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THE POWER OF SPORTS - connecting team sports with life lessons to aid in the development of our kids

" Sports has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sports can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination" - Nelson Mandela I grew up in West Texas in a small town, Morton Texas, and one of the greatest joys of my life was playing sports. We didn't have a lot of things to do in this area so most of us thrived in athletics, competing at every level in almost every sport. It is what bonded us together as a community. Our graduating classes were small which meant we were a pretty close family and depended on each other. We did everything together from sports, girl scouts, boy scouts, band members, to student council, I mean everything. We were active! and pushed each other to be the best and it didn't matter what our backgrounds were. Sometimes our biggest competitors were our own teammates and classmates but it motivated us to be better and to dream big and it is what helped us win many State Championships. We didn't have cell phones or the Internet so we would meet at the baseball field or the tennis courts or the basketball gyms and play against each other, socialize and talk about our lives and hopes of one day going to college and becoming important people. Sometimes on Sundays as soon as church was over we would go and play on a dirt basketball court with one goal and play in our church clothes like it was a championship game. I remember my Grandfather put a basketball goal in our yard in the driveway and we would have tournaments til night fall in which case we would play by light or a lamp outside. It was not only fun but it connected us, gave us an outlet to express ourselves and grow. Its hard to believe sometimes but we actually supported each other. Yeah we would fight and have our disagreements but in the end when it came down to it we were there for whoever needed us to be when that moment came.

There was POWER in SPORTS. I truly believe that this is one thing our kids today are lacking and its why we see so many obese and depressed children. Kids are now glued to cell phones, IPODS, the Internet, and bad eating habits. It still amazes me when we have camps and I pull out the jump ropes and not one kid in the camp knows how to jump rope! Are you kidding me?!? I say "OK lets do 10 jumping jacks" and they look at me like I'm speaking a foreign tongue. It is a fact that obesity affects over 20% of children and adolescents in the United States today. With this comes health risks that are killing our kids like high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression just to name a few. I do realize there are many factors that contribute to this percentage and there are many things that can be put in place to help turn this rate around through our school systems and governement but my viewpoint is that one of the biggest factors is the lack of exercise and good nutrition. Have you noticed that puberty starts earlier in kids now? This is due to the food they are in-taking that contains animal protein. Michael Greger, M.D. says in his article on that for every gram of animal protein consumed is a 17% increase in the risk of girls starting their periods before age 12. What about the rate of depression in kids today? It is also amazingly high. Many schools have done away with recess which was probably the only activity some kids would get in a given day. Not only does this affect their inability to adapt to social etiquette but it also increases their chances for favoring a serenity lifestyle at young ages and becoming "couch potatoes."

One of the first things I do when starting up our summer camp programs is watch to see how the kids interact with one another. You have some that can play with any kid in the gym, they are talkative, expressive, and energetic. Then there are those who are very quiet and don't know what to do so they sit by themselves, eat by themselves, walk with their heads down, stand at the back of the lines, have no confidence in themselves and are easily irritated by the atmosphere.

I'm thinking, "but you're kids!" You are suppose to be able to just get in a gym and start running and jumping and expressing your energy without being told its OK to do so" ,

Kids don't get to be kids anymore and that saddens me. They are being deprived of the very thing needed in development. Their motor skills are behind because they are emotionally empty, and physically out of balance. This is one of the main reasons we started our program "CELEBRATE YOURSELF" developmental camps for kids using sports and dance as our tools. These camps are unique because:

1. Its open to any kid who would like to attend. We don't single or separate talented athletes from the general public.

2. Its filled with activities that stimulate their minds as well as their love for art, sports, dance, music, writing or whatever their special skills are.

3. We focus on building self-esteem and confidence in each participant.

4. The kids learn about leadership, teamwork, and good sportsmanship, they also learn that its OK to express themselves.

5. They learn different styles of dance with French terminology, basketball fundamentals and how it all applies to life.

6. They learn about nutrition and the importance of eating healthy and how to eat healthy with their current situations.

7. They are given incentives that push them to work hard and work together as a camp! This is why we call it "CELEBRATE YOURSELF" because we focus on developing INDEPENDENT, VICTORIOUS, PEOPLE.

We engage them in physical activity working on coordination, strength, basic technique of specific skills and also invite community professionals to visit and share with them to further inspire them to DREAM! to set goals! and to never ever give up!!!! Its so amazing to watch them grow within a week. The results are remarkable! The kids begin to buy into the idea of fitness and healthy eating habits. They begin to share what they had for breakfast and talk about their lunches and how they feel more energetic by the end of the week. They begin to pick up on skills being taught and start feeling 100% better about themselves. Sports helps kids find a place to fit in. It helps with self-esteem. It gives them something to connect to and people that understand that connection. Everyone wants to be a part of something. Sports puts them in an environment to build lifelong friendships, it teaches them how to interact and it teaches them more about themselves as individuals. Sports gives kids something to look forward to and gives them an outlet to be FREE! its a safe haven to release emotions like anger, and depression. Sports keep them physically active and it keeps their minds in the "learning" zone. They're constantly learning new drills, new plays, new people, new places, new concepts and skills that keep them aware and alert. I recently attended an event in Nice, France - Jeux De La Francophonie-which is an Cultural Olympics for French speaking Countries including activities from sports to photography. I watched at the opening ceremony Countries display so much pride and excitement even though in their homelands there's nothing but chaos and death. For two weeks Countries from around the world who may be at war with each other can connect and unite as a unit all in the name of their passions. Sports has this effect.

Our goal is to connect with School Districts across the Country to partner with and share our programs. There is POWER IN SPORTS! Many organizations and professional teams are also on board with this concept and are making themselves more and more visible in communities with Stay Fit programs. Its needed around the world. Inactive lifestyles and bad eating habits is also prevalent in European Countries. In fact Italy is probably no.1 with child obesity, Kuwait is another whose rates in High blood pressure, Hypertension, diabetes is at an all time high because of fast food eating and not many sports opportunities or the mindset at least that sports is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. We can save our future just by simply getting them involved in team sports and other activities that stimulate them and ignite the desire they have to be active and live healthy lives.

It is a great feeling to watch a smile of a child because he/she just accomplished something huge. You never know how you can inspire and motivate them but man when that SMILE appears, it does wonders. I'm a product of what being involved in team sports can do for you and my goal is to spread that love and passion for sports around the world helping young people "ACQUIRE THE FIRE" putting them in positions to DREAM and reach for those dreams.It was a great pleasure this summer to meet people in the community of Bay City Texas. Judge McDonald shared with the campers the importance of sports and setting goals. Amazing!!! He took time out of his schedule to share with a group of kids because he understands the importance of education, sports, and a healthy lifestyle. He played sports in school and it took him through college but through it all it gave him an outlet to expand his mind and hold the current position he does now as a Judge of Brazoria County.Ms. Mary Wiley of the True Journey Radio Show also shows her support by coming out to share with the kids every camp. She brings a expertise with kids that is untouchable. Her activities are one-of-kind and the kids always love her to death. She is a motivational speaker with a wealth of knowledge in child development and sports psychology.

The goal of Xtreme Heat Sports Management and our program"CELEBRATE YOURSELF" is to create a "hotbed" where we are developing and molding talent to conquer the world and become success stories that will forever live in the hearts of man!

If you would like to get your child or organization involved with one of our Summer camps please contact us for registration for the next sessions of upcoming Summer camps or specialized year-round training sessions.

It will definitely change your life!


Celebrate Yourself The Power of Sports
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