Each month, Joe LoVerde, a highly respected youth sports coach, editor, and sportswriter discusses topics of interest to Staten Island parents and families. If you are raising kids on Staten Island, or have an interest in what is going on in the sports world here on Staten Island, pick up an issue of S.I. Parent magazine or stop by siparent.com to see what’s new!
Here’s links to recent columns. Enjoy!
Coaching With Cancer – February 2019
Scott Kain has had two strikes on him for 41 years — but he keeps fouling off life’s nastiest pitches to remain in the at bat he calls life. It’s why his older brother Mark says simply: “I’m related to a true warrior.”
Finding the Right College Sports Opportunity – November 2018
On my first day of college back in the dark ages — 1973 — my adviser asked me if I played a sport. I told him I had played high school baseball, and he told me I should try out for the team at my school — Long Island University in Brooklyn…
Mid-Island Little League: That Championship Season – October 2018
Frank Scerra was confused. The left-fielder for the Mid-Island Little League 12-year-old all-star team couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. The team had just been honored at Staten Island Borough Hall, and the whirlwind would continue with victory laps offered by the Mets at Citi Field, the Staten Island Yankees at the Richmond County Ballpark, the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan and Dave and Buster’s in the Staten Island Mall…
Time to Ace the School Team Tryouts – September 2018
For many students, back to school means more than just returning to the classroom. For those who hope to be student athletes, it’s time to make that first impression and work to secure your spot on a team….
Has Your Child Been Cut From a Team? – August 2018
We came across a Facebook post recently by a parent whose child had failed to make a team she had played on for several years. It’s not an experience that is foreign to us. There have been a number of unhappy cuts our family members have had to deal with. We know how painful they can be for the player and the parents…
No Room for Bullying in Sports – July 2018
Maybe your child has just joined a new a team and is attending his that first practice. He’s a bit on the shy side and is still learning the sport. The other kids, being kids and oblivious to or uncaring of the difficulty your child is having, don’t exactly go out of their way to make him feel welcome…
The Right College Coach Can Ease a Parent’s Mind – April 2018
Your child is going away to college in the fall and will be playing a sport. It will be his or her first time living away from home. No matter how independent your student athlete might think he or she is, parents naturally will have concerns…
Stoutland’s ‘Super’ Career – March 2018
Jeff Stoutland left Staten Island long ago. But whenever he’s in the area, he tries to swing through his former hometown…
Olympic Effort Gets Brandon Penny to the Games – February 2018
Brandon Penny will not take home a gold medal when he returns from PyeongChang, South Korea, following the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in February. But he already has something better— a new lease on life…
The Right Choice – January 2018
This past fall was the first one in 15 years Susanna Weir didn’t play soccer. And for the 18-year-old from West Brighton, a freshman at the University of Delaware, it felt strange…
Sports Gifts for the Holidays – December 2017
Playing organized sports can be a pricey proposition. Between registration, equipment, lessons, camps and clothing, the annual price per child can easily reach $1,000. And since most kids only play organized sports these days as opposed to pick-up games in the neighborhood, chances are you’re incurring these costs…
No Sweat! Young Staten Island Diver Looking a Make a Splash on National Level
Leave it to an 11-year-old to give you a perspective you’ve never considered when discussing the benefits of a particular sport. In swimming and diving, “I like that you can’t sweat because you’re in the water,” said Nicky Graham, a sixth-grader at IS 34 in Tottenville. “Or if you do sweat, you know you can just jump in the pool and cool down.”
Should Sports Programs Matter When Choosing a High School? – October 2017
The high school a young athlete attends may have an effect on his or her sports future, especially if he or she hopes to play a sport in college. Just how much weight should you and your child place on a high school’s sports program when choosing a school? Should sports be considered at all?
Getting Back in the Game – September 2017
You’d never know by Nico Russo’s easy-going nature what a fighter he is. The infielder for Bario’s Marlins in the Mid-Island Men’s Baseball League smiles a lot, especially when he’s at the field. Truth is, Nico has plenty of reason to smile. Six years ago, just before his sophomore year at New Dorp High School, he lost his ability to play sports — and nearly lost his life.
Touchdown for Special Ed Students – July 2017
PS 37 in Great Kills is a special place. The District 75 school, serving students with a multitude of conditions who require services more available in a special setting, has at least five locations.
Happiness is Being a Grandparent – June 2017
I was having a conversation with my brother recently and we both agreed that there is something more enjoyable than being the parent of a young athlete. And that’s being the grandparent of a young athlete.
Let Your Child Make Mistakes – May 2017
In my opinion, one of the biggest disservices modern parents (including me) have been doing to their children is trying to protect them from making mistakes. And that includes on the athletic field.
Should Girls Compete Against Boys? – March 2017
Christine Cipriano can empathize with Sydney Phillips. When Cipriano was 15, she wanted to play baseball. That was 1975, when the growth of girls’ sports was in the early stages, and playing organized athletics with the opposite sex was rarely tolerated. But the Staten Island Babe Ruth League gave her a spot on one of their baseball rosters and, guess what? The world didn’t end.
In Unity, There’s Strength – February 2017
The Unity Games, a Staten Island happening that is going on its 15th year of using basketball to help teach tolerance to middle school boys and girls, has no doubt had an impact in these parts. But Evan Pickman, who has been on the group’s board of directors from its inception and whose basketball expertise and connections have contributed greatly to the games’ success, said that organizers are looking for ways to expand their reach beyond the borough and the one weekend a year.
New Year Resolutions for Sports Parents – January 2017
Whether you’ve got lots of experience in the sports parents game or your young athlete is just starting out, the beginning of a new year is a great time to be reminded of how to best fulfill your role. Committing to these guidelines should help make 2017 a great 12 months for you and your child.
Winning Isn’t Everything – December 2016
Going through my high school yearbook recently, I came across my page and noticed that my favorite quote was: “It’s not sports without sportsmanship.” I think I was actually the author of that quote, but I digress.
November 2016 – Preventing and Dealing with Sports Injuries
We all have heard the horror stories about a 9-year-old going into cardiac arrest after being hit in the chest by a line drive, or a 12-year-old suffering an asthma attack on the soccer field, or a football player collapsing at practice on a hot day.
October 2016 – Recreational Soccer — It’s Not The World Cup
What does it take to become a successful recreational soccer coach? Angelo Puma, longtime coach for the Great Kills Soccer Club, seems to have it figured out.
September 2016 – Balancing School & Sports
Kids are about to start school, and parents with kids who play sports are about to start planning for ways to make sure homework gets done and games and practices are made.
August 2016 – Making Tackle Football Safer
Tackle football isn’t going away. I realize that’s hardly breaking news. The National Football League is more popular than ever, as is college football — and the money collegiate programs generate helps to provide free college educations, and a pathway to the pros, to countless student-athletes.
July 2016 – Keeping the Games Fun
Countless research studies show that signing up your kids for recreational leagues or letting them try out for travel teams outweigh the potential adult-initiated unpleasantness. Unfortunately, that unpleasantness often leads to kids refusing to play through to adulthood.
June 2016 – This Guy’s All Talk — on Sports Radio
I was flipping the channels on the car radio one recent night, after 11 p.m., when I stopped at WFAN, which has been the top sports talk radio station for the past 30 years. A caller was rehashing the night’s Yankee game and complained that Yankee manager Joe Gerardi should have bunted in a particular situation.
May 2016 – Read All About It
So much of my own young sports life is gone forever. Choose-up games. Neighborhood teams. Drawing bases on the asphalt with rocks. Playing two-hand touch in the street, with telephone poles marking the goal lines.
April 2016 – Don’t Be a Youth Sports Bully
In a conversation I had with a local youth basketball coach recently, I was reminded of just how much some parents don’t get the point of youth sports, or their role in their child’s organized sports activities.
March 2016 – Find a Reason to Stay in Shape
It’s easy as parents to put all of your focus on your children.
I was coaching before I had any kids and, while that took a considerable amount of my time, I was still very active. I played softball in two leagues, bowled in two leagues and ran in road races, which meant doing three or four training runs each week. I was fit. But when I started coaching my own children, things changed. My attention turned almost entirely to my kids’ sports activities, and that was a big mistake.
February 2016 – How You Play the Game
“It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.” That’s not exactly the way the late Grantland Rice, a sportswriter for the long-defunct New York Tribune in the early 1900s, phrased it in his poem “Alumnus Football,” but it’s the way it’s best remembered. And it came to mind when listening to professional bowling great Johnny Petraglia address the those who attended — specifically, the young people in the audience — the Staten Island Bowling Hall of Fame dinner a couple of months back.
January 2016 – Suggested Resolutions for 2016
What kind of sports year will 2016 be for our children (and grandchildren)? We hope it’s one in which they improve at their favorite sports, become more fit, make new friends and, most of all, have lots of fun.
Here are a few suggested New Year’s resolutions that can help us make it a great sports year for all of our kids.
December 2015 – Making Youth Sports “Click”
Technology has changed our lives in countless ways — including the ways in which we manage our children’s youth sports activities.
November 2015 – Major League Blunders
Baseball used to be our country’s National Pastime. It was a game passed down through the generations — parents to children. Following Major League Baseball, either on the ballpark or TV or on the radio, was a family event. Especially during the postseason.
October 2015 – On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!
Staten Island athletes are expected to be off and running with a vengeance in the not too distant future, as the long-awaited opening of the state-of-the-art indoor track and field facility at Ocean Breeze Park is expected to take place this month.
September 2015 – Balancing Work and Sports
September means it’s back to the books for children across Staten Island. And while that might mean less time for play than during the summer, it shouldn’t mean no play.
August 2015 – The ‘Travel’ Commitment
Your child tells you she wants to try out for a travel sports team. Before saying yes, it’s important that you realize just what you are getting yourself into.
July 2015 – Advice from the Heart
Curtis High School’s Miles Kirkland-Thomas wasn’t the first Staten Island football player to tragically die on an athletic field after collapsing at practice last September. But folks from the Protecting One Young Heart At A Time Foundation are trying to make sure a similar hardship doesn’t befall any of our young athletes in the future.
June 2015 – The “Rudy” Way
The film “Rudy” — about an undersized, academically challenged young man who, against all odds, realizes his dream of playing football for the University of Notre Dame — is recognized as one of the top sports movies ever.
May 2015 – A Family That Runs Together
Chre Genao and her three kids are on the run a lot. Literally.In fact, you never know when you might see Chre with 10-year-old Victoria, 8-year-old Dominic and 6-year-old Sabrina jogging around their Bulls Head neighborhood or at road races both on Staten Island, the other boroughs or out of state.
April 2015 – Adults Cheat and Kids Suffer!
Little League season gets underway across Staten Island this month and, if you have a child registered in one of the borough’s leagues, you might want to ask: Are all of the players in our league from within the correct boundaries?
March 2015: Bundle Up – It’s Spring!
Ready it not, your children are about to begin heading outside to begin their spring sports seasons. I say ready or not, because the weather in these parts this time of year is not always conducive to playing outdoor sports — and often is even less conducive to watching.
February 2015: Open Bowling – For Family Fun and Fitness
It’s February, and if cabin fever hasn’t set in by now, you’re probably reading this from a warmer climate.The problem with winter in the Northeast for many — at least if you prefer any outdoor sport but skiing — is that the bats, balls, rackets, clubs and cleats most likely remain in the closet. But if you’re itchin’ for some exercise and fun with your family, you should try open bowling.
January 2015: Teddy Atlas III Blazing His Own Trail in NFL
The little boy and his dad crossed the street from their Sunnyside home nearly every afternoon and headed for the park, the dad toting a large duffle bag filled with all types of sports equipment.
December 2014: You Can Go Home Again
It’s taken nearly 40 years, but Gela Mikalauskas finally has “the only job (she’s) ever wanted.”
When she graduated from Kean College in 1977, she returned to her alma mater, Moore Catholic High School in Graniteville, and asked Fr. Thomas Bergin, the principal at the time, if there were any openings for teachers.
November 2014: Giving Rugby a Try
“Well-played, ladies!” A coach on the sidelines shouted the compliment, but it didn’t seem to fit. The “well-played” part, yes. But when some of the players need to wear what looks like a wrestler’s helmet to avoid the possibility of having an ear ripped off, well, the action didn’t seem very “ladylike,” at least in the traditional sense. (continue reading here)
October 2014: Moving On After Tragedy
Some 30 members of the Curtis High School football program together in the two rooms on the second floor of Celina Simmons-Shannon’s home in Port Richmond on the night of Sept. 1, doing pretty much what average teenage boys often do: playing video games and watching TV. The difference, Simmons-Shannon said, was the relative silence. (continue reading here)
September 2014: Mets’ Curtis Granderson a Product of Good Parenting
Your young athlete will have many influences during his or her sports career — coaches, teammates, opponents, officials, other parents, to name a few. But you, the parent, will have the most significant sway in what your child does on and off the field. Which means that the parents of the Mets’ Curtis Granderson did a phenomenal job. Granderson is a pretty good ballplayer. He’s a three-time All Star who hit more than 40 home runs as a Yankee in 2011 and 2012. The Mets signed him to a four-year contract last December and he’s responded with a decent year as their right-fielder. But his numbers on the baseball field hardly tell the full story. (continue reading here)
August 2014: Eating for Competing
I don’t know about you, but in my house our kids’ sports schedules have often wreaked havoc with any efforts to eat healthy. Traveling long distances to games, playing multiple games on the same day, weekend-long tournaments, games during the school year — it’s a combination that lends itself to haphazard food plans. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are often afterthoughts; something you grab on the go, or at the park’s snack stand. And it doesn’t always lead to the best choices. (continue reading here)
July 2014: Flag Football Scores Big on Staten Island
What’s the fastest-growing youth sport on Staten Island? If you said anything but flag football, you’d be wrong. In less than 10 years, it has gone from virtually zero participation to some 3,000 boys and girls playing the sport in this borough. And the high schools have caught on too, as the Public Schools Athletic League started a league in the spring for girls. (continue reading here)
June 2014: What You Say Speaks Volumes
Kathy Barrett has witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly in parents during her days as a coach, mother, and grandmother of young athletes. And, as a school psychologist at two Staten Island public schools, she is all too aware of the influence parents’ actions can have on their children. (continue reading here)
May 2014: Parents Should Be Seen And Not Heard
Your child plays on an organized sports team and isn’t getting as much playing time as you hoped or think she should. Or maybe he’d rather be playing a different position. Should you approach the coach about the situation?As someone who has dealt with the issue from both angles, my answer would be (continue reading here)
April 2014: Set a Good Fitness Example
Are you setting a proper fitness example for your child? If your daughter or son is on her or his cell phone, or surfing the Internet, or watching TV instead of being outside running around, riding a bike or playing something with a ball, you may very well be the reason. (continue reading here)
March 2014: Leaving a Lasting Impression
The day after Hurricane Sandy, the Staten Island Little League complex in Dongan Hills seemed to be smack dab in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The place was literally under water. And when that water receded and folks were able to get a good look at the complex, it was littered with debris and destruction that would take several months and lots of help to get back to usable condition. (continue reading here)
February 2014: Being Fit Matters
Our youngest son was a different person when he returned to high school in the fall to start his senior year — and a lot of his closest friends didn’t recognize him. Starting last spring, he put himself on a diet and fitness program that resulted in the extraordinary weight loss of 70 pounds. But the change has had much more than cosmetic benefits. (continue reading here)
January 2014: Enjoying Your Super Bowl Experience
Are you excited that the Super Bowl will take place in our neck of the woods this year for the first time ever?Maybe your favorite team won’t be on the field at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., for the 6:30 p.m. kickoff on Feb. 2. And maybe you weren’t able to secure tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII, and are planning to watch it from the comfort of your living room or a party at a larger location. (That might be just as well, seeing as how the Farmer’s Almanac has predicted a snowstorm for that day.) (continue reading here)
December 2013: Tutoring for Young Athletes
Long before Jeanine Nunez became a star midfielder for the Staten Island Academy varsity soccer team, she was finding her legs for the sport as a 9-year old playing for Holy Child in the Staten Island Youth Soccer League.“She caught on to the game quick,” Jeanine’s dad, Anthony, recalled recently. “After a game, a referee came up to me and said she should play travel.” (continue reading here)
November 2013: Helping Your Student Athlete Find the Right College
If your son or daughter wants to play on a sports team in college, finding the right institution can be a complicated and daunting task.Being on a team can enhance the collegiate experience and, for a skilled and determined few, perhaps launch a career as a professional athlete. (continue reading here)
October 2013: Something Missing This Soccer Season
Jack Hynes was soccer on Staten Island when soccer wasn’t cool.Indeed, long before Pele’s New York Cosmos were attracting 70,000-plus spectators to the old Giants Stadium and prior to the days when thousands of kids were competing in the Staten Island Youth Soccer League, Hynes had put together a world-class career on the pitch, both as a professional and national star. (continue reading here)
August 2013: The Good Ol’ Days
Like most Staten Islanders, I’m in the car a lot. I’m often on Fr. Capodanno Boulevard, Hylan Boulevard and New Dorp Lane. On occasion, I will drive along Lamberts Lane and Victory Boulevard. I pass a lot of parks, see a lot of ball fields and basketball courts. And most of the time, except for the occasional parent and child kicking or throwing a ball around, those parks are pretty much empty. (continue reading here)
July 2013: Tennis, Everyone?
Is your child the next Serena Williams or Novak Djokovic? You might never know unless you introduce him or her to tennis on a public court near you this summer — for free!The CityParks Foundation will once again be sponsoring its tennis program for kids 5 to 16 in the five boroughs this summer at no charge. . . (continue reading here)