ESPN, the Aspen Institute and the Clinton Foundation came together to facilitate a powerful conversation about the role of sports in the lives of children and the health of the nation through a town hall event on the topic, “Kids and Sports.” The program, moderated by Mike Greenberg of ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike, will air on ESPN2 on Sunday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m. President Bill Clinton and NBA All-Star and Olympic Gold Medalist Kobe Bryant will highlight the work of the Aspen Institute Project Play, which convenes leaders to explore potential solutions to the issue that in some U.S. communities just one in five kids play sports.
The town hall also features a panel with U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun, Olympic Gold Medal Sprinter Allyson Felix, MLB All-Star Matt Kemp and former Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker, led by Aspen Institute Sports & Society director and ESPN contributor Tom Farrey. In addition, ESPN commentator and former U.S. Women’s National Soccer team captain Julie Foudy will join Greenberg in a Q&A session with teens and explore their thoughts from a youth perspective.
Join the national conversation at http://es.pn/KidsAndSports and on Feb. 9, at 8 p.m. by following @ESPN, @ESPNMag @AspenInstSports, @ClintonFndn and #KidsandSports on Twitter.
Video, photos, and quotes from ESPN Town Hall: Kids and Sports below:
“Some of my happiest childhood memories are the crazy games of touch football we used to play in a vacant lot behind the town cemetery.”
“A lot of kids are just uncomfortable in schools. Then you play a few games together and they’re not so uncomfortable anymore. It’s a way of belonging. It’s a way of having a common language without having to open your mouth.”
“I will say again, you don’t have to be great at something to be competitive at it. I still remember the only church league basketball game that I was the leading scorer in. I was 16 years old. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the basket I made to be the leading scorer. You think that’s silly. This guy’s been President. It was just one of those magical nights. I was normally a guy that scored two points and I had the widest body so I got in everybody’s way and got rebounds. But on one night I was the leading scorer. It only happened once in my entire life and I still remember it. I might as well have won the NBA championship.”
“You will enjoy your life more if you find some kind of athletic endeavor that you are good at, good enough just to play. You will also do better…In all probability, you’ll do better in school and you’ll do better in relating to other people. It will make you feel better all day, every day, if you do something right now.”
On Italian childhood: “Sports was a universal language. Through playing sports, I was able to make friends. We were able to hang out and have a good time. Through sports, that’s how I learned how to speak the language.”
“There are no shortcuts to success, none. You have to start by learning the fundamentals of what you’re doing and then you work your way up. I think being a part of a team, being an individual thinker, learning how to be a leader and work together as a group to achieve a common goal.”
“I think, too, you should put a time restriction on the television so after a while the TV just becomes a mirror and the kid’s just sitting there at himself, just looking.”
“I think we have to make it enjoyable for kids to understand that there’s a certain spirit of competition that’s fun. It’s not nasty. It’s not aggressive. It’s just fun competition.”
“Getting into youth sports gave me confidence, that I felt good about who I was and then it gave me confidence to compete in the classroom.”
“I think that’s what kids today have got to realize, is that you can overcome anything if you work at it, that it’s not just going to happen. You have to go out and you have to do something about it.”
“I think it is up to parents, it’s up to adults, to teach kids that physical education is very important, not just for being an athlete.”
“You’ve got to keep the physical education in schools because you have to set a foundation. When you set that foundation at a young age, with a young adult, a young kid, he’s going to grow up with that foundation.”