BGSU hopes to Make a Splash with national grant to fund swim lessons

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University’s Department of Recreation and Wellnesswas chosen as one of 85 Make a Splash programs in the United States to receive grant money from the USA Swimming Foundation in early 2019. The awarded money will go toward continued efforts to provide free or reduced-cost swim lessons. The USA Swimming Foundation awarded a total of $507,461 to programs across the country that will provide swim lessons to an estimated 25,000 children. “Receiving this grant creates an amazing opportunity to provide swim lessons to over 60 kids who have never had that opportunity,” said Recreation and Wellness Assistant Director Chris Ballard. “Our program is about providing lessons, but also about teaching kids to be safe in and around the water, and I’m excited to impart swimming and safety skills to new swimmers.” BGSU’s Learn-to-Swim program has been serving the community for 40 years, offering swim lessons for all people, age six months through adult, and all skill levels, from beginning to advanced, taught by fully certified American Red Cross water safety instructors. The goal of the program is for participants to learn the fundamentals of swimming, the importance of safety and develop a love and passion for the water.? The USA Swimming Foundation vetted 241 applications through a competitive annual review process and chose 85 Make a Splash local partner programs to receive funding, 26 of which are first-time USA Swimming Foundation grant recipients. “It’s an incredible feeling to know that USA Swimming Foundation funding will be used to create a valuable swimming experience for tens of thousands of children who may not have had the opportunity to learn how to swim,” USA Swimming Foundation Executive Director Debbie Hesse said. “We are thrilled with the depth of this year’s Make a Splash local partner applicant pool and we couldn’t be prouder to support these exciting and lifesaving opportunities for children across the country. We owe a tremendous thank you to our partners and donors, who continue to make a difference.” The USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative is a national child-focused water safety campaign, which aims to provide the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim. Through Make a Splash, the USA Swimming Foundation partners with learn-to-swim providers and water safety advocates across the country to provide swimming lessons and educate children and their families on the importance of learning how to swim. The USA Swimming Foundation has invested millions of dollars to provide grants to qualified Make a Splash local partner learn-to-swim programs, to spread national awareness and to bring together strategic partners to end drowning. To date, 7.5 million children have received the lifesaving gift of swim lessons through the USA Swimming Foundation Make a Splash Local Partner network, comprised of 1,000 qualified lesson providers across the nation.

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Parent calls out high school soccer coach for ‘verbally and emotionally abusing our children’

“You’ll notice some teammates from last year aren’t here.  It’s because of their grades.  I don’t want a bunch of dummies playing for me anyway!”  “You losers obviously don’t want it enough.”  “You’re all a bunch a wusses.  Now don’t go telling your parents I said that.” Do you think that this is acceptable “constructive criticism” from a high school soccer coach to the players?   As a parent, would you stand idle if you knew someone was speaking to your child like this on a regular basis?  If your child came to you and explained that they felt bullied and intimidated by their soccer coach but they were too afraid to talk to the soccer coach for fear of retribution, would you feel that it was your responsibility as a parent to approach the soccer coach instead? If you did decide to approach the soccer coach and were met with a raised voice, harsh words and denial, who would you turn to next?  The AD? Administration?  Who do you go to after administration ignores your plea for solutions? This is happening right here in our home town which is a close knit community that lives with a mantra of “Not in our Town.” The soccer coach is verbally and emotionally abusing our children. The soccer coach is being protected by administration while coach continues to victimize our impressionable youth on a regular basis. Parents have raised legitimate concern for seasons now and yet a blind eye keeps being turned.   Our local soccer community has become a hostile and abusive culture.   Our children are being groomed to tolerate being bullied into submission by the adults that are supposed to protect them. A senior student quit the soccer team this year several weeks in because that student felt the only way to defend himself was to walk away. His parents demand for an explanation from the coach, AD and administration went unanswered. One junior that had the nerve to start speaking up for himself and his teammates was abruptly dismissed from the soccer team via a cold and impersonal text message.  “Your attitude and behavior toward your coaches and teammates is not in line with what we are trying to accomplish as a soccer program.  Therefore, you are dismissed from the team and no longer part of BGHS Soccer. Please return your bag and warm up suit to the AD in the morning. – Coach” This junior was previously the JV team captain his freshman and sophomore year.  This role was assigned by his coach because of his positive attitude and strong leadership abilities. Team mates were then told that their fallen mate was dismissed because of his poor attitude toward his coaches and other players.  This student became a martyr to his teammates.  If you challenge the way the coach is treating you or your peers, you will be eliminated.  Our children are being fear mongered into submission. How far does this need to go before the overall philosophy of high school athletics is changed.  How many more young athletes need to be assaulted before someone stands up for the rights of our children? Parents, this is your opportunity to make a change in the current culture and the future culture of our sports programs. LeAnn Frankfather  Bowling Green        

Lifters from Crossfit do well in state competition

From CROSSFIT BOWLING GREEN BG Lifts from  Crossfit  Bowling Green had six  lifters compete recently in the Ohio Weightlifting Championships.  Competing lifters were Colton Barricklow, Spencer Cole, Tim Newman, Nora Castaneda, Emily Barnes-Hanna and Eric Hanna  Ohio Weightlifting Championships is an olympic lifting style weightlifting competition. It involves two main lifts which are the snatch and clean and jerk. The annualcompetition was Sept 22 and 23 in Dayton, Ohio at AKP CrossFit. Six lifters from our barbell team competed and all six placed in their respective age groups and weight classes. Five lifters qualified for the American Open Weightlifting Championships and 4 of our lifters qualified to compete at the National Weightlifting championships Colton ( 9yo 55kg weight class) placed 3rd in the senior division and 2nd in the youth division Spencer ( 20yo 81kg weight class) placed 2nd in the senior division and 1st in the junior division. Qualified for University Nationals and American Open Series Tim ( 50yo 73kg weight class) placed 1st in his age group. Qualified for American Open Series Nora ( 40yo 64kg Weight class) placed 3rd in her age group. Qualified for American Open and Masters Nationals Emily (35yo 55kg weight class) placed 1st in her age group. Qualified for American Open and Masters Nationals Eric (36yo 81kg weight class) placed 1st in his age group. Qualified for American Open and Masters Nationals The team has has several meets upcoming, The Strongest Unicorn October 27-28 held at Project Lift in Hilliard, Ohio and the Arnold Classic the first weekend of March 2019 at the Columbus Expo Center.

Coach Robyn Fralick brings her winning ways to BGSU women’s basketball

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News With the losses piling up over the last few seasons for the women’s basketball team, Bowling Green State University has turned to someone who knows about winning. Robyn Fralick comes from Division II Ashland University where her teams racked up 104 wins in her three seasons as head coach, including a Division II record of 73 wins in a row. In her time there – seven as an assistant coach and three as a head coach – the team won two national championships and was runner-up twice. She wants to bring those winning ways to Bowling Green. Fralick talked about her aspirations for her team Thursday as the speaker at the Chamber of Commerce’s Mid-Year Awards Program. Making the move to Bowling Green was not easy. The Michigan native enjoyed her decade at Ashland. “I feel I grew up there.” Fralick met and married her husband in Ashland, and that’s where their two children were born. But they found in Bowling Green “a community we not only could, but wanted to raise our family.” “We’re very, very excited to be part of the community. We love a place where kids can ride on their bikes and feel safe and comfortable.” At Ashland, she had a mentor in Sue Ramsey, the head coach who hired her. Two of Ramsey’s core beliefs, Fralick said, were: “Take care of people and take care of details. … She lived it out every day. You cannot steal her joy.” Fralick said she also learned from Ramsey to never let how people treat you dictate how you treat them. She carried those lessons with her as she took over as head coach. The 73-win streak was “cool,” she said. “It was less about the number. It was everything about the how and why.” It showed what could be accomplished “when a group of people decide that working hard matters, when a group of people commit every day.” “It’s not about who you’re playing, it’s about playing the game in the right way for 40 minutes.  … When those things are in place good things happen.” She’s hoping to impart those lessons at Bowling Green. One of her core values is toughness. At Ashland her team scored a 100 points a game. “We played really hard and played at a pace that required a level of toughness not every team willing to do.” For the Falcons that’s a change “for them play with that pace and play the right way.” When recruiting “we want to take players who are every-possession players. You can count on them every possession in the game.” She also wants players who will take advantage of what’s available to them at BGSU. Noting that the Stroh Center is open to players 24 hours day, seven days a week, she said if an athlete leaves the school and is not a good player, it’s on them. Fralick said she recently had a conversation that pleased her. The athlete told her that in her first two seasons she was only excited about what she could do. This season she was excited about what the team can do. The players “have an absolute obligation to this community,” Fralick said. She was impressed when 200 people turned out recently for a…

Josh Almanson shares his hoop skills with hometown youngsters

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Josh Almanson was just getting ready to launch his professional career, he decided he wanted to share the skills that had gotten him that far with the kids in his hometown of Bowling Green. So the Josh Almanson Basketball Camp was launched. On Monday the 13th camp gets underway at the Bowling Green Community Center. The camp runs Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day for girls and boys who will be entering grades 2-9. Almanson’s pro career lasted nine years starting and ending in Luxembourg with stops between in Germany, France, and Portugal. But every year, he’d bring home what he’d learned along the way. He’s now a middle school assistant principal in Worthington, a suburb of Columbus, where he also serves as athletic director. Almanson, 36, said the camp taught him lessons as well. It gave him an exposure to working with youngsters that fueled his interest in education. Over the years he’s learned that the campers come in full of energy, and his job is to make sure they expend it before they leave the gym at the end of the day. “You don’t want them to go home with some left in the tank,” he said. Children’s first exposure to basketball often comes from seeing game highlights. He wants to show them what goes into creating those spectacular plays. “What happens when they show up to a tryout and practice? Their exposure may be seeing highlights, this looks completely different.” There’s training in the fundamentals, integrated with a lot of game play. “We have different team competitions or individual competitions. We do a lot of skill work and development. That’s kind of the basis, a lot of skill work and a lot of competition.” The camp draws 60 to 80 kids from all over Northwest Ohio. “They have a good time and meet new people.” Depending on numbers they’ll be broken down into several groups based on age. Some of the students come in with relatively advanced skills and already play in leagues. Others are just starting to learn he sport. Almanson works with them all. “We want kids to learn something about basketball and learn something about themselves and have a good time with it.” He said he’s been fortunate in the coaching help he’s gotten to help with the camp. Some have gone on to coach in college. Almanson did coach the first few years he was a teacher, but can’t now that he’s an administrator. He said he’d like to in the future, especially if he has children involved in sports. Almanson played at Bowling Green High School, and then went to Bowling Green State University to play four years. His time in Europe taught him a lot beyond basketball. He had to adjust a variety of cultures and different people. “I don’t play basketball on a daily basis. I do interact with people on a daily basis. It’s given me a different perspective on how people are operating, and how people are different.” Josh Almanson Basketball Camp costs $100 for each participant. For more information visit:  

Turning the game on its head will give American soccer a leg up in the World Cup

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News As the sporting world turns its gaze toward Russia and the final games of the World Cup, the United States is on the outside looking in. The U.S. Men’s National Team failed to qualify for the tournament at all after a 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago last year. That’s the first time the team missed out on soccer’s biggest showcase since 1990. Yet even then only once did the U.S. advance as far as the quarterfinals. The failure of the men’s team (the women’s team, a dominant force in the world’s game. is another story) has cause plenty of head scratching and advice on how to improve. Most focus on training at the elite levels. Two local men Nathan Richardson and Carlo Celli, both on faculty at Bowling Green State University as well as youth soccer coaches, administrators and parents, have other ideas. Those ideas sprang from their experience here in Bowling Green as well as around the world. Celli is a native of Italy, where he continues to summer, and Richardson’s scholarship has meant stays in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries. The result of their passion for the game and frustrations with its state in the U.S. have resulted in a broad prescription in book form, “Shoeless Soccer: Fixing the System and Winning the World Cup.” The book has garnered attention on Fox News and the authors wrote an opinion piece in USA Today. The epiphany came in Bowling Green. Richardson was leading winter training sessions for Bowling Green Soccer Club players at the Community Center. During one practice, one of the young players’ shoe “exploded.” There was no way to fix it, so rather than exclude the boy, Richardson suggested they all play barefoot. Setting fear of stubbed bruised, even broken, toes aside, the kids played on and Richardson realized being shoeless forced the youngsters to play with more care, and with more technique. No toeing the ball with a bare foot, rather they were forced to have the soft touch every soccer player wants to achieve. They were learning without coaching. Another revelation came, said Richardson, when the younger sister of a player showed up and wanted to participate. Richardson always welcomes other players so he let her join. That meant no drills, just a game. As these sessions continued they used different sized balls, even a tennis ball as a way of emulating kids who sometimes had to make their own out of rags. He observed that the youngsters playing on the hard surface of a basketball court were now learning in the way kids around the world learn to play. Not on lush grass that slows the ball down, not in strictly segregated age groups, not burdened by shin guards or even shoes. Not at games and practices carefully controlled by coaches and monitored by parents. The kids in Spain or Brazil or Italy, play in the street. That’s where they develop the skills and creativity to help them succeed at elite levels, leading to the World Cup. In “Shoeless Soccer,” Celli and Richardson turn the world of American soccer, or football as everyone else calls it, on its head. They write: “Everything will continue to be lost without a transformation in American soccer from a reliance on…

Poetry in motion – Sandra Faulkner explores link between women & running

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Sandra Faulkner wanted to study women runners, she used poetry as well as footnotes. Earlier this year, Faulkner, a professor in the School of Media and Communication, published “Real Women Run: Running as Feminist Embodiment.” The book is deeply personal scholarship. Early on Faulkner traces her own history as a runner, starting when she was 11 years old, growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta. She ran so hard her nose started bleeding. She didn’t notice until she finished the race, and won third place. But she missed the awards ceremony because her mother couldn’t staunch the bleeding. Her life as a runner has been full of small triumphs, injuries, and frustrations – sometimes at the same time. Though Faulkner says she doesn’t race to place, she’s still competitive. After one race she saw that she was fourth in her age group, but she thought there were only four runners in that class. Only later didn’t she learn there were more than that. Her life as a runner is told in brief journal-like entries, and each is paired with a haiku. One reads: “Don’t call us a girl / don’t call us a girl jogger / fierce women running.” The personal stories are “in service critiquing, discovering, uncovering larger social patterns,” she said. They take us up to Sept. 3, 2016, when Faulkner is 44 and has a daughter of her own, who cheers on her mother and herself has started running. “She’s more of a sprinter,” Faulkner said. This was the right time for Faulkner, an ethnographer, to research women and running. She would never have done this as a dissertation. When she used interviews for her dissertation on Sex and Sexuality at Penn State, where she studied interpersonal communication, it was considered unconventional. But when “Real Women Run” was starting, Faulkner had tenure and was taking the next step of applying for promotion to full professor. She had already completed a much cited book on poetic inquiry, “Poetry as Method: Reporting Research through Verse.” “I’m convinced that this book wouldn’t have happened until that exact point.” BGSU, where she’s been on faculty for 11 years, was the place to do it. “BGSU has been a great place for me.,” Faulkner said. “I have felt very supported in my work. I think this is my best work. I feel very satisfied and pleased.” Last fall, she coordinated an international conference on poetic inquiry on campus. It was held in conjunction with the annual Winter Wheat writing conference. She’s collaborating with Abigail Cloud, of the creative writing faculty, on an anthology of poetry of a more political nature. “There’s things that poetry can do that other forms of writing can’t, especially since I was interested in the embodied experience of running,” Faulkner said. Embodied experience with no “false separation between mind and body” is a hot topic in feminist theory. “I think poetry can do that in a way prose cannot. … Poems are all about the line, all about the breath. When done well they can be an embodied experience.” She interviewed 41 women runners at races around the country asking them: what does it feel like when you take a good run? What does it mean to have a bad run?…