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Teen Trend Summay Report - Sports

Sports and Family TraditionsTeens & Sports:  Students share stories about how sports impact family traditions

This is the summary report from the StageofLife.com Teens and Sports national writing prompt and blogging contest. 

  • 7,800+ teens and college students visited the Stage of Life student writing contest page during the month's writing prompt (October 2012) from across the US (all 50 states).
  • 85 student bloggers submitted a qualifying essay to the writing contest (see below links to the all of the sport essays).

Background:  The month of October is the perfect storm for professional sports.  Consider that The World Series is played this month.  The college football, NFL football, NASCAR and NHL hockey seasons are all in full swing, and the NBA basketball season starts at the end of the month.

This led us to wonder how sports (American or International) play a role in forming family traditions (positively or negatively).  Think about your family's relationship with sports...

  • Does your family have a favorite sports team they cheer for?  If so, are there any family traditions that surround supporting the favorite team?
  • Are you or someone in your family a sports junkie?  Why is that?
  • Do your parents emphasize or de-emphasize sports in your family?  Why?
  • Are sports a positive or negative thing in your family household?  Why?
  • What is the first childhood memory you have relating to playing or watching sports?  Is it a good or bad memory?  Why?
  • Do you play sports with immediate members of your family?
  • Do you and one of your parents belong to the same social media group tied to a particular sports team?  For instance:  Moms and daughters that "like" the Purple Ladies Facebook Fan Page for female Ravens fans.  Does cheering for the same team on game day bring you and your family closer together?  What is that experience like?

With the answers to these types of questions in mind, students submitted original, personal essays (500 words or less) answering this month's writing contest question:  How have sports positively (or negatively) shaped traditions in your family?


PART I - TEENS & SPORTS SURVEY RESULTS

Before submitting their essay, teens were asked to complete a survey about their attitude towards sports.

Interesting teen statistics from Stage of Life student sports survey include (see all stats in PDF download)...

  • 88% of students have attended a live, professional sporting event
  • 60% of students have played (or currently play) a high school sport
  • 61% of students say their parents are more into sports than they are
  • 34% of students do not watch professional sports on TV
  • 57% of students play sports outdoors with their family
  • 54% of students describe their grandparents as big sports fans
  • 66.7% of students cheer for the same sports teams as their parents; 21.2% cheer for completely different teams; and 12.1% of teens nor their parents do not cheer for sports teams
  • Teens feel that "doping and drugs" is the biggest problem in sports today (compared to player salaries, behavior/antics, and rules/referees)
  • 27% of teens play in a sports fantasy league
  • 36.4% of teens only watch the game for their one favorite team while 30.3% of teens watch as many sports as they can (12.1% of teens say they don't watch sports at all).  
  • 21% of teens spend $50 - $100 on sports-related items per month
  • 54.5% of teens first became interested in sports during Elementary School.  18.2% identified Toddler-Pre K as the life stage in which they first started to love sports.
  • 63.6% of teens were introduced to sports by their Dads.
  • Teens have made the following sports-related purchases in the last 12 months...
    • Tickets to a game - 36.4%
    • Clothing (hats, jerseys, etc.) - 63.6%
    • Memorabilia (mugs, bobble heads, posters, pillows, etc.) - 27.3
    • Equipment (gloves, pads, balls, etc.) - 42.4%
    • Sports-themed video game - 33.3%
    • Sports mobile app(s) - 18.2%

Teens and SportsPART II - TEENS & SPORTS ESSAY THEMES

After taking the survey, students submitted their sports-themed essays to the StageofLife.com writing contest.  From the qualifying teen essay submissions, several themes and trends emerged about how students feel about sports and the impact its made on family traditions:

  1. Sports are Positive: Teens overwhelmingly agreed that sports and sports traditions are positive influences in their lives. Sports were an excuse for families to hang out with each other and for teens to stay active while having fun.
  2. Sports are Negative: Of course, there were quite a few dissenters: these teens felt that sports either made no impact in their lives or made a negative impact. They questioned why sports were so important and why athletes were glorified.
  3. Sports and Parents: One thing was clear: Sports brought families together—by watching, playing, and discussing with each other. Although most teens rooted for the same teams as their parents, some teens liked their parents or siblings’ team’s competitors! These teens realized that the competition is all in good fun—and nothing is better than spending a few hours with your family for sports nights.
  4. Football: Almost one-quarter of the essays submitted this month were about Football. Football is arguably America’s favorite sport, and these teens were no different in their support and passion for their favorite teams.  Interestingly, we seemed to have a high percentage of Ravens, LSU and Saints fans writing in for this contest.  Go Maryland and Louisiana student writers!

PART III - READ THE SPORTS & FAMILY TRADITION ESSAYS

Immediately below, you'll find links to the StageofLife.com winning essay, our runners-up, semi-finalists and scores of other essays from college students and teenagers about sports and their family traditions.  Please take a few moments to read an essay or two. If you have the time, make a comment on the responses you enjoyed the most.  We know the student writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email notifying them if you comment on their writing contest entry).

Stage of Life writing contest winnerEssay Contest Winners:

  • 1st PLACE:  Sports Traditions: Crossing the Gap by Papples (Although a self-proclaimed nerd, this teen enjoys tennis)
  • 2nd PLACE:  Sports Traditions: It’s More Than a Game, It’s Who You Are by mnadelman (This teen worked up the courage to tell his parents about his girlfriend, but his dad only wanted to know one thing…)
  • 3rd PLACE:  Sports Traditions: Not Daddy’s Little Girl by MikkiB326 (After a lot of tough luck, this teen found one sport she was good at)
  • 4th PLACE:  Sports Traditions: Thanksgiving Day Bickering by tciufo (This teen’s family religiously watches football every Thanksgiving)

Runners-Up (in no particular order):

  1. Sports Traditions: My Lonesome Tradition by NCpollyCA (People don’t expect this teen girl to love the Giants)
  2. Sports Traditions: I Don’t Have to Watch the Sports World, Because I Live in it by Elizabeth (This teen feels weird knowing her sports career may be coming to an end)
  3. Sports Traditions: Not So Sporty by maggie (Her dad tries to get her involved in sports, but she isn’t interested)
  4. Sports Traditions: Bread and Circuses by dhurley424 (It is unfair to glorify sports professionals)
Semi-Finalists (in no particular order):
  1. Sports Traditions: The One-Week Deal by jypark112 (This teen was surprised by his own athletic inclination when he tried out for the basketball team)
  2. Sports Traditions: Cheerleaders at a Rat Race by lnovak (Her family will always cheer her on)
  3. Sports Traditions: My family plays football every summer, if “play” is a loose enough term by mere_z (This teen’s “tribe” of a family gathers every summer and plays football)
  4. Sports Traditions: Fantasy Football Brings Our Family Together by Eli (His family is very busy, but that doesn’t stop them from checking their stats)
  5. Sports Traditions: My Twin Saved Me by eeyoregirl30 (After spending a tough time in the hospital, this teen grew better with her twin watching football)
  6. Sports Traditions: Faust Fanatic by faustta (This teen lives and breathes sports)
  7. Sports Traditions: Couch coaching by NateD (His family is full of Ravens fans)
  8. Sports Traditions: Paintballing by FancyCat (Think before you move)
  9. Sports Traditions: Thanks, Joe-vechkin! by YouAreLoved316 (This teen learned about hockey for her cousin)


All Qualifying Teen Essays - Sports & Family

The essays below were written by Stage of Life teen writers for the October 2012 writing contest and are grouped by sport type:

Badminton

  1. Sports Traditions: Consciously Exercise by donga (This teen defeated her uncle, a great PE teacher)


Baseball

  1. Sports Traditions: My Lonesome Tradition by NCpollyCA (People don’t expect this teen girl to love the Giants)

  2. Sports Traditions: I Grew Up With the Yankees by piannaci (This teen has fond memories of watching the Yankees with Dad)

  3. Sports Traditions: It’s More Than a Game, It’s Who You Are by mnadelman (This teen worked up the courage to tell his parents about his girlfriend, but his dad only wanted to know one thing…)


Basketball

  1. Sports Traditions: The One-Week Deal by jypark112 (This teen was surprised by his own athletic inclination when he tried out for the basketball team)

  2. Sports Traditions: Child’s Play by branbf (Going to sporting events is a privilege)

  3. Sports Traditions: Big, Baggy Basketball Shorts by polecheem (This teen loves staying fit and having fun)

  4. Sports Traditions: I Don’t Have to Watch the Sports World, Because I Live in it by Elizabeth (This teen feels weird knowing her sports career may be coming to an end)


Biking

  1. Sports Traditions: Mountain Biking by Jacob Wozniak (Mountain biking helps him forget about his problems)

Cheerleading

  1. Sports Traditions: Not Daddy’s Little Girl by MikkiB326 (After a lot of tough luck, this teen found one sport she was good at)

Cross Country/Track

  1. Sports Traditions: The oldest child gets to pick the sport that all the kids from the family do by shelbybelby (This teen has a heart condition and hates running, but she feels pressure from her family to keep doing it)

  2. Sports Traditions: Cheerleaders at a Rat Race by lnovak (Her family will always cheer her on)

  3. Sports Traditions: My Fall Tradition by 19895678 (A fictional tale about this teen looking back on his track running years)

Dance

  1. Sports Traditions: Getting excited for the Beginning of the Week by riserthinking (She bonds with her family by watching dancing shows)

Drill Team

  1. Sports Traditions: Drill Team by Charlie1-3 (His sport requires discipline and focus)

Football

  1. Sports Traditions: Make as much noise as possible by Brinagirl2014 (Her family loves cheering on the Nebraska Cornhuskers)

  2. Sports Traditions: My family plays football every summer, if “play” is a loose enough term by mere_z (This teen’s “tribe” of a family gathers every summer and plays football)

  3. Sports Traditions: Thanksgiving Day Bickering by tciufo (This teen’s family religiously watches football every Thanksgiving)

  4. Sports Traditions: A Tradition on its Way Out by Hannah M (While this teen’s family doesn’t have any “real” traditions, her family likes to watch local football on Thanksgiving)

  5. Sports Traditions: Watching the Almighty Giants by York_Corps (Sunday is the ultimate “Family day” in this teen’s house)

  6. Sports Traditions: Fantasy Football Brings Our Family Together by Eli (His family is very busy, but that doesn’t stop them from checking their stats)

  7. Sports Traditions: The Wonderful Feeling of Sports by ashleyareopagita (Her family is divided into Jets and Giants fans)

  8. Sports Traditions: My Twin Saved Me by eeyoregirl30 (After spending a tough time in the hospital, this teen grew better with her twin watching football)

  9. Sports Traditions: Bringing families together by Zulema2014 (Without sports, this teen would have a big hole in her life)

  10. Sports Traditions: I Thought I was Deaf by loganburas (This teen loves sports)

  11. Sports Traditions: How I was Raised up in Sports by warskows (He plays eight man football)

  12. Sports Traditions: Duck Daze by trevor22 (His family are very loyal Oregon Ducks fans)

  13. Sports Traditions: We love football by Riptide410 (Sports affect his family both positively and negatively)

  14. Sports Traditions: Faust Fanatic by faustta (This teen lives and breathes sports)

  15. Sports Traditions: It’s Not Over Till It’s Over by walkerjc (This teen relives a painful moment in Cowboys history)

  16. Sports Traditions: Fantasy Football all day every day by mihiyouth12 (His family plays fantasy football)

  17. Sports Traditions: Who Dat Nation by oliverguice (His family are members of the Saints nation)

  18. Sports Traditions: Watching the Cowboys by Heliyanah (This teen’s family doesn’t argue when the Cowboys are on)

  19. Sports Traditions: Tigers and Me by rmer317 (This teen loves LSU)

  20. Sports Traditions: The Effect in my Life by ed43 (His family is healthy and active)

  21. Sports Traditions: Wild Weekends by mattgall04 (This teen loves watching the Saints with his family)

  22. Sports Traditions: “It’s Football Time in Tennessee” by broadwaybethany (Football is a religion)

  23. Sports Traditions: Couch coaching by NateD (His family is full of Ravens fans)

Gymnastics

  1. Sports Traditions: Making That Touchdown Together by xkaitlinn (This teen is working hard to be competitive in gymnastics)

Hockey

  1. Sports Traditions: Thanks, Joe-vechkin! by YouAreLoved316 (This teen learned about hockey for her cousin)

  2. Sports Traditions: Hockey Bump by jkosacz (The NHL lockout has caused a great depression for this teen’s family)

Multiple Sports

  1. Sports Traditions: A positive impact on my family’s past, present and future by JacobW97 (Sports have always influenced his family)

  2. Sports Traditions: How Sports Changed My Life by smithrj (Sports teach teamwork and determination)

  3. Sports Traditions: Where would I be without sports? by whealy622 (This teen plays soccer and track)

  4. Sports Traditions: We watch the New Orleans Saints play every Sunday as a family by blocicero (Sports improve self-discipline, sportsmanship, and mental toughness)

No Sports/Sports are Negative

  1. Sports Traditions: I wish! by sjluvsu (She wishes that she was into sports sometimes)

  2. Sports Traditions: Zilch by ASDFP0n3 (This teen’s grandpa was an illegal bookie)

  3. Sports Traditions: The new HITLER for my family by aanchal (This teens hates when his family gets distracted by sports)

  4. Sports Traditions: Sports supporting a patriarchal family by era (This teen resents that her family is still “primitive,” no thanks to sports)

  5. Sports Traditions: Bread and Circuses by dhurley424 (It is unfair to glorify sports professionals)

  6. Sports Traditions: Not So Sporty by maggie (Her dad tries to get her involved in sports, but she isn’t interested)

  7. Sports Traditions: Sports Used to be My Life by lauren013599 (“It is kind of sad that people depend on sports”)

  8. Sports Traditions: Not Exactly the Most Important Thing by Josiah_M (This teen prefers guitar to sports, but that doesn’t mean he’s inactive)

Paintball

  1. Sports Traditions: Paintballing by FancyCat (Think before you move)

Skateboarding

  1. Sports Traditions: Longboarding by James Wozniak (He likes to longboard with his family)

Soccer

  1. Sports Traditions: Screaming “Goal” at the Tops of Our Lungs by TAmin1255 (Sports unite families)

  2. Sports Traditions: My Family and Soccer by lora (This teen never misses an Egyptian soccer game)

  3. Sports Traditions: We Drive Our Neighbors Crazy by rportenti (“My family is unlike any other”)

  4. Sports Traditions: Soccer Relinquishes the Turkish in my Family by FatmaSiddique (Soccer is a fundamental custom in her house)

  5. Sports Traditions: Turn on TV: Soccer Again? by ttasnim (This teen loves supporting Brazil)

  6. Sports Traditions: My life of Sports by 12345 (This teen grew up with soccer)

  7. Sports Traditions: Soccer is my life by Nathan (Soccer is his lifestyle)

  8. Sports Traditions: Truly a House Divided by colinr9 (He and his brother support opposite teams)

  9. Sports Traditions: Soccer is a member of the family by Chrisbarn (He and his brother play travel soccer)

  10. Sports Traditions: How Soccer has Affected my Life by nickisolani (This teen loves traveling with his soccer team)

  11. Sports Traditions: An Exciting Soccer Experience by zyggy7l (This teen learned the secret to scoring a goal)

Sports and Health

  1. Sports Traditions: Chips, dip, and ambiance by ab.va98 (Being a sports fan/player is required in her family)

Sports and Parents

  1. Sports Traditions: At Home by sfpearce (Competitiveness is what makes sports fun)

  2. Sports Traditions: Sports Make Us All Champions by krmurphy91 (Her family loves to watch sports together)

  3. Sports Traditions: Who’s going to win? by subwrxdragon (This teen enjoys sports, even though the rest of his family doesn’t)

  4. Sports Traditions: Support for Tying it All by A_Makkar (Sports brought this family together, even if they don’t enjoy the same things)

  5. Sports Traditions: Family Being Family by romeoerik (This family likes to compete against each other)

  6. Sports Traditions: My memory by chohy (This teen has fond memories of playing sports with family)

  7. Sports Traditions: Hoopla in the Hussman Household by HU$$ (His family has several sports traditions)

  8. Sports Traditions: Never missing a game by amercante (His parents encouraged him to participate in a variety of sports)

  9. Sports Traditions: Behnke Bonding by behnkekk (Sports are a stress-free family time)

  10. Sports Traditions by agroe6 (Her family is very busy because of their sports schedules—but they wouldn’t have it any other way)

  11. Sports Traditions: Keeping Families Together by briggs.simpson (Sports teach life lessons)

  12. Sports Traditions: How sports have shaped my family traditions by ams1997 (February 7th, 2009 was a great day in this teen’s life)

  13. Sports Traditions: My Life by mclauglm (This teen was MVP in Volleyball)

  14. Sports Traditions: Family of Sports Junkies by Gio (Believe in yourself and you can do anything)

Swimming

  1. Sports Traditions: How Swimming has brought us together by Tbopskitty1 (This teen wants to swim in college)

Tennis

  1. Sports Traditions: Crossing the Gap by Papples (Although a self-proclaimed nerd, this teen enjoys tennis)

Volleyball

  1. Sports Traditions: That Clumsy Kid by matteulj (This teen falls down… a lot)

Wrestling

  1. Sports Traditions: Flipping the coin by cuttsbyrne (Wrestling makes his parents proud of him)

  2. Sports Traditions: Athlete at Birth by senseidragon (This teen hopes to be a record-winning wrestler)



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