3 articles Tag sport

How To Pick The Best Sporting Activity For Your Child

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Incorporating sports into your child’s life is an excellent idea as there are significant advantages your child can gain from being involved. The truth is that not all kids may enjoy sports since their interests may lie in other activities. However, the challenge usually comes in choosing the right sport for your child if they are interested. Like all other decisions, you take on behalf of your children, choosing the right sport is just as important. So, how can you go about making the right choice? Here are a few things you should consider.

Expose your child to several sports

The best way you can be sure you are making the right choice is by having a lot to choose from! By exposing your child to a wide range of sports, you help create various experiences for them. This goes a long way to help them discover the sport in which their interests lie. You do this by simply giving them information on sports you are knowledgeable about. For example, if you know all about rugby or soccer, you can share this information with your child to perk up their interest. Watching various matches and tournaments is also a great way to expose them to multiple sports. Doing so would also help you decipher the ones they like and dislike.

Look out for signs of enthusiasm

Perhaps, your child is already interested in a specific sport. To be sure of this, you would have to be mindful of the sports they seem to be enthusiastic about. Children tend to express their interest in something by talking about it. A lot! Listen to your children talk to figure out which sports they prefer. They may speak excessively about plays, strategies or follow games closely. They may also form bonds with other children who play that sport or share an interest in it. However, you would need to be flexible in this regard. This is because your child may express interest in a “non-traditional” sport such as mixed martial arts or gymnastics. Whatever sport they show interest in, find ways to support and encourage them.

Consider your child’s physical traits

Is your child tall? Perhaps they have long legs? Or, are they stout? Your child’s physical appearance can play a role in what sports they could enjoy playing. For example, your slim and short child may be better off being into athletics or basketball. However, do not let their physical attributes hinder them from participating in sports they are interested in. You should also consider their skills, strength, and temperament. These attributes would be a significant determinant of whether your child should join individual or group sports, the nature of the sports they would excel in, or their overall attitude towards a sport.

Although you want to help your child make the right choice, it is vital to offer support than to force them to join a sport. Therefore, use these factors to hear your child out and not force them.

Is it Time for an Intersex Olympics?

Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.

(I apologise in advance if I use any incorrect terminology, my aim here is not to offend anyone, only to start a conversation)

If you’ve been anywhere near the news in the past few days, you can’t fail to have missed the furore surrounding South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya and the questions over her gender. In case you have missed it, here’s a TL:DR of the situation: Caster, born in 1991, won a gold medal in Rio in the womens’ Olympics, however there have been complaints from other athletes because she has high levels of testosterone, which they claim gives her an advantage.

Caster Semenya

When I first started reading about this, I came across an article where they said that it had become common practice for Semenya to go into the bathrooms before a race to show one of her competitors her genitals to “prove” her femininity, which sounds absolutely appalling and like a gross invasion of her privacy and I was genuinely shocked to read that she had to go to such lengths to confirm her eligibility to race.

However, the controversy takes a slightly different slant when you consider her internal physiology. You see, according to official reports, Semenya has high levels of testosterone which is produced by internal testes and she also lacks a uterus and ovaries. The officials who deal with eligibility to race have stated that there’s insignificant evidence to suggest that testosterone gives her a significant advantage over the other athletes, however, several other athletes with the same physical attributes as Semenya took steps to change this, as reported in the New York Times:

At the London Olympics, four female athletes, all 18 to 21 years old and from rural areas of developing countries, were flagged for high levels of natural testosterone. Each of them subsequently had surgery to remove internal testes, which produce testosterone, as well as procedures that were not required for resuming competition: feminizing vaginoplasty, estrogen replacement therapy and a reduction in the size of the clitoris.

One could argue that many athletes have physical attributes which make them “unusual” in the grand scheme of things, but which give them an advantage when it comes to sporting prowess. Take Miguel Indurain, for instance. He’s a Spanish cyclist who won FIVE consecutive Tour de France in the early to mid-Nineties and is considered cycling royalty to this day. However, he has a huge physical advantage; his blood took almost double the oxygen of a normal person and his cardiac output was 50 litres a minute; a fit amateur cyclist’s is about 25 litres. No-one suggested that his physiology was an unfair advantage, just a happy anomaly which, ultimately, made him a legend.

So, if the issue isn’t physiological, then is it a gender issue? Well, Semenya identifies as a woman and has spent her entire life living as a woman; from what I can gather there’s never been any suggestion in her life of any sort of gender dysphoria or questions over how she identifies, which makes it clear cut, right? Maybe not.

Fallon Fox Tamikka Brents

Fallon Fox in white, before her fight with Tamikka Brents (pink bottoms)

Another similar case in sport was that of MMA fighter Fallon Fox. Featherweight champion Fallon underwent gender reassignment surgery back in 2006 and entered the MMA as a female fighter. Not only has she had her male reproductive organs removed but she has been on hormone therapy for many years, however she’s faced massive opposition and controversy within the MMA community because people feel that her physicality gives her an advantage, not least of all when she fought Tamikka Brents, and “Brents suffered a concussion, an orbital bone fracture, and seven staples to the head. After her loss, Brents took to social media to convey her thoughts on the experience of fighting Fox: “I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not because I’m not a doctor. I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right,” she stated. “Her grip was different, I could usually move around in the clinch against other females but couldn’t move at all in Fox’s clinch…””

Fox argues that her hormone therapy probably means that she actually has LESS testosterone than her competitors, but this doesn’t alter the fact that testosterone played a part on how she developed physically in the first place, until her reassignment surgery.

It’s all such a grey area. Traditionally speaking, men and women have never competed against one another because of the clear physical differences, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no middle ground. Obviously, it’s rare to see a woman who’s the size of say, Mike Tyson, with the same bone structure and heavy musculature, but there are plenty of female fighters who probably make Conor McGregor look like a leprechaun with his featherweight frame. But does size equal strength? No, definitely not.

All of this is leading to a point…honestly!

While I’m not suggesting that being intersex or hormonally different is a disability (quite the opposite, in fact), is it time that we offered an Olympics for competitors where gender isn’t clear-cut, in the same way that we have a Paralympics for differently abled athletes? This way there can’t be any suggestion that they’re somehow exploiting a physical advantage. Issues of gender have become far less taboo in recent years, allowing people to live exactly as they wish to without the previous levels of prejudice, which is great, although there is still a long way to go. Should be we accommodating people for whom gender/sex isn’t black and white? A ‘third-sex’ Olympics? It would certainly level the playing field, but is it getting into dangerous levels of classification and potential prejudice from different angles? Is submitting to hormone tests before being allowed to enter a step too far, or is it no different to submitting to a drugs test to ensure that performance-enhancing drugs aren’t used? Is it all just sour grapes from the losing athletes?

I’d love to know your thoughts on this, so please do leave me a comment below!

Do You Let Your Kids Play Sports?

boxing-days-failure-feelings-Favim.com-2806630Sausage is getting to an age now where after school clubs seem like more of a priority and Husband and I have been doing a lot of research to find things which we think are suitable for her. She loves a bit of rough and tumble and has been asking about trying a martial art for some time. Her hero at the moment is Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey, the undefeated female champion of the UFC, who  also happens to be an enormous Pokemon nerd, just like Sausage! Rousey’s beginnings were in Judo, in fact both she and her mother are medal-winning Olympians in the sport and Husband and I both think that Judo would be a great sport for Sausage as it’s not about punching and kicking, but throwing and pinning.

A new infographic from World Rugby has been put together to show how parents are actually unfazed by potential injury when it comes to sports because they feel that the benefit of being active FAR outweighs the risks. Here’s the info:

Spoortswise infographic-page-001

Of the parents polled for the infographic, parents chose weight management, social skills and teamwork, amongst other reasons for encouraging their kids to play a sport. I also think that it’s really important to encourage a competitive spirit. There’s been a real shift towards inclusiveness which can be SO positive in so many ways but I also think that lowering standards to ensure that ‘everyone can take part’ really discourages competitiveness and can stop talented kids from excelling. I’d never advocate nastiness, but I think learning that edge can be really beneficial for kids in later life. Life IS competitive.

How do you feel about contact sports? Are you too protective to let your kids do something where they might get hurt or do you encourage rough and tumble play? Are you passionate about competition or do you think life is competitive enough once they reach adulthood and feel that kids should be insulated from it? I’d love to hear your opinions on this subject!