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No right answer
eli cranor
Syndicated sports columnist Eli Cranor

Dear Athletic Support: Last week, all high school sports in our town got shut down. But my kid’s nine-year-old team is still playing in a tournament this weekend. I just don’t get it. How come we’re still playing but the big kids aren’t? — Confused

 Dear Confused: I’m guessing the high school sports were shut down due to positive COVID tests. Just because a varsity athlete tested positive, doesn’t mean every baseball diamond in your town is currently infested with COVID. 

 If you’re not comfortable with your child playing in the tournament this weekend, keep him at home. With the start of school just around the corner, parents will soon be faced with many similar (and extremely hard) decisions.  

 In the end, every parent will have to decide what is best for their child in each particular situation. There is no right answer, there’s only the answer that works for you.

 Dear Athletic Support: My daughter is an AAU basketball player. We’ve been to a number or tournaments over the summer, and there’s one particular referee that keeps giving us problems. I don’t have issues with the calls he’s making. It’s his style that bothers me. He’s very brash. Sometimes, he even points at the girls when he calls a foul and says things like, “You know you did it!” I can tell this upsets my daughter. She never seems to play as well in the games he’s reffing. Is there some way we could get this referee removed from the tournaments? —  Ref Problems

 Dear Ref Problems: Probably not. Instead, use this as a chance to teach your daughter about adversity. There will always be loudmouths. Sometimes, they’ll even be in charge. Luckily, this loudmouth is just the referee of a youth-league basketball game. 

 Have a talk with your daughter about the situation before her next game. Tell her to ignore the ref’s over-the-top antics and focus only on what she can control. If she can learn this lesson now, it’ll go a long way.


Dear Athletic Support: My son has played on the same travel-league baseball team for the last three years. During that time, we’ve taken one of his teammates to almost every tournament. In some ways, it feels like this boy is a part of our family, especially during baseball season. This year, though, things are different. His parents didn’t want him traveling with us to the tournaments due to COVID. The season’s almost over anyway, but this has been bubbling up inside me all summer. This young man is one of our best players. I just don’t think it’s fair for him! — Mom Van

 Dear Mom Van: Even if you’ve spent the last few years toting this boy all around the state, paying for his meals and his hotel rooms — you’re still not his mother. As much as you might care for him, you simply don’t get to make the final call when it comes to his safety. Keep doing what you’ve been doing and stay out of it. 


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

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