Some weeks ago ABC's news program 20/20 completed an expose' on US Swimming and highlighted instances of sexual abuse/molestation by a number of swimming coaches that had taken place. US Swimming has over 30,000 certified coaches, but 36 had been found guilty of transgressions and many of those have found themselves locked up for long sentences because of their behavior. It was an ugly expose' and graphically demonstrated what a small percentage of coaches can do to sully a sport, and more importantly, produce an unsafe environment for children. Their example was an all too familiar example of abuse taking place in other institutions globally.
In US Swimming's defense, they have conducted quality certification programs, and have completed background checking to seek out those who have a history. But they have been told by investigators such as the 20/20 media folks that that was not enough. The reality is that US Swimming is now being pursued by various attorneys who are in turn making a lot of media noise because US Swimming has the deep pocket. I wonder where accountability starts and finishes, but that is not really the point of this. The point is to create a safe environment, and to assure parents that their kids are in that safe environment.
The following information is from the National Center of Safety Initiatives and the statistics are devastating...
- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before age 18.
- Approximately 50% are abused by someone outside of the family whom they know and trust.
- Nearly 70% of child sex offenders have between 1 and 9 victims; at least 20% have 10 to 40 victims.
- An average serial child molester may have as many as 400 victims in their lifetime.
- There are approximately 39 million survivors of sexual abuse in America today.
- Child sexual abuse and molestation is happening everyday in organizations and communities across the globe.
- We must claim responsibility and mobilize collectively to stop harm to children in youth-serving organizations.
Over the past several years, USA Field Hockey has been looking into enhancements to the coaching certification programs, and background checking processes. So this is not new to us. All coaches within USA Field Hockey will soon be receiving information that will provide updated notification of their status within the organization. However, for those members who are in coaching roles and are seeking preliminary information on the changes to the coaches' programming, please contact USA Field Hockey's Laura Darling (email@example.com). This is a topic of prime importance to this organization. We are in the business of providing a safe environment for training and in competition.
Cal Cup approaches. Tom Harris, Billie Ahluwalia, and a host of others are wrapping up preparations for the 39th Annual California Cup, also known as The Cal Cup. It is one of North America's best field hockey tournaments. The Tournament will be held on the campus of Moorpark College near the City of Los Angeles in Southern California from May 28th through May 31st.
The tournament was founded by Tom Harris in 1972. Thirty-nine years after it all started the tournament has grown to include 140 teams playing in thirteen divisions over 4 days. Competition is held for two thousand athletes, young and old alike.
A number of us from USA Field Hockey will be on hand including USA Field Hockey Marketing Director Simon Hoskins, Joe Wagstaffe, USA Field Hockey National Teams Manager, and me. A USA Field Hockey tent will be on site with plenty of give-aways and information regarding the varied programs within the organization.
Additionally, I will be on hand to conduct a Town Hall Meeting on the Moorpark College Campus. It will be held from Noon to 2:00 pm in meeting room ST-1 which can be found opposite the football stadium entrance. I hope you can come! We will be discussing all things USA Field Hockey plus will be dealing with the issues pertinent to the directions the membership would like to see USA Field Hockey pursue.
Do you know Dr. David Higgins? Maybe you don't, but he is famous in the eyes of our USA Field Hockey Women's National Team. David is an orthopedic surgeon from the Bethesda, MA area who devotes literally hundreds of hours in the provision of medical care to our teams while they are traveling internationally or competing in the USA. He works in tandem with USA Field Hockey Team Trainer Jaime Carpenter. His generosity is boundless. During the recent test series event at Washington DC's American University, David and his wife hosted a cook-out at their home for team members, their families, and USA Field Hockey staff. It was meaningful in that it allowed everyone an opportunity to download and relax. Getting away from the intensities of a test series is unbelievably valuable.
Prior to his days with USA Field Hockey, David served several other Olympic sports during Olympic Games and in significant international events. He was a long time team physician for USA Basketball.
David is in what seems to be a cast of thousands of members that regularly volunteer services to this organization. To David, the Golden Girls, and the many others ... thank you.
From the The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: "An 87-year-old woman in Florida was arrested for selling crack cocaine. She was sentenced to two months in jail - or as she calls it "life."
And, from Late Show with David Letterman: "The season finale of "Lost" is coming up. I know how the show ends - their luggage shows up."
Have a great week!
USA Field Hockey