What’s wrong with being elite?

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, March/April 2013.

During my first season as a college basketball coach, I worked with a player named Matt. The head coach nearly cut Matt on the first day of fall workouts, but he was roommates with his #1 recruit, and he looked like a basketball player when he walked in the gym, so he survived. However, he started the season as the 4th-string point guard, and the head coach wanted to redshirt him, as he could not envision him playing. […]

Athletic genius: An argument for the intelligence of athletic gifts

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, May/June 2012.

As a child, my parents emphasized the importance of academics, like most responsible parents. They encouraged my sports participation, but if I had to sacrifice one for the other, it was clear that athletics would be sacrificed for academics. Throughout high school, I was reminded by every adult in my sphere of influence that I was not going to be a professional athlete. The implication was that my G.P.A. was far more important than recreational pursuits. This is a fairly common story, and many of the young children that I coach have been indoctrinated with this belief. We have this idea that G.P.A. equals intelligence and a good future, while playing games is trivial. Athletes rarely are considered intellectual geniuses.  […]