January 19, 2010 // Franchising.com // Brandon, FL - With recent national news and tabloid gossip swirling around the scandals of Tiger Woods to Gilbert Arenas and Mark McGwire, young sports fans have become over-exposed to the misconduct of once idolized professional athletes. i9 Sports, the world's first and fastest-growing youth sports franchise with nearly 300,000 members in 750 communities across the country, is helping parents address these issues when their children.
Unlike many youth sports leagues in the U.S., i9 Sports places a strong focus on sportsmanship, fair-play and self-esteem building among young athletes ages 4 to 14 year-old. In each i9 Sports league across the country, Program Directors and coaches aim to help children succeed in life through sports.
"It is important for parents to have an open dialogue with their children about the great accomplishment, as well as the bad decisions that are made by the athletes they look up to," said i9 Sports' President Brian Sanders. "It allows the child to understand the consequences of their admired athlete's actions, but it also gives parents the opportunity to discuss ways to deal with tough life decisions and better alternatives to certain situations."
Sanders offers parents the following tips when discussing an athlete's controversial actions with their children:
Help your child separate an athlete's physical abilities from their character. This will help the child understand how their favorite sports star can be so gifted athletically, but also make bad personal decisions.
Be sure to highlight the punishment and consequences that come from an athlete's poor decision. Whether that means suspension from their league, going to jail or even going through a very public divorce, explain that athletes are subjected to consequences for their actions, just like everyone else.
Don't try to shelter your children from the news that their favorite athlete has not lived up to the "hero" status they have been given. With television, the internet and radio, there are plenty of ways for children to hear about these types of incidents. It is important for parents to bring up the issue so they can explain the situation and separate fact from fiction.
Since the child looks up to the athlete, allow them to make judgment themselves. Do not force your child to agree with your judgments. It is important for them to see the right and wrong in a situation on their own. This will allow you to discuss the issue on another level with your child.
Founded in 2003 by Frank V. Fiume, i9 Sports is the world's first and fastest-growing youth sports franchise, offering flag football, basketball, soccer, cheerleading, and other sports for kids ages 4 to 14. i9 Sports leagues put an emphasis on having fun and not on winning. With nearly 300,000 members in 750 communities, i9 Sports is planning an international expansion in 2010. The Franchise Business Review named i9 Sports the #1 mid-size franchise for 2008 and the #1 Sports, Recreation and Fitness franchise two years in a row. Entrepreneur Magazine recently ranked i9 Sports as the 15th Top New Franchise in America. Most recently, i9 sports was featured as an AllBusiness AllStar Franchise among the top 300 franchises in the country.