On PBS (Check local listings)

A half hour special from In the Mix, the award winning PBS series

Sports: Get In The Game! emphasizes the importance of being involved in athletics by stressing its positive influence on teens.

How valuable is sports participation to a teenager? Research by educators and experts has proven that it has the power to combat drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and the high school dropout rate. During its five years on the air, In the Mix has heard from teens who value involvement in sports because it can provide contact with caring adults, a safe haven from the streets, a reason to rise above peer pressure, a way to stay in shape, and can promote increased self-esteem.

In light of these benefits, it is unfortunate that many teens, especially girls and those who are not top athletes, drop out of sports activities in middle school, just when sports could provide a positive focus in their lives. Young people who are not top athletes need to see that they too can use sports as a "leg up" and a way out.

In this special, co-hosted by young NBA star Stephon Marbury, In the Mix will explore a variety of team and individual sports, illustrate how sports can provide a positive role in teenagers' lives regardless of skill level, and show where and how teens can get involved. As one of the teens in this show states: "I think there's an athlete in everybody, you just have to find it."

How to Use this Program:

Research by RMC Research on earlier In The Mix specials has shown that these programs engage the interest of teenagers; deliver important information in compelling, age-appropriate ways; catalyze discussion on important issues; promote critical thinking, problem-solving, positive personal and interpersonal actions and a greater sense of self-efficacy among teens. While each section in this special will generate compelling discussion about specific topics, we recommend that you show the entire special in one sitting and then revisit each section followed by discussion. The aim is to encourage thought and allow teens to generate their own creative solutions.

Did you know?

Sports: Get In The Game! contains four major segments and several short profiles, along with introductions and commentary by In the Mix reporters and basketball star Stephon Marbury of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

This Discussion Guide is divided into the following sections:

Stephon Marbury, Mark Messier, and Amy Van Dyken

Watermelon Ball

IVY League Softball

Runners Club

Profiles: Double Dutch, Inline Skating, and Windsurfing


Selected Sports Participation Resources

For information about In the Mix, including show descriptions and schedules, please continue to explore this Web site, or e-mail us at

Note: Videotape copies of the program can be ordered by visiting or calling (800) 597-9448.

Other videos of interest to grades 7-12 are available on topics including: Drug Abuse, Teen Immigrants, Gun Violence, Depression and Suicide, Computer Literacy and Careers, Self-Image and the Media, Smoking Prevention, Media Literacy, Activism, Alcohol and DWI, Dating Violence, Getting Into College, School to Work Transition, Careers, Relationships, AIDS, and others. For a complete catalog, call: (212) 684-3940 or (800) 597-9448, or write to us at: 114 E. 32 Street, Suite 903, New York, NY 10016, or visit our complete show descriptions.

c 1997 In the Mix. Sports: Get In The Game! is a production of Castle Works Inc. in association with WNET/Channel Thirteen. In the Mix was created by WNYC Radio. This special was funded by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.



NBA star Stephon Marbury, Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken, and ice hockey veteran Mark Messier share their advice on dealing with losing and overcoming obstacles.


What are some of the things that Stephon and Mark do to cope with losing?

Analyze and review your performance; remember your last effort and try to improve on it, but be forward-looking; don't dwell on past losses


What sorts of things should you keep in mind if you begin to feel like you want to quit?

Think about the rewards that sports participation can offer you; recall why you got involved in the first place; deal with the specific problem


Discuss some of the hurdles that Stephon Marbury and Amy Van Dyken had to overcome on the road to athletic success.

Living in a low income neighborhood; exposure to temptations such as drugs and alcohol; health issues such as asthma


Why is it necessary to do well in school in addition to excelling in basketball?

Only a small percentage of athletes actually makes it to the NBA; you need to create other options for yourself


What kinds of factors allowed them to rise above their limitations and achieve success?

Strong parental backing; the knowledge that academics and education are just as essential as athletic skill; having the determination to derive strength from your limitations


Collect information about what it takes to obtain college scholarships in various sports and share it with your class.



Segment Length 4:22

In the Mix visits with teens who created their own sport and succeeded in having it integrated into their high school's intramural athletics program.


What are intramural sports?

Fun, less competitive sports played by teams within a school, as opposed to competition between teams from different schools; intramural programs are less time-consuming and offer teens who might not be varsity caliber athletes the opportunity to explore various sports, as well as improve their skills in a less competitive setting


What are some of the reasons why teenagers might be intimidated by varsity athletics or drop out of athletics altogether?

Too much pressure to excel from coaches, teammates and parents; too competitive; time commitment too great; low self-esteem; gender bias


Is there too much pressure surrounding participation in sports? Where is that pressure coming from?

Pressure from overly competitive coaches; overzealous parents; pressure to commit a lot of time; pressure to excel rather than just enjoy


Break the class into groups and have each invent a fun, new kind of team sport or game that students of all levels can play.


Is there a sport your school doesn't have, but should? Find an advisor and with his/her help see if you can have this sport incorporated into your school's intramural program.


Raise money for your intramural sports team, new uniforms, or equipment by having a bake sale, organizing a car wash or raffle.


Segment Length 5:22

We meet a group of girls who began their own all-girls softball league by enlisting the help of an adult sponsor of an after-school sports program. The league helped them change their lives both in and out of school.


What are some of the reasons why girls often turn away from sports?

Ridicule from boys; lack of opportunities, programs, facilities; lack of encouragement from parents


What led to the creation of the IVY League?

A need for an organized girls league/sports outlet for girls; a need for a place where they can participate in athletics and be accepted


What is it about the IVY League that attracts girls to join?

Everybody's a winner; the goal is not only to teach girls how to play, but also to teach them life skills


What are some of the tough issues that Winnie and the other girls in urban areas had to deal with, both in their lives and their attempts to participate in sports?

Peer pressure; lack of structure in their lives; lack of parental guidance; difficulty in saying "no"; problems in school and with other teenagers


How did the IVY League change Winnie's attitudes, behavior and perception of her surroundings?

She gained patience, leadership skills, respect for others, and realized that she could pursue her dreams


What can you learn from being involved in a team sport, like softball, besides just learning how to play the game?

Respect for others; willingness to cooperate; ability to work as a team; organizational skills


Winnie coaches younger players what are the advantages?

Teens are more likely to relate to their peers who are going through the same experiences


Check with your local community center, Boys and Girls Club, Y's, Police Athletic Leagues, etc. and inquire about the kinds of sports/athletic activities that are available and how you can join. Create a local resource list of activities and costs.


Start your own all girls team! Put up signs around school, and ask your guidance counselor/advisor for help in coaching the team. Better yet, find out from him or her what it takes for you to coach your peers.


Segment Length 3:44

A New York City teacher named Niki Kram creates an after-school running club to provide her students with an alternative to team sports.


What are some of the things that initially discouraged the teens in this segment from getting involved in sports?

Feelings of being non-athletic; the complexity of other sports versus running where you only need a pair of running shoes; the size and strength requirements of some other sports


What are some of the advantages of a sport like running?

Helps you deal with problems/stress in your life; gives you a sense of direction and a reason to avoid drugs; helps you to better schedule your time; makes you less concerned about image; you can do it anywhere, by yourself or with friends; you don't need a lot of extra equipment, just good running shoes; you don't have to be strong or tall


What are some other things you can do to be physically active, if you do not want to play team sports?

Rollerblading; skateboarding; rock climbing; aerobics etc.


5. In the Mix jumps double dutch with a group of girls, hangs out with a pro inline skater, and windsurfs the waves to prove that you don't need to be part of a team to get a physical workout and reap the benefits of athletics.


Where do you think Nikia's enthusiasm for jumping double dutch comes from?

She places more emphasis on having fun than on competitiveness


What does Nikia gain from jumping double dutch?

Confidence; self-esteem; a sense of fulfillment


How does it make her feel?


How can sports help shape your personality, build self-esteem and confidence? How did windsurfing help Steve become more comfortable with himself?

Steve found something that he was good at and pursued it; Steve puts it this way: "When I started windsurfing it kind of took all the pressures off of me to perform in the social arena...I just felt like I had something to live for...that I fit in somewhere and that's how I developed my character."


What kinds of things were Steve's peers experimenting with while he was starting to windsurf?



How does Dion view inline skating?

It's not a job; even though he participates in competitions, he doesn't feel too much pressure since skating is something he loves to do


How has skating affected Dion's life?

It has filled him with passion; it has kept him out of trouble and given him something to strive for


Cedric Dew, coach at the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club, discusses sports benefits and proper coaching.


What are some stereotypes commonly held about coaches?

They are overly competitive and demanding; they only focus on the good players; they favor boys over girls


How do both Rose, the IVY League coach, and Niki Kram break those stereotypes?

They both emphasize that "winning" is not the sole objective; for Rose, teaching teens respect for others and showing them how to cooperate and communicate are equally important; Niki emphasizes the importance of setting goals for yourself and pursuing them


What are some of the things to keep in mind when first getting involved in sports or any type of physical exercise?

Stretch/warm up properly; start small and work your way up; know your limitations


What are some of the characteristics of a good coach?

Among other things, a good coach is someone who exposes youngsters to fun and teamwork and stresses injury prevention by emphasizing control, balance and the development of skills


Arrange a meeting with your coach and ask him or her to conduct a workshop on proper warm-up techniques.


Have a discussion with a coach about the athlete/coach relationship. What are your "rights" as an athlete? And, what can the coach realistically ask of you? Make posters of an "athlete's bill of rights" and hang them in your gym.


National Youth Sports Safety Foundation

Phone: (617) 277-1171

The Foundation provides current information on sports injury prevention and can help you learn to evaluate the quality and safety of youth sports programs; learn about sports organizations and the services they provide; and be informed about guidelines in youth sports participation.

Institute For The Study of Youth Sports

Phone: (517) 353-4563

Provides sport related educational materials and programs for coaches, parents, and administrators. Find them on theWeb at and click on "Research and Service Groups," or call the number listed above.

National Association for Sport and Physical Education

Phone: (800) 231-7193

Disseminates information on sport and physical education to the general public, communities and schools. A "Bill of Rights" for young athletes, as well as a parent/guardian checklist to aid in determining the quality of sport and physical education programs for youth are available.

American Sport Education Program

Phone: (800) 747-5698

ASEP aims to improve the sport experience of youth through courses and workshops for parents, coaches and administrators.

Girls Incorporated

Phone: (212) 689-3700

Offers an extensive three-program series designed to help girls explore cooperative and competitive, individual and team sports, and to encourage them to be strong, smart and bold.

For information on sports programs offered by the organizations listed below, please call the numbers indicated:


Contact their website at "" for information on YWCA programs and locations in your area.


888-333-YMCA (This referral line will be available by mid-December 1997)

The Boys and Girls Clubs of America

(800) 854-CLUB

National Association of Police Athletic Leagues

(561) 844-1823

Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities

(212) 339-7844

For more information on sports activities available in your area, call 800-929-PLAY.


The Role of Sports in Youth Development by Alex Poinsett.

A report of a conference convened by Carnegie Coorperation of New York, March 18, 1996. This report explores the role that sports programs play in promoting academic success, health and fitness, responsible social behaviors, and self-confidence among young people. It includes a discussion on the barriers to participation in sports and takes a look at how these obstacles can be overcome. Additionally, the report contains an extensive list of references and resources. For a copy of this report, write to: Carnegie Cooperation of New York, 437 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022.