campus Recreation Management Software

    A good software management system is essential to the success of any business, facilitating everything from access control and asset management to membership sales and scheduling. Choosing a management software vendor is not a task many take lightly; between implementation, training and ensuring compatibility, making the switch to a new system is an arduous undertaking, and the final decision will be one the facility operator will likely have to live with for a number of years.


  • Tuesday, March, 10, 2015
    Poor Design Blamed for Rec Center's Financial Woes

    Seven Hills Recreation Center in Ohio lost $45,000 last year, bringing its total financial loss up to $553,000 since it opened in 2002 — not including the initial construction costs. According to Mayor Richard Dell'Aquila, poor initial design has caused the city-owned recreation center to become a "generational financial problem."

    “The recreation center has suffered from poor construction, bad design, and ineffective management," Dell'Aquila told Cleveland.com. "Combined with the worst financial recession since the 1930s, the recreation center has been largely responsible for much of the financial woes the city has suffered in the past decade.”

    Among the major expenses, the pool roof had to be replaced shortly after the center opened due to deterioration caused by pool chemicals. The $2 million cost was partially covered by the original subcontractor. The natatorium’s HVAC system was also replaced last year at a cost of $500,000. Dell’Aquilla says that the previous system never worked properly and led to structural issues throughout the rest of the recreation center.

    Read the full report

    In 2011, the city hired a consultant to inspect the recreation center and identify further construction deficiencies. In addition to poor facility ventilation, the inspection found that the no vapor barrier had been installed during initial construction, putting the facility at increased risk of deterioration due to moisture buildup. 

    Additionally, Dell’Aquilla criticized the original pool design, which is not large enough to host swim competitions. “There are many swim teams in our area that could have been attracted to the center with a little more thought.”

    RELATED: A Pool Survey Can Highlight Damage You Can't See


  • Tuesday, March, 03, 2015
    Tips to Keep Saunas and Steam Rooms Appealing

    It’s a story all too familiar to many fitness facility operators: a new facility or renovation opens, boasting a new sauna or steam room that will be the facility’s crowning jewel and attract myriad new members. Months later, though, it’s fallen into disuse (or worse yet, a failure of the steam room enclosure renders it useless) and sits as an empty waste of space.


  • Tuesday, February, 17, 2015
    Hockey League’s No-Touch Policy Touches Off Debate

    A Toronto girls’ hockey league has drawn some attention this month, not because of its performance on the ice, but its policies related to player-coach interactions. 

    Following a complaint regarding a volunteer coach who congratulated a player by slapping her on the butt and squeezing her shoulders, the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association’s executive vice-president sent out an email to coaches with the following message: “Putting hands on shoulders, slapping butts, tapping them on the helmet, NOTHING, this can make some of the girls uncomfortable and you won’t know which ones, so no contact, period.”

    Following criticism from parents and a flurry of online commentary, the league issued a statement clarifying the league’s policy, stating that the email was only intended to remind coaches of the league’s existing policy, not replace it:

    “The issue about physical contact is a guideline only. Please know that we naturally understand that contact is part of the game. We also acknowledge that it is normal for volunteers to touch players in certain circumstances – e.g. helping with skates and helmets; assisting a young player on and off the bench; helping an injured player off the ice. The suggestion in the news media is that we have implemented a no contact policy. Please be assured that this is not the case.”

    League president Jennifer Smith went on to explain, "At no time did the TLGHA invoke a new policy. The section of the email about physical contact with players did not draw a clear enough distinction between hard and fast rules and guidelines. These are guidelines only."

    RELATED: No-Score Youth Sports Policies Gaining Popularity

    Still, the zero-tolerance position of the email touched off what many players and coaches feel is an important discussion about the roll of physical contact between players and coaches in sports. Reactions were mixed, with some feeling a no-contact policy went to far and others that it only made sense to discourage unnecessary contact between players and coaches. 

    “Obviously we’ve been taking steps ever since we’ve known that some bad things have happened to kids back in the ‘60s and ‘70s,” Twenty-year hockey coach David Trombley told CTV Toronto. “Definitely we’re out here to protect the kids.”

    “I think it’s a real shame in a public situation on the bench that they’re not allowed to give a congratulatory tap,” said one parent. “I absolutely understand behind closed doors and in the locker room, but maybe on the bench and on the ice, it’s a different situation.”

    For Dave Cmar, president of Sun Parlour Female Hockey Association in Ontario, it’s a logistics issue. 

    “We wouldn’t have the resources to be at every arena, at every game,” he told The Windsor Star. “The difficulty would be in uniformly applying that.”

    Sports psychologist Kate Hays defended coach-player contact as an important aspect of player development, telling CBCNews, “It says, 'I'm paying attention to you, you've done a good job, I know you are really engaged, you are important to me, you are important to the team.'" 

    Perhaps more important, Hays says that it’s part of teaching children the difference between appropriate and inappropriate contact. "The idea of learning about non-sexualized, non-aggressive touch is something that indicates a positive connection among human beings.” 

     
    Should touching a player's shoulder be considered inappropriate contact for a coach?
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  • Wednesday, February, 11, 2015
    Little League Champs Stripped of National Title

    Nearly two months after allegations that the Jackie Robinson West team violated residency rules, the governing board of Little League Baseball has stripped the team of its 2014 U.S. championship title. The team drew significant attention during this past year’s Little League season as the first team comprised of all African-American participants to win the national title.

    In December, a rival team accused the Chicago-based team of using players outside its geographic area in December, allegations that were initially dismissed. But an investigation by the Little League organization revealed that the team used a map with falsified boundaries to recruit players from neighboring districts. As a result of the investigation, the team will vacate its wins from the 2014 Little League Baseball International Tournament, including its regional and national titles, the latter of which will be awarded to Mountain Ridge Little League of Las Vegas. 

    “For more than 75 years, Little League has been an organization where fair play is valued over the importance of wins and losses,” Little League International CEO Stephen D. Keener said in a statement. “This is a heartbreaking decision. What these players accomplished on the field and the memories and lessons they have learned during the Little League World Series tournament is something the kids can be proud of, but it is unfortunate that the actions of adults have led to this outcome.”

    Local officials acknowledged in January that they knew of the team’s violations but had not reported them to the governing body, sparking the league to reopen its investigation. The team’s manager has since been suspended, and the league’s administrator for the district has been removed from his position. 

    “Little League takes these matters very seriously and has spent countless hours gathering information about the many issues facing Jackie Robinson West Little League and Illinois District 4,” Keener said. “During our review, it became clear that both Jackie Robinson West officials and District Administrator, Mike Kelly signed documents to make players eligible who should not have been.”

     


  • Tuesday, February, 03, 2015
    New Projects: Kansas State's Vanier Football Complex | Westlake Athletic & Community Center

    Breaking Ground


  • Wednesday, November, 23, 2016
    AB Show 2016: Thankful for the Chance to Share Ideas

    Nothing helps transition back into office life after the whirl and excitement of another Athletic Business Show quite like a three-day workweek (apologies to our audience in Canada!). But even as I look forward to a day of good food and family, I’m reminded of some of the new ideas shared among recreation professionals at a revenue roundtable seminar hosted by Jeff King and Ken Ballard of Ballard*King Consultants.


  • Thursday, November, 17, 2016
    AB Show 2016: A Recreation Rundown

    An abundance of sunshine made up for the slight chill in the air as AB Show attendees boarded the bus to University of Central Florida. Undeterred by the 7:30 am start time, the mix of tourists hailed from as far as Hawaii (5 hours behind) and Taipei (13 hours behind!) and was excited to see what Central Florida had to offer.


  • Monday, November, 14, 2016
    Letter from the Editor: Our Military Fitness Problem

    This article appeared in the November | December issue of Athletic Business. Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.


  • Tuesday, October, 04, 2016
    Letter from the Editor: Facilities Worth Talking About

    This article appeared in the October issue of Athletic Business. Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.


  • Tuesday, August, 30, 2016
    Letter from the Editor: Preparing for the Year to Come

    This article appeared in the September issue of Athletic Business. Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.


  • Thursday, July, 07, 2016
    Letter from the Editor: Eat Your Veggies

    This article appeared in the July/August issue of Athletic Business. Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.


  • Monday, June, 06, 2016
    Passing the Torch in Facility Design

    This article appeared in the June issue of Athletic Business. Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.


  • Thursday, May, 05, 2016
    At the moment...

    I can't think of a recent issue of Athletic Business that captures the feel of our industry quite as comprehensively as this one. No, we don't have any momentous, industry-changing topics this month, but what we do have speaks to the current environment of athletic, fitness and recreation professionals.


  • Thursday, March, 31, 2016
    Our Common Ground

    This article appeared in the April issue of Athletic Business. Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.


  • Wednesday, September, 16, 2015
    Blog: Quantifying the Impact of Parks and Rec

    The National Park and Recreation Association's annual convention is underway this week in Las Vegas, Nev. After arriving Monday afternoon and getting my first taste of life in the City of Lights, I caught a brief glimpse of the sun and the strip before steeling myself for a day of windowless sessions in overly air-conditioned rooms.