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Facebook ads and too many practices
eli cranor
Syndicated sports columnist Eli Cranor

Dear Athletic Support: My son saw a Facebook ad for this basketball training tool that I think is ridiculous. It’s basically just a plastic hand attached to an elastic band. The hand covers the players face, simulating a defender, I guess? When he showed me the ad, I literally laughed out loud. I thought it was a joke, but my son was serious. He really thinks this will improve his game. What do you think?

—  Give Me a Hand


Dear Hand: Take your son’s interest in this strange product as a good sign. He’s interested in basketball. He’s invested enough that the Facebook algorithms are showing him b-ball-themed advertisements!

Granted, this product does sound weird. A plastic hand in your face? What’s the point of that?

Regardless, I’d still urge you to consider purchasing this product for him. And, no, I’m not crazy. It’s just that you want to support your son’s interest. You want to stoke his flame, so to speak. As long as it’s not too expensive, I’d go ahead and pull the trigger.


Dear Athletic Support: I’m tired. Just plain old exhausted. We’ve been doing travel-league baseball all summer, and now football is already starting up again. I have three sons, ranging in ages from seventh grade to a sophomore in high school. All three of them play baseball and football. I really feel like I’m about to give out. My husband works on oil rigs and is gone for long periods of time. He’s super supportive when he’s here and helps out a lot — he’s just not home all that often. With football already upon us, I’m not sure I can keep going at this pace. Do you have any ideas about how I could lighten my load? I don’t want to ask any of my sons to quit football, but I’m not sure how I’m going to get them all to the different practices and games coming up this fall.

 —  Worn Plumb Out


Dear Worn: No, you don’t want to ask your sons to quit football. With your husband’s work schedule, I’m guessing your sons’ coaches provide strong male role models for your boys. So let’s take that option completely off the table.

What you can do, however, is ask for help.

I’m guessing you have a few friends on each of your sons’ teams. Maybe your boys are friends with these parents’ kids? If so, that’ll make this even easier. I’m talking about a carpool! 

What I would do is set up a schedule with the other parents for the remaining summer practices. Work it so each of you only have to take the boys a couple times a week. Since you have three sons, maybe you could work out a deal like this for each of them. 

If you play your cards right, you might even have a day where you don’t have to drive anyone to practice. How’s that sound? 

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Send questions for “Athletic Support” to 

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