A “Thank You” to the volunteers

November 24, 2015

Photo courtesy Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation

In this season of thanks and giving, it’s only appropriate that we pause to thank so many people who make sure that our many events come off smoothly.

It’s estimated that about a quarter of Americans, 25.3 percent to be exact, volunteered for an event or cause in 2014. That works out to about 62.8 million people volunteering at least once, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Among volunteers with children under the age of 18, the Bureau says that 46 percent of the mothers and 38.6 percent of fathers volunteered, mainly for an education or youth service organization. Break that down a little more and 9.4 percent of the men who volunteered for sports teams did so as a coach, referee or supervisor, The women were more likely to serve food (think concession stands) and fund raise.

And that’s just the tip of the volunteering iceberg for youth teams: Handling team apparel, taking team photos, making sure everyone gets those all-important snacks, organizing and taking care of facilities, even organizing special fundraising events, all are important and almost all are taken care of, by volunteers. And yes, usually those volunteers are mom and dad.

But there are those who volunteer because they love the sport: Whether it’s track and field, fencing, basketball or gymnastics, those who perhaps played the sport as a youth now give their time and talents to help the next generation enjoy the sport as much as they did.

So in this season of giving thanks, take a moment to thank those who volunteer to make sure your events are professional and safe.


NASC Upcoming Webinars – Register Now

November 18, 2015

Mark your calendars now! We have a great line-up of both Best Practices Webinars and Event Webinars that you won’t want to miss. Check out the schedule below, and reserve your spot today!

Tips for Building Community Relationships
Best Practices Webinar
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET

Register Now

Building relationships within your community is essential to the success of sporting events you host. From venue support, event management, volunteer recruitment, fundraising and sponsorships, your local community holds the resources that rights holders look for when awarding events. Join Bonny Bernat of Visit Winston-Salem as she shares best practices used in hosting events in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. If you are unable to join us on the 24th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).

USA Triathlon

Event Webinar Sponsored by MGM Resorts International
Thursday, December 17, 2015
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET

Register Now

Join Brian D’Amico, National Events Senior Manager, USA Triathlon, as he discusses USA Triathlon and what it takes to land their events. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 17th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).

Webinar Archives

If you’ve missed any of our recent webinars, or would like to view them again, visit our Best Practices Webinar Archives or our Event Webinar Archives.

Contact the Member Services Department if you have any questions.

Do new rules make soccer safer?

November 16, 2015

Last week the U.S. Soccer Federation avoided further litigation on a class-action lawsuit by agreeing to new rules for youth soccer players. The rules now bar players 10 and younger from heading the soccer ball, and athletes 11 to 13 will be limited in the number of times they can practice headers during practice.

The rules were initiated because a group of soccer parents and players had sued U.S. Soccer, asking for more stringent rules to handle concussions, especially from players heading the ball. But some say the rules don’t go far enough in protecting young athletes.

For example, the Concussion Legacy Foundation says that players 14 and under should never head the soccer ball, but does agree the new rules are a step in the right direction.

But is delaying heading the ball the best way to protect players from concussions? A study released in September from the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that, among high school players studied, heading was responsible for the highest proportion of concussions in boys—30 percent—and girls—25 percent.

The most interesting part of the study, though, is that slamming into another player, rather than heading the ball itself, seems to be what causes the most header-related injuries. Because of that, the authors of the study concluded that banning heading itself won’t have that much effect on preventing concussions, unless it is somehow linked with efforts to reduce contact between players.

And then there is the coaching faction that claims that the U.S. will fall behind the rest of the world in soccer development, if youngsters aren’t taught the “correct” way to play the game from youth soccer on.

Everyone agrees that players need to be kept as safe as possible playing soccer, at any age. Whether it’s mandating the use of headgear or limiting headers, the goal is to keep young athletes, and their brains, healthy. The new rules may be a first step in developing ways to do just that.

Photo courtesy jax youth soccer

Photo courtesy jax youth soccer

The Growth of Adaptive Sports

November 10, 2015

blog picBrian Davis served his country in the U.S. Navy from 2004 through 2009, including an eight-month deployment to the Middle East. But he admits that after a motorcycle accident in 2008 that left him in a wheelchair, he had moments where he sat at home on the couch and felt lost with an uncertain future ahead of him. With a wife expecting at the same time, Davis was going through rehabilitation at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids not knowing what his next move might be.

It was there, during his rehab, that it was suggested he get involved in wheelchair tennis, just one of the nearly two dozen wheelchair and adaptive sports offered at Mary Free Bed.

“I wasn’t really into basketball or anything like that,” Davis said, “but I really enjoyed tennis. It’s been my outlet going on five years now.”

Adaptive and wheelchair sports have been growing dramatically over the last few years, especially with the influx of an estimated 10,000 veterans and active service members now participating in adaptive sports. The interest in the Paralympic Games has also led to sports fitness facilities built especially for adaptive and wheelchair athletes. For example, the Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center for Persons with Disabilities in Phoenix is a $13 million facility with fitness and aquatics centers, indoor hardwood courts, a climbing wall and more. It also serves as a venue for local, national and international adaptive sporting events.

The best thing about the program in Grand Rapids, according to Davis, is the competitiveness. “I’ve always been competitive; I’ve always loved testing myself against others. Just because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you can’t be active.”

Davis and his wheelchair tennis team travel across the country for matches, including one memorable one in Dallas. “I’ll never forget that,” he said, “we were there in the middle of the summer in 98° weather with 90 percent humidity.” Other not-so-humid stops for the team of around 20, plus coaches, have included Fort Wayne and Chicago, among others.

Mary Free Bed’s sports offerings, besides wheelchair tennis, include such sports as wheelchair softball, sports camps, wheelchair basketball, sled hockey, open water fishing and many more. “That’s the great thing about the programs,” Davis said. “It’s a variety, not the same thing over and over.”

And programs keep growing, mainly because of word of mouth, according to Davis. “In tennis we have a banquet, and we show off what we do. The word spreads to other athletes who may want to try it, and we are fortunate enough that we’re exposed to sponsors who want to help out.”

It was because Davis was willing to try this new sport, that he is an enthusiastic supporter of wheelchair tennis. “Getting out and doing is better than sitting at home and feeling sorry for yourself,” he said. “I admit it was a rough patch for me at the beginning, but one, my newborn daughter got me through, and two, seeing others getting involved really encouraged me.”

And his advice to others considering adaptive or wheelchair sports? “Just try it,” he said. “It has added so much to my life. It can do the same for you.”

For more information on the Mary Free Bed sports programs, visit http://www.maryfreebed.com/rehabilitation/wheelchair-adaptive-sports/.

NASC Upcoming Event Webinars – Register Now

November 4, 2015

It’s hard to believe 2015 is coming to an end! We are closing out the year with a great line-up of Event Webinars that you won’t want to miss. Check out the schedule below and reserve your spot today!

Orienteering USA
Event Webinar Sponsored by MGM Resorts International
Thursday, November 19, 2015
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET

Register Now

Join Glen Schorr, Executive Director, Orienteering USA, as he discusses Orienteering USA and what it takes to land their events. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 19th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).

USA Triathlon
Event Webinar Sponsored by MGM Resorts International
Thursday, December 17, 2015
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

Register Now

Join Brian D’Amico, National Events Senior Manager, USA Triathlon, as he discusses USA Triathlon and what it takes to land their events. There will be time at the end of the presentation for questions. If you are unable to join us on the 17th, remember you can download the webinar recording from our webinar archives page (login required).

Webinar Archives

If you’ve missed any of our recent webinars, or would like to view them again, visit our Event Webinar Archives.

A Show of Sportsmanship

November 2, 2015

This past Halloween, Zach Hougland was supposed to be running for an individual title in the Iowa high school cross country state meet.

He had earned the right to make the trip to Fort Dodge, having come in first at the district championship for Iowa’s Class 2A runners, his fourth trip to state.

Instead, Zach was disqualified for helping a fellow competitor finish the qualifying meet.

The Davis County of Bloomfield senior finished first, but then looked back at the course and saw Garret Hinson, a Mediapolis senior, struggling to cross the finish line, about 150 meters away.

Hinson was trying to finish but his legs and back gave out, so he ended up crawling on all fours to try to make the finish. Zach ran back onto the course, helped Hinson to his feet and guided him to the finish. Both runners, though, were disqualified. The action violated state rules regarding physical assistance of one runner by another.

The help was ruled interference by a runner. The disqualification was made by meet officials and an investigation by the Iowa High School Athletic Association upheld the ruling.

The bright spot in this is that Davis County’s cross country team as a whole placed third and qualified for state, so that gave Zach a chance to run with the team. Davis County came in 14th in the state in the meet Halloween weekend, and Zach was the team’s fastest runner.

The other bright spot was the outpouring of support that Zach received for his unselfish act of sportsmanship. Too many youth sports stories highlight the ugly incidents that can happen in the name of sports. It may have been a disqualification, but for all the right reasons.

Photo courtesy of Joanna McCoy

Photo courtesy of Joanna McCoy

More from your venue

October 26, 2015

It sounds like the old Larry Bird-Magic Johnson McDonald’s commercial..off the backstop, through the dugout, off the steps..but at Petco Park, it’ll be the way you play miniature golf—and it’s a unique sponsorship activation at the same time.

Over the first weekend in November, the San Diego Padres and Callaway Golf will create a nine-hole layout around the downtown ball park. The Links at Petco Park, to be held November 5-8, will begin on a putting green in the home dugout. Golfers will move to the ballpark’s upper deck for Nos. 2-5, where they will hit shots onto the field from various locations. The sixth will tee off on the field near the Western Metal Supply Co. building in the left field corner before golfers move to the batter’s eye in center field for No. 7. The eighth hole will be a putting green in the bullpen. The final hole will be on the roof of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building.

Prices are $100 for twosomes and $200 for foursomes. Callaway will provide clubs and balls. Upgraded packages include specially branded Callaway clubs and tickets to a future Padres game. No surprise, tee times are all gone, but you can still sign up for a wait list.

“We’re always trying to provide authentic golf experiences with our products that are unique and engaging, and that’s exactly what this partnership with the Padres is about,” Callaway senior vice president of marketing Harry Arnett told the Padres’ website. “Playing a nine-hole course at a venue like Petco Park with Callaway golf clubs and balls will be a once-in-a-lifetime round, and we are excited to be a part of it.”

Each hole along the course will feature a unique theme and an opportunity to win prizes like a new Callaway Great Big Bertha Driver, with various holes offering corresponding snacks and beverages.

We’ve talked about using existing venues for new events. The Petco Park activation, the Fenway Park snow jumping event this winter, even stadium concerts, all offer new revenue streams for venues at a time when their stadium wouldn’t be used. And, it gives fans a unique look at a facility they thought they were familiar with. More and more facilities are taking a new look at how to bring in fans, and money, during what would otherwise be the off-season.

Petco Park links course

illustration is courtesy San Diego Padres

Sports in the Courts

October 22, 2015

If event rights holders and venue operators need another reminder that every legal scenario needs to be covered when holding an event, here are three reminders:

A former Ohio University baseball player has sued the school, alleging that his career ended because his coach discouraged players from complaining about injuries. RyLee Rogers, a catcher from Cambridge, Ohio, is seeking more than $25,000 in the lawsuit.

Rogers suffered a tear in the shoulder cartilage of his throwing arm in the Bobcats’ 2012 baseball season and underwent corrective surgery before returning to the team for the 2013 season. Head baseball coach Rob Smith then assigned Rogers to be a bullpen catcher for the annual varsity-alumni game, and he was required to make an “excessive” number of throws, the lawsuit states. Rogers suffered another torn labrum in his throwing arm and underwent surgery that ended his baseball career, according to the lawsuit. The suit claims Smith discouraged players from complaining about soreness or physical limitations and discouraged them from sitting out of scheduled activities.

But it’s not just at the college level: A La Jolla High School student is suing the school district, alleging that a football coach ordered him to keep playing in a game last year even though he had suffered a concussion during the first quarter.

John Enloe III, who is now over 18, accuses the San Diego Unified School District of negligence and failing to both recognize the signs of his injury and to follow safe and proper coaching protocol.

According to the complaint, Enloe was a member of La Jolla High’s junior varsity football team on Oct. 16, 2014, when he was hit hard during game play. He complained of a headache and nausea, told an assistant coach that he wasn’t feeling well and asked to be taken out of the game, but the coach told him to “suck it up” and keep playing, said attorney Harlan Zaback, who represents Enloe in the lawsuit. Enloe was hit again during the game and was taken to a hospital later. There, he was diagnosed with a serious concussion.

And it’s not just in the schools: WTA star Eugenie Bouchard has begun legal action against the United States Tennis Association after suffering a concussion following a fall at the U.S. Open. She slipped in the locker room there, withdrew from the tournament before her fourth-round match, then pulled out of the China Open the next month because of dizziness.

The lawsuit alleges she slipped on “a foreign and dangerous substance,” identified as a cleaning agent supposed to be left on the floor overnight. The suit also alleges negligence and includes a demand for a jury trial, with Bouchard seeking damages from the USTA and USTA National Tennis Center.

While these cases make their way through the legal system, they stand as reminders for everyone to cross their legal T’s and dot their legal I’s. Whether it’s background checks on volunteers or insurance coverage for venues, we all know that events, and the places where they’re held, should and must be covered. It’s a good time as we head into the new year to re-evaluate your coverage and your security protocol to make sure you’ve done everything needed to make your event, and venue, safe.

gavel on white background

Youth Sports at a Crossroads

October 12, 2015

An article this past week in the Washington Post revealed something that many of us who work in the business of youth sports have known for some time: The number of kids who participate in organized sports is reaching a crisis level.

According to a survey by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, more than 26 million children ages 6 to 17 played team sports last year, but that’s down about four percent from the total in 2009. The total sports played have dropped by nearly 10 percent.

Some of the decline is blamed on the recession at the start of the decade, but experts say the dropoff in the suburbs is something to be concerned about, mainly because kids are being steered away from playing a variety of school sports and sent into elite competition. Children as a whole, according to the study, are playing fewer sports, and those who are left in school programs often are the victims of poor coaching.

With 70 percent of youngsters quitting sports by age 12, it’s easy to look at a reason why. And the reason, researchers say, often is the parents.

Mark Hyman, a professor of sports management at George Washington University, is quoted in the article as targeting parental influence as the main reason fewer kids are playing fewer sports. “If we wiped the slate clean and reinvented youth sports from scratch by putting the physical and emotional needs of kids first, how different would it look? Nothing would be recognizable.”

The Aspen Institute, the Clinton Foundation, and several amateur and professional sports organizations are studying the issue. Officials met at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, as well as earlier this year at a Washington summit attended by the U.S. surgeon general. Dick’s Sporting Goods asks for donations at the checkout counter for Sports Matter, a program to fund underfunded youth sports teams.  The NASC also picks a local charity or non-profit in the city of its annual sports symposium to boost youth sports activities.

Sports has become a way for parents to try to get college scholarships for their children, often starting them in one sports as a toddler and investing thousands of dollars in travel teams, equipment and individual coaching. Even though the odds of a scholarship, much less a pro career, are small, parents will take the gamble hoping for the next Tiger Woods or Mia Hamm.

The article also quotes a survey a professor at George Washington conducted on nearly 150 children. The kids identified 81 factors that contributed to their happiness in playing sports. Number 48 was winning. Also low on the list, playing in tournaments, cool uniforms, top of the line equipment.

The number 1 reason why kids quit? It’s no longer fun.

It’s up to the grownups to figure out how to make sports fun again for our youngsters, to keep them in activities that they can take with them well into adulthood, and, most importantly, to let them rediscover the fun in sports. Athletics can teach amazing life lessons to kids. Let’s make sure they learn the right ones.

Photo courtesy of the Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation

Photo courtesy of the Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation

NASC Member Services Update

October 8, 2015

The NASC staff and Board of Directors are happy to announce the hiring of an additional staff member to better serve the needs of our ever-growing membership. With a membership that has grown more than 25% in the last five years, it is of utmost importance that the national office continues to deliver a high level of personal service to each and every one of our member organizations.

Therefore, an additional member services coordinator, Allison Deak, began her tenure with the NASC on October 6, 2015. With this staff change comes some restructuring and shifts in responsibilities of each staff member at the national office to more appropriately handle the volume of daily activity required to service nearly 800 member organizations.

Don Schumacher, CSEE, Executive Director, is a founder of the NASC and has been the executive director since 1994. Don develops and implements the strategic plan for the NASC. He also leads NASC strategic consulting services and CSEE.

Lori Gamble, Associate Executive Director, has been an integral part of the leadership team of the NASC since 1994. In addition to her responsibility of managing the annual operating budget, Lori will oversee the sponsorship program and meeting management, including the annual NASC Sports Event Symposium and NASC Market Segment Meetings.

Elizabeth Young, Director of Membership and Marketing, has been on staff since 2007. Elizabeth will continue to lead the membership recruitment and renewal efforts and develop and implement the annual marketing and communications plan. Elizabeth also manages the NASC Sports Legacy Fund and NASC Member Awards, oversees advertising sales, and serves as the editor of NASC publications.

Meagan McCalla, Member Services Coordinator, has been on staff since 2013. Meagan will continue to be the primary point of contact for all Active member organizations (destinations). Active members should expect quarterly service calls from Meagan and contact her for any questions regarding membership renewals, account updates, registration for NASC meetings, or general inquiries about member services and benefits.

Allison Deak, Member Services Coordinator, will join the staff in October 2015. Allison will be the primary point of contact for all Allied and Rights Holder members (vendors and event owners). Allied and Rights Holder members should expect quarterly service calls from Allison and contact her for any questions regarding membership renewals, account updates, registration for NASC meetings, or general inquiries about member services and benefits.

We look forward to continuing to serve the needs of all of our members and remain your resource for the sports tourism
industry for years to come.

Safety is Priority 1

October 6, 2015

Friday night, October 2, Kenny Bui, a senior at Evergreen High in Seattle, Washington was playing defensive back for his school’s football team when he was injured making a tackle. He was taken to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery, but died the following Monday.

Kenny becomes the fourth high school football player to die this season in this country because of on-field injuries. Tyrell Cameron from Louisiana suffered a neck injury; Ben Hamm from Oklahoma died more than a week after a hit to the head; Evan Murray from New Jersey died from bleeding caused by a lacerated spleen.

Kenny wasn’t even the only player in the Seattle area hospitalized Friday night. Another player suffered a broken bone in his neck and has been fitted with a halo brace. And a week earlier, yet another player in Seattle collapsed during a game and suffered swelling in his brain.

According to a study almost a decade old from the American Journal of Sports Medicine, high school football players suffer three times as many catastrophic injuries as college players. One reason is sheer numbers: About 100,000 play NFL, college, semipro and Arena football combined. About 1.1 million high schoolers play football, around 3 million play youth football, according to USA Football. Some speculate the injuries at younger levels could be from using older equipment: Schools and youth football teams just can’t afford better, safer helmets. Another reason? Younger brains are more susceptible to injury. And not every youth team has an athletic trainer at the ready.

USA Football goes out of its way to train youth coaches on how to teach the game the right way. Youth sports are vital to the growth and development of athletes, and making those sports as safe as possible, whether it’s football, youth basketball or club soccer teams, are all our responsibilities.

Rawlings helmet

Photo courtesy of Rawlings


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 115 other followers