Hello readers, and welcome to the Reno News & Review’s 2019 Winter Family Guide. I’ve never considered myself much of an athlete, although I greatly enjoyed my time on my high school’s swim team (go Miners). So, when we decided on “Sports” for the theme of this guide, I had to rely on my journalistic training to put myself in the mindset of someone who is actually, you know, good at them.
In my research, I was introduced to a group of talented senior citizens who are undoubtedly more active than I am, as displayed in the fierce competition of the biannual Reno Tahoe Senior Games. Seniors throughout the Truckee Meadows meet every six months for seasonal tournaments in events like rock climbing and go-cart racing (as well as a few more low-key activities). You can read about my coverage of the games in the story “Golden oldies.”
In the modern age, participation trophies are maligned as the ultimate killer of young ambition and sense of competition. But instead of the usual screed you might hear about the subject in your local internet forum, writer Andrea Heerdt spoke to a sports psychologist about the impact of participation trophies on a child’s psyche in “Right off the bat.”
Finally, critics have said the National Football League’s new emphasis on player safety has led to rules that are stifling the spirit of the game. But with the reality of the long-term risks of concussion becoming clearer every day, many parents have mixed feelings about allowing their children to sign up for the sport. Kris Vagner examined the local impact this issue has on high school players in the story “Running interference on youth football injuries.”
Even as we sit here amid the snowstorms that have left the Sierra Nevada’s “Febru-buried,” Reno’s residents remain active. In researching this guide, I was impressed by how many rec center games, city leagues and private training programs are available in the city. Some of the stories and athletes in these pages have inspired me to shake the dust off after what feels like a long winter’s hibernation, and I hope it does the same for you. Maybe after all this snow melts, I’ll even hop back in the pool and do a few laps. Maybe.
Matt Bieker, special projects editor