Month: June 2015

Who is to blame for the decline of fatherhood in America?

As we approach Fathers Day, the minds of many Americans will drift to fond memories of dear old dad.Some will appreciate the hard lessons their fathers taught because life has proven his loving firmness was needed, while others will forgive his faults because life has also shown that he was just a man, imperfect and burdened with the challenge of raising children in a difficult world.Sadly, however, an increasing number of Americans are less likely to even remember having a father around the house -- good, bad, or indifferent."The percentage of U.S. births to unmarried women has been increasing steadily since the 1940s and has increased even more markedly in recent years," read a report issued in 2013 by the U.S. Census Bureau.It found that 40-percent of all children born in Alabama in 2011 were to unwed mothers, and nationally the report found that one in four children were being raised by single mothers.Anyone with a large extended family probably isn't surprised by that news. Many of us know children who are being raised by their mothers, or even their grandparents. Many see their fathers regularly. Some see their fathers once and a while, yet a growing few don't even see them at all.Does it really matter? In this age when we're told that families can be made from any sort of arrangement, many would say "no." Others would say that the quality of the time fathers spend with their children is equal to the quantity of time they're around,…

Want to save baseball? Bring back the sandlot

As little boys swing their bats for the final time this season and park leagues go dormant for the summer, there’s been a great deal of talk about how baseball is literally dying in the womb. Kids just aren’t playing the sport as much as they use to. Sportswriters are busy casting blame. “Baseball is struggling to hook kids -- and risks losing fans to other sports,” declared one headline in the Washington Post while another in that newspaper read, “Stealing home: How travel teams are eroding community baseball.”Others sports are to blame? Strike one. There have always been other sports competing with our national past time (especially in Alabama). Besides, data from the National Sporting Goods Association show that participation in all sports is declining.  Travel teams are to blame? Contact, but it’s a foul ball. While specialization from an early age means fewer kids are playing multiple sports, elite players have always been recruited into private clubs. A few decades ago every sawmill and textile mill in the South would field teams comprised of the best high school and park league players around.Still, there’s no arguing with the facts. In a recent Wall Street Journal article headlined “Why Children Are Abandoning Baseball,” sports reporter Brian Costa cited additional data from the National Sporting Goods Association that indicated a 41-percent drop from 2002 to 2013 in the number of baseball players between the ages of 7 and 17. You’re killing me, Smalls. That’s terrible news. Baseball is the one sport in…