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Risk or Reward? The Redshirting Gamble
Outside the Lines (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN; 10 a.m. ET, ESPN2)
It’s not unusual for some college athletes to sit out of competition for a year to get more “game ready.” But the practice of redshirting can happen at a much younger age – sometimes before a child even learns how to read. Some parents believe their children can get a leg up on the competition if they are held back a year in school in order to gain a physical advantage. But redshirting detractors warn that parents may be gambling more than they realize. Bob Holtzman reports.
“Take out the athletic part of it. If we say: ‘Oh we repeated 8th grade because he’s struggling in math,’ nobody would have a problem with it; ‘Oh that’s great parenting. You did a great thing for him.’ But, you throw sports into it, now all of the sudden some people have a problem with it.” — Bryon Fields, Sr., redshirted his son (repeated the eighth grade), now a Duke football player
“I wouldn’t base the child’s complete educational development on the likelihood that they’re going to make it, because the greater likelihood is that they’re not.” — Joe Baker, professor of kinesiology and health science, York University, warning parents against redshirting for sports reasons
To one Long Beach, N.Y., wrestler, a coach has become like a father. Seven-year-old Isaiah Bird was born without legs, but that’s not his greatest challenge. Tom Rinaldi reports for SC Featured on the unseen challenges Bird faces and the bond formed between a remarkable boy and a remarkable man.
“He gives me love. I give him love. Coach protects me, and I like when he protects me.” – Isaiah Bird
“He knows that I will never let anything happen to him. I will always be in his life. I can never let him go.” – Miguel Rodriguez, Bird’s coach
Behold the switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, living proof that self-belief can conquer nature’s curse. Chris Jones reports.
“The Professional Baseball Umpire Corp., after consulting with the Major League Baseball rules committee, announced what has become known colloquially as the Venditte Rule: A switch-pitcher has to declare which hand he is going to use first. The rationale was that so much baseball strategy, such as the use of pinch-hitters, had been predicated on opposing managers knowing the pitcher’s hand. Venditte was that calamitous invention that risked erasing a century of history and understanding. Some players change their position by the way they play it; Venditte was trying to change the entire game.” – Chris Jones
“The percentages are always in his favor. As long as he’s in command, the house is always winning.” — Don Schulze, Venditte’s pitching coach with the Nashville Sounds, on pitchers having the advantage facing like-handed batters, even, in some ways, against switch-hitters
FrontRow presented it third piece from its “Beyond The Story” series this week:
espnW writer Kate Fagan and espnW Editor-in-Chief Alison Overholt tell the story of how, on Instagram, former University of Pennsylvania track and field athlete Madison Holleran, who died by suicide, had the ideal life: Star athlete, bright student, beloved friend. But the photos hid the reality of someone struggling to go on.
Mike Lupica, guest host
*Subject to change
E:60 received ESPN’s first Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for its investigative feature “Qatar’s World Cup,” an in-depth look at the preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which won in the International Television category.
The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards celebrate excellence in investigative journalism on a wide spectrum of social justice issues. The 47th Annual RFK Awards will be presented at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on May 21.