Don’t exclude Homeschooled Children

Did you know that Connecticut is one of the 21 states that doesn’t allow homeschooled children to participate in sports and other activities in public schools? There are approximately 1.7 million homeschoolers in the United States ( A House Divided; Homeschool Students on School Sports Teams ), and only 25 states in the U.S. allow homechooled children to play public school sports. At this current time, more than 19 states allow home-schooled children to participate in public school activities ( some with requirements ), while 21 other states only allow children with full enrollment to participate in their activities. The state of Connecticut doesn’t allow any homeschooled children to join and participate in their activities, and this is because Connecticut follows the rules of  the CIAC. The CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference ) says that, “Home schooled students are not eligible to participate on CIAC schools’ interscholastic teams”. Only students that are fully enrolled into the school that is under the rules of the CIAC are allowed to play and do the activities at that school.

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By excluding homeschooled children from participating in public school sports, its discriminating against parent’s  right to educate their children how they see fit. Everyone should have a right to tryout for and if they make, participate in any organization or  athletic team that their  tax paying dollars support. ( Pro/Con; Should Homeschoolers be Allowed To Participate in Public School Sports? ) There are many positive  benefits for children who play on a school-based sports team, this includes weight control, self esteem, social skills, leadership skills and better academic achievements among children who play on sports teams.  Even though children have the opportunity to attend  public schools in the area they live in, some children choose not to  attend them, and this can be because their parents are in  the military and they move around alot, religion reasons, and bullying issues.  I was very disappointed when I found out that in Connecticut the CIAC wouldn’t allow my friend and travel basketball teammate to tryout for the Dodd team.  So, I wrote to my local representatives asking them to create a new  law that would ban the CIAC from discriminating against home schooled children. All in all, if you pay taxes for the school system and you chose to educated you child at home  your children should still be able to participate in your schools team sports and activities.  It would  benefit the homeschooled children and it would make the school team stronger because you never know the next Michael Jordan or Rebecca Lobo might be homeschooled in your town.  


Female ACL Injuries

Each year, the number of female athlete participation grows but, unfortunately, with that growth in participants, there has been an increased number of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries. ACL injuries in female athletes are a problem for women, coaches and the sports medicine community. ACL injuries usually occur without contact from another person and most often occur while the athlete is participating in sports like soccer, basketball, or gymnastics. Over two-thirds of non contact injuries are a result of one-step/stop deceleration, cutting movements, sudden change in direction and landing from a jump with inadequate knee and hip flexion. Female athletes have four to ten times more ACL injuries than male athletes. There are some theories that include differences in anatomy, knee alignment, ligament laxity, muscle strength and conditioning on why there is a higher percentage of injured in women rather than men.

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I personally, am a female soccer player and I have encountered so many girls with ACL tears. I have been in two games where a player tore her ACL and I have watched another girl tear her ACL. Many of these injuries result in surgery and about a year of recovery time before you are cleared to play again. Now that ACL tears have been frequently common, most coaches and athletic trainers focus on muscle strength in the knees to help prevent ACL injuries. I’ve seen girls ignore other knee injuries and continue to play which also can put pressure on your ACL and over time your ACL can tear under the pressure. Knowing and practicing healthy ways of preventing ACL tears will help you in the long run.


Competitive Sports Blog

In an article from the Aspen Institute, it stated that“just over 21 million youth between the ages of 6 to 17 play team sports on a regular basis, with another 5 million engaging on an occasional basis….”  Many of these children enjoy the sport that they participate in, however like most things in this world there are risks, and sometimes we ask are those risks worth it? In 2012 about 1.35 million children sustained sports related injuries.  Is all the pain , boredom, and so much more really what your child deserves all for a sport that in some cases they might not be able to do again?  In addition, the cost of the medical bill can be outrageous.  For example “sprains and strains, fractures, contusions, abrasions and concussions top the list of sports-related ER diagnoses for kids ages 6 to 19 — at a cost of more than $935 million each year…”  Not to mention the long-term effect that these injuries could potentially have.  For example, every year “high school athletes suffer 2 million injures, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year” .  To conclude, parents must ask themselves is the harm really worth the pay off?

I have been a competitive swimmer my entire life and more recently a runner for both the Dodd Cross Country Team as well as Track Team.  However, after recently developing both a shoulder injury which took about 2 and half months to recover due to overuse , and more recently a concussion due to hitting heads with a fellow swimmer; it has forced me to reconsider my decisions as an athlete.  I believe that staying healthy is a wonderful thing that every person young or old should take part in.  Nonetheless there are incredible risks that come along with doing something so often and so intense.  For example, my friend who is a synchronized swimmer had to endure a concussion last year, as well and missed about a months worth of school.  This raises the question what comes first school or sports?  For me the definite answer is school, because that is what I grew up knowing to be the correct decision.  Yet, for some the answer may not be as clear.  I believe that with the right attitude and support from your family, friends, and yourself taking part in a competitive sport is do able but not for everyone.  In fact, my family and I have made the decision to cut back on swimming we made the decision to stop swimming and take on running as my full-time sport due to swim impairing my school work.  In addition competitive sports put strain on families; I go to swimming 4 days a week from 6 pm or 6:30 pm to 8:35 pm our pool is 30 minutes – 45 minutes away on most days I leave my house at 5:30 pm or 6 pm and get home at 9:10 pm. Between, homework and extracurricular activities family time is hard to come by.  To conclude, I believe that everybody should become or stay active, nevertheless there should be boundaries to ensure that nobody gets hurt, school work gets done, and that the athlete spends time with family friends that is my opinion on competitive sports.  What’s your opinion on competitive sports?


Should Schools Stop Assigning Homework?

Of course students would say yes to no homework, but that’s because when they think of homework, they think of time consuming school work that they have to do at home when they can be doing other things. Every day students go home with 2-3 hours of homework and not everyone is able to get it done. This is because of how time-consuming it is. Even when they do have enough time to do it they spend way more time than they needed to. Schools in the U.S have decided to completely ban homework or have a no homework policy because homework itself takes up so much time and also immensely stressful. Most teens have to deal with the pressure of having good grades and making sure all of their homework is done before they can do other things. It’s the main reason why students have stress, so they have to stay up late and lose a lot of sleep just to finish it.

I like the idea of no homework so I do agree with the no homework policies schools are trying, but sometimes it would be better to have a few examples to practice with if I’m not understanding something. I mostly disagree with the overload of homework that we usually get daily. I would rather not understand something and ask my teacher about it the next day, than stress over getting the work done when I’m most likely doing it completely wrong. Most students participate in school sports and because the practices take up a lot of after school time this means that they can’t get all of their homework done. Even extracurriculars take up most of our time. As you can see, homework has become quite a problem for many reasons and will continue to be until a better solution is found.


Dance: Sport or Art


Dance is way people express themselves without having to say a word. Its only you and the music. All you do is listen to the beat and move however you want to. To others though it is more aggressive and competitive. An example of this would be the popular show Dance Moms where girls take part in competitions to win so that to themselves they are the best dancers. Then there are other studios who don’t compete but rather take part in exams to test their technique and knowledge about this activity.  Isn’t that was normal sports do. They are competing, and testing their knowledge and technique in it. For example lets go with football. In football you have to compete against the other team to win, use your knowledge about the sport to get ahead of the game, and your technique to to grab the ball and have the crowd yell “TOUCH DOWN!” Now if dance has everything football has why isn’t is a sport. To the world dance is an art but to any dancer dance is one of the hardest sports known to man.

My opinion on this matter is that dance is both. To me dance is a sport because of the mind set and stamina you need to perform it while keeping a smiling face to make it look easy. Dancing on your toes is probably the hardest thing I have ever done. You are literally putting all your weight onto your big toe. To do that you need strength. Just like in any other sport. But in other sports you do not need to keep smiling and pretending that those 30 fouette turns you’re doing are easy. In other sports you can show the aggression, you can scream, and your can shout. You don’t have to hide anything. For some reason people think “Oh! Dance is just girls in tutus, dancing on there toes.” Well one, there are other forms of dance for example, hip-hop, tap, modern, lyrical, jazz, and others. And yes we do wear tutus but most of the time what were are wearing is blood, sweat, and tears. But we can’t  complain too much because no pain, no gain! The reason I think dance is an art is because of the way we express it. Just like I said before, we don’t talk, we don’t yell, we just dance. We are like paintings that move.  We are graceful, and artistic with the way we present ourselves to the audience. We may not hit  each other, or score a goal, but we do work hard just  as any other athlete. So maybe one day those football players can step into “our pointe shoes” and try a grand jete en tournant, I think they would change their view on dance.


Erin Cox

A little over 2 weeks ago, Erin Cox got a phone call from one of her friends to ask Erin if she could give her a ride home, since the friend was too drunk to drive.  Erin agreed, thinking that she was doing her friend a favor and keeping her out of trouble.  However, just minutes after Miss Cox went inside to find her schoolmate, the police entered and accused some of the group of underage drinking.  Even though the police proved that the honor student (Erin) had not been drinking and had no contact with alcohol or drugs, her school still demoted her from volleyball team captain and benched her for the next five games.  Once she got home, she was devastated, and many of her friends and family members are trying to get the school to reverse its punishment given to an innocent girl.

I think that North Andover High School should revoke Erin’s punishment, because she was just trying to do what was right and help her friend.  The school said that they have a very strict rule on alcohol and drug abuse, but I think if it includes punishing a perfectly innocent girl for trying to help, it’s much too strict.  Would they rather have the drunk friend try to drive and end up killing someone?  Honestly, they should rethink their decision.  After all, aren’t the counselors always telling us to help out our friends and make the right decision, even if it’s persecuted?  They should not ever be the ones making the worse choice, especially when almost everyone who has heard about the situation has agreed with the Cox family.  If you were attempting to do something good and got one of the worst punishments the school could give you as a prize, don’t you think that would be unjustifiable? (Hint: the answer is yes.)


RGIII’s Road To Recovery

Last year Robert Griffin III tore his ACL. It was a devastating injury that was hard for all Redskins fans to hear. But now RGIII has recovered and made it back for the beginning of the 2013 season. First game though he had a bad first half acting timid under pressure and missing passes. It’s also not hard to see that he’s not running like he used to either. Last year before the injury, RGIII was one of the best rushing quarterbacks in the NFL. So my question is will RGIII comeback to be the RGIII all Redskins fans knew and grew to love?

I believe RGIII can make it back to a full recovery. I don’t think it’s going to be very soon though. Without any preseason games he came back timid. But on top of that he, in my eyes, is not fully recovered. RGIII will be back to his full capability by the middle of the season. Yes, I don’t believe he will run like he did until then. I know some people will disagree and say he’s fine now but think about it. First and second game of the season he was not doing what he did last year. He’s running but trying to avoid contact, he’s throwing but off balance. It’s the little things that make a difference of a 5 yard run and a 15 yard run or an incomplete pass and a 20 – 30 yard pass. So my look is that RGIII is not back yet and when he is. You’ll know.

~Michael Sansone

The #1 Sport in the World

My soccer experience began when I was six years old. When I was younger I wasn’t very good at soccer, and I used to not even touch the ball. I would revovle around the ball because I was too afraid to go near it. Nevertheless, I loved running up and down the field with my friends. Now, that I am older my whole point of view on soccer has changed. I still play soccer to hang out with friends, but I am not afraid to touch the ball anymore. It is very entertaining to go out and play games against other towns. Currently, I play on the Cheshire 14U Comp team and we play teams all across Connecticut. I love the feel of walking out onto the field and breathing in the crisp cool air. To me, that is the best feeling in the world. Soccer is not about winning or losing the best thing is to go out on the field and try your hardest.

I encourage people to come join the Cheshire Soccer club because it is fantasic and a whole lot of fun. I have played for the Cheshire Soccer Club for the past eight years. There are many advantages at joining a soccer team. For example, over the past years of my soccer career I had made friends who are older than me as well as younger than me. The Cheshire Soccer Club is a great oppertunity to make friends and to improve on soccer skills. Also, the game of soccer can teach you life lessons. Such having sportmanship on the field and off the field. An example of sportmanship in soccer is shaking the players hands and saying, “Good Game”after the game is over. That is an example of what my team does no matter if we lose or win. In conclusion, the Cheshire Soccer Team has made my life easier in many different ways. I encourage anyone who has an interest in soccer to come and try it because it will change your life.

~Leigha Klem

When is it Too Much?

School, homework, sports, and time for family and friends? Some days this doesn’t even seem possible. Even with great time management skills, there is just not enough time in the day for all of it! Most kids of this generation have a full plate and are being jam packed with activities. Although sports, school, and even homework are all apart of a healthy lifestyle, is it still healthy when kids are up until 2 a.m cramming for a Science test the next day?  So when does it all become too much is the question.

Studies have shown that a “too busy” schedule can cause nervous breakdowns, lack of sleep, anxiety and even worsening grades. Around 90% of kids and teens play in an organized sports team and around 73% are involved in at least one other sport. Although this might not seem like a hard challenge, when is there time for homework?  Per day, an average teen has 6 hours of school, 2-3 hours of homework (not including studying), and a 2 hour sports practice. With all of this, days seem to go by too fast and teens are spending more time in a car driving to a sport or sitting at home doing homework. This rush is causing more fast food stops, less family time, and less time sleeping.

Personally, I think that a majority of kids have too busy schedules and just need time to relax and remember what it’s like to be a kid again. As a swimmer, I am aware of long practices. Our  5 days a week practices range from a 2 hours – 2 hours 45 minutes. On top of a swim practice there is also homework that has to be accomplished and extra curricular activity promises to uphold. This has been a problem for many generations but people always manage. Even though I agree with it being too much, time management and prioritizing can play a major role in evening out a schedule. But when it all seems like it is becoming too much to handle, remember, skipping one practice every now and then is surely understandable.

~Jenna Tubby

Horseback Riding, for the Mind, Body, and Soul

Horseback riding is different than every other sport in many ways.  For one example, in this sport the athlete bonds with the animal they are riding and in many instances, a long partnership is formed.  All horses have different personalities and temperaments that a rider needs to learn and become accustomed to.  Owning a horse or participating in horseback riding takes hard work and dedication. Three important components of horseback riding are bonding, responsibility and being a part of a team.   All people are encouraged to try horseback riding, and, most people who would try would be eager to go back and try again.

 In my opinion, horseback riding it a great stress reliever.  It can easily make someone happy or get into a better mood. After a long day at school or work, the best thing to do is go horseback riding. Also hanging out with your friends at the barn, or your horse, can also make you feel better. The atmosphere of a barn feels peaceful and sweet. In conclusion, I love horseback riding and this sport would be a great thing to try or to carry on with.

~Cayla Keenan