Sports Makes Me Feel Happy
Remember when being a kid meant going outside, finding a friend or two, and playing a game. Any game would do. You know, the old games, like punch ball, kickball, or maybe even wiffle ball. During my childhood, we would challenge friends from other neighborhoods to a game of stickball. Yeah, that’s right, good ol’ fashion stickball! We would draw a square strike target on a wall in our local school yard, and if we couldn’t find a stick to serve as a baseball bat, we would be creative and break apart one of mom’s old broomsticks. And let’s not forget that we would add black electric tape, from the junk drawer, to show which end of the stick to hold on to. Using that long slim stick to try and hit a small pink rubber ball definitely sharpened our skills when we played little league baseball. Yes, those were the days.
As my kids grew up, I would think back to those days and challenge them to go outside, find a friend and play something, anything! To my delight my son started doing this on his own. It seemed to be his passion to want to play, compete and get dirty. I have always admired his passion for sports and his will to overcome weaknesses through them. I never wanted to impose my love of sports and fitness on any of my children. For me, I prefer a self-imposed interest and from that interest I would follow their lead.
It was a combination of my son’s passion and my community involvement to promote youth sports by sponsoring summer events through my business which lead to the creation of Dewey Does. The concept and symbol of a nine-year-old boy with an extreme love for sports to help promote the value of sports, fitness and being active became a passion for me.
According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, since the late 1970’s children have lost 12 hours per week in school recess. This is a 25% decrease in play time and 50% decrease in outside activities. A Harvard study, in The Journal of School Health, entitled, “Healthier students make better learners,” indicated that recess time isn’t just about playing outside; recess builds friendships, develops social and communication skills, reduces obesity and leads to better results in the classroom. In fact, having a healthy outlet for outside activities is instrumental in childhood development.
The Dewey Does character seeks to inspire and encourage youth to read, get out and play, get involved in sports and activities. One story that comes to mind is of a 7-year-old boy, named Ernie who attended a Health Fair at the P.S. 36 in Staten Island, NY. Our Dewey Does character’s presence made an impact right away as kids were running up giving Dewey Does hugs and high fives, apparently happy to see him again. Ms. Lillian Deluca, Parent Coordinator of P.S. 36 and host for the Health Fair, was excited to have the Dewey Does team back at the school’s annual event to represent child health concerns.
What made this event an even greater success was the “Dewey Does Fitness Dash”. The kids lined up one after the other, challenging each other to see who would get the most steps in 10 seconds. The challenge became so intense even the parents began joining in and challenging the kids. One parent after the other kept coming back for more. As Dewey Does cheered them on, they were doing better and better and the scores got higher and higher.
Although many participated, there was only one child who touched our heart. He came to the event timid and shy, almost unsure of himself, but after a little encouragement from Dewey Does and the Dewey Does Team, Ernie posted the best score time and time again. Ernie challenged all to beat his top score of 100 steps in 10 seconds. Everyone stepped up to the challenge but Ernie walked away as champion of the “Dewey Does Fitness Dash”. He may still be a little shy, but I think today timid is no longer a part of his personality.
The Dewey Does organization has published three books; First Day, In The Groove, and The Comeback, that inspire children to read and lead, and is currently working on a new book, a MONSTER ate my Sneakers, to be released soon. (Please note: for every purchase of any Dewey Does book 50 cents will be donated to the Dewey Does Foundation, a 501©3 since 2006, to promote youth sports, fitness and fight childhood obesity.)
Look for Dewey Does’ new “Sports Makes Me Feel Happy” vlog, and more at deweydoes.com. Please share your greatest experiences involving sports or related activities. We would especially like to hear about none traditional sports and activities.
Thomas M. Kinslow, Creator & Author
#SportsMakesMeFeelHappy (How does sports make you feel happy?)
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#DewAnything (Impossible is Dewing)