Message-from-the-Director

Message from the Director

I just went to see my 6-year-old grandchild play soccer. What an experience that was! Anyway, I looked around the various fields where hundreds of young kids were playing soccer games. And I really felt good, because this is good physical activity. Imagine it. For a football team, only 11 guys make first team, and the rest sit down and watch – not to mention the girls. It's kind of that way with most team sports: for baseball 9 guys or gals are on the field at any one time and, let's face it, it is only the good players who get to play. And, yes, with soccer only a few are on the field at any one time, but everybody gets to play and, when they play, they are running all over the place. And that's what I realized is wonderful about soccer: Everybody can play – boys and girls, little ones and big ones, talented and not so talented ones.
Well, I made another observation that really struck me. There were dads and brothers and male coaches (female coaches, too), but I thought it was important that there were males there. So, what is this "soccer mom" thing? Why don't we talk about "soccer dad," too? The lesson here is that everybody in the family can be out there on that field. Of course, if I tried to do what those 6-year olds were doing, I would probably have a heart attack. But, I can get out there and cheer and walk around and DO SOMETHING. For those of you reading this, encouragement to all family members to get outdoors and DO SOMETHING is a good thing. And maybe throw in a little soccer while you're at it.
Wait, I'm not done yet. I started thinking about these phrases in American life that we are so used to that seem to define who we are. What is this "All-American male" thing? Why can't we have an "All-American" female? And if we had an All-American female, what picture would we conjure up? Probably somebody young and fit with shining teeth who wears a size 5 dress? I don't think so. I rather think that the All-American female would be someone like you and me – maybe with a few modifications so we can be our best selves. We eat well – let's eat healthy and well. We walk around on our own two feet – let's walk around more. We smile – let's smile more. Oh, and don't forget soccer!

Carolyn C. Johnson, PhD, FAAHB
Director, Tulane Prevention Research Center
Click here to read Dr. Johnson’s bio

Topics:   physical activity , running , childhood obesity

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