I came across this post on Facebook from Bob Valvano (yes, that Valvano – brother of the late Jimmy Valvano). Permission to reprint was granted by Bob. 

Passed a store that sells basketball goals, and the sign says “More basketball… less video games.”

Look, I LOVE Basketball, so MORE basketball is always good, but when did VIDEO GAMES become the catch phrase for everything bad about our kids?

Here is the reality…we collectively are too sedentary as a society.  As such, we are overweight, under exercised and it spills over to our kids.  But video games themselves are WAY too convenient a scapegoat. It’s not fair to make them the collection plate for ALL shortcomings in our kids.

For example had the sign said, “Hey kids! STOP READING THAT BOOK! Play basketball! ” you would have thought, well that’s dumb…we need kids to read.

Exactly…so their “inactivity” in THAT case isn’t bad right?

Therefore we can conclude the “problem” such as it is, is not “inactivity” it is video games, and that’s not fair.

Studies show MANY of these games have many positive effects on the minds and cognitive skills of the players.

I love games, but don’t really play video games that often so I don’t defend them with a personal agenda.

I guess it just struck me that if we want kids to actively play, we need to stop over scheduling every activity and stop over organizing each game.

Stop “adultifyng” every event…kids used to organize and figure it out on their own.

Only have 10 for baseball? Only hit to left of second base. Same modifications for football, basketball, street hockey, etc.

Now, NO ONE plays unless adults organize it, run it, direct it, overwhelm it, frequently ruin it (IMHO).

But I digress. The point is if we really think kids ought be more active and “play” more…stop organizing FOR them.

Show them “how” to do it themselves. Encourage them to go play.

Then get the hell out-of-the-way.

And stop “blaming” video games.

Too easy.


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8 Responses to IT’S TOO EASY…

  1. Glenn Thomas says:

    Yes he (Valvano) is right as usual! Inactivity is killing us! I am getting aknee replacement in the spring and try to do the best that I can. I walk to and from my work everyday and even though it’s not the longest walk at least its something. I will be going to the YMCA Armory to do the stationary bike too. It kills me to see the schoolyards empty when healthy children could be playing.

    • hoopscoach says:

      A few good reasons why kids are not active…

      Safety issues have to be near the top of the list.

      At ten years old how I was able to be in the yard all day and into the early evening? My kid is 13 now and we always know where she is…

      At 12 I was riding the subway over to Manhattan on a Saturday morning to see Dr. J at a clinic! ALONE…


  2. richie k says:

    Steve there will never ever again be a time like when we were kids, when in every school yard, park, and the streets were filled all the time with kids playing ball, like Glen said its disappointing not seeing kids in the school yards like we were all the like u say the kids in our neighborhood seem to be into different things, also the 12 year olds riding the subway will be missed !!! lollllllll

  3. jimmyvac says:

    There are difference between our era and this generation. One, we had more kids then. Two, we could play in the street.. I had a showdown with a neighbor who threatened to take my kids’ nerf football away if it hit his car or went on his property.. Third, we had more freedom. I remember going to Shea with older kids when I was 10.. they were 12..
    I agree with letting kids on their own. Adults screw stuff up with stupid rules like not keeping score or pitch counts.. I think our mayor should make gym class , recess, or whatever you want to call it a mandatory 5 day a week class..

    Parent shoudlt take their kids or some neighborhood kids to a schoolyard, give them 5 minutes instruction, and sit on a bench and let them play..

  4. Kevin Mahoney says:

    I think another factor is the reality of many households, including my own, having two parents that work full time. This cuts down on the amount of kids you see playing outside between 3 and 6 pm. I’m in suburban New Jersey, so I can’t speak for how things work these days in the city, but my kids go to after school programs, and the practices for the sports they play are scheduled to allow for parents to get home from work first. Back when we were kids most mothers were stay at home moms, so we were free to do what we wanted from 3 pm unti dinner time.

  5. jimmyvac says:

    I think the biggest factor is fear.. Since the Etan Patz kidnapping in 1979, parents tighten the reins on the kids..parents are afraid to let their kids
    go to a schoolyard to play because of the sickos out there.. I started to let my two go to the schoolyards alone when they were 11 or 12 and had people tell me that’s too young.. it;s kind of nuts,.. NYC was far more dangerous when we were young …

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