RECENT ARTICLES
  • 'Fitness Recess' Gets Grade-Schoolers Moving

    by Andrew Brandt September 2014

    Monkey bars? Slides? Swings? Not anymore.

    For one recess a day, kids in grades 4 through 6 at Pennsylvania intermediate schools Shallow Brook and Spring Forge participate in a "fitness recess."

  • Amendment Takes Virginia into New Concussion Terrain

    by Andrew Brandt September 2014

    The revisions to Virginia student-athlete concussion law this past spring seemed straightforward enough, but an overlooked amendment included in the law is catching some by surprise.

  • Boxing-Centered Facility Represents Shift in Recreation

    by Andrew Brandt September 2014

    A two-ring boxing center in Macon, Ga., will mark its opening with a 24-bout tournament, though most of its regular users may never land a punch.

  • Key Factors to Breaking into the Sports Tourism Business

    by Dev Pathik August 2014

    The rapid rise in sports tourism has many sports marketing professionals and destination marketing organizations feeling like spectators on the sidelines. Most feel understaffed or ill-equipped to take full advantage of the economic impact opportunities offered by tournaments and events.

  • Are Baby Boomers Exercising for the Right Reasons?

    by Andrew Brandt August 2014

    Baby boomers were the first American generation to wholly embrace regular exercise, and as reported in a recently published study in the International Journal of Wellbeing, they're still at it today.

  • Key Considerations When Building a Splash Pad

    by Paul Steinbach August 2014

    They're bubbling up from Texas to Minnesota and from coast to coast as complements to traditional dry playgrounds and existing pools, as well as stand-alone aquatics amenities replacing traditional pools altogether. For many municipalities, both urban and suburban, splash pads offer a simpler, more affordable aquatics recreation alternative.

  • Tennis Court Surfaces Continue to Evolve

    by Mary Helen Sprecher July 2014

    No question, the sport of tennis has evolved. Players — like the colors they wear — are louder, bolder and more attention-grabbing than their predecessors. And the courts they play on have dragged the sport (some laughingly say kicking and screaming) into the 21st century. Courts have evolved since the days of green grass facilities and white chalk lines. Not that those don't still exist, but they're the exception, rather than the rule — particularly when it comes to recreational installations.

  • Police Cadet Program Puts Extra Eyes in Parks

    by Emily Attwood March 2014

    With warmer weather somewhere on the horizon and construction at the city’s Festival Park wrapping up, police in New Baltimore, Mich. are preparing for an uptick in park activity. The department’s Cadet Program, started more than a decade ago, brings in the extra help the department needs and gives citizens interested in a criminal justice career an opportunity to gain experience. 


     “It’s really just a great opportunity,” one former cadet told The Voice . “You typically start in the summer and then work your way up in the field. As a cadet a lot of the focus is on the parks and you take on that responsibility.” 

    The cadets, paid $8 per hour, patrol city parks and also have the opportunity to experience other aspects of a police officer’s job, including parking enforcement, administrative office work and going on ride-alongs. In addition to the experience, the program opens doors for cadets to move into permanent law enforcement positions.

    “This is the golden ticket program,” says police chief Tom Wiley, who was also the program’s first cadet. “It’s a springboard into the profession.”

     

  • Youth Participation in Team Sports on the Decline

    by Michael Gaio February 2014

    The Wall Street Journal recently published a lengthy article detailing the drop in participation in the four most-popular U.S. team sports — basketball, soccer, baseball and football. The results are not pretty. The author examined data from youth leagues, school sports groups and industry associations from 2008 to 2012.

  • Blog: Event Organizers Can Do Better Than Free T-Shirts

    by Mary Helen Sprecher January 2014

    A group of us happened to be in the midst of organizing a recent racquetball tournament when the chairman looked at me and said, “Can you think of anything other than a T-shirt to give out here?”

    The more I thought about it, the more I thought about how right she was to ask. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t have way more than enough T-shirts? Specifically, is there anyone out there reading this who doesn’t have an entire boatload of T-shirts gained from participating in an athletic event?

    Like anyone else who is looking at this, I’ve played in tournaments, run in 5Ks and gone swimming for charity. I’ve ridden bicycles, given blood and probably a bajillion other things I don’t remember, all in the name of health and benefitting a non-profit. And I have a drawer full of T-shirts to prove it. Most of them I haven’t even worn yet. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the shirt; it’s just that honestly, there are only so many you can wear. Ever.

    Need proof? Every year, my church flea market receives donations of hundreds of T-shirts emblazoned with the logos of frat parties, scout camps, mud runs, sports teams, community fairs, you name it. Even neatly folded, they fill multiple cardboard boxes. We have to give them away to people who collect them for shelters and other groups. Why? Because after more than a decade of doing this, we know: nobody will buy them. Nobody. Ever.

    A few months ago, I spoke with someone who happened to be in the business of providing logo merchandise and other souvenirs for various events. He told me there has been a definite shift in the choice of souvenirs people are offering.

    “In fact,” he noted, “I can’t even remember how long it has been since someone ordered a box of ceramic coffee mugs for souvenirs.”

    These days, he said, souvenirs are small, light and easily packed (thanks in part to weight restrictions on airline baggage, for those who travel to participate in events) and there is a distinct preference for two types of souvenirs: tech items (thumb drives, smart phone holders, mouse pads, iWallets – those are cases that stick on smartphones and provide a place for credit cards and whatnot), and what he termed eco-friendly souvenirs (in this case, meaning items that could be used long after the event is over, like pens, reusable grocery bags, etc.)

    T-shirts, he noted, were the ‘evergreen’ of souvenirs since there was always someone who wanted them – but, he cautioned, “most people already have too many plain cotton ones.” Shirts in wicking fabrics, shirts cut for women and in fashion knits, shirts in a color other than white, and so forth were apt to be more desirable than the traditional 100% cotton T-shirts.
    Of course, he added, all those do cost more.

    So as we sat around, trying to decide what to give away as souvenirs for the tournament, we ran through the various other possibilities: hats, towels, socks, magnets, lanyards, sweatbands, water bottles, travel mugs, you name it.

    In the end, we went back to T-shirts because we’d put on the registration form that everyone got one. But we resolved to think more creatively next time (I refuse to say ‘think outside the shirt’) and come up with some ideas for better souvenirs for future tournaments.

    So what about you? Are you stuck in the same ‘T-shirt rut’ we are? If not, what are you offering as a souvenir for your 5Ks, tournaments and so forth? Less creative minds want to know.


    Mary Helen Sprecher is a technical writer with the American Sports Builders Association and the editor of Sports Destination Management.