knoxville news
knoxville news
menu 2 knoxville food and restaurants about knoxville daily sun knoxville things to do knoxville advertising entertainment knoxville obituaries rss linkedin twitter facebook contact smoky mountains knoxville legal notices knoxville classifieds travel knoxville sports business lifestyle knoxville daily sun

athletic support by eli cranor

Athletic Support: 7th grade girls basketball woes
January 24, 2021

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Please use the “Contact” page at to send in questions for “Athletic Support.”

Dear Athletic Support: My daughter isn’t very athletic, but she’s on the 7th grade girls’ basketball team this season. Even though she doesn’t get to play much, she’s really having a great time. I’m a little torn. I love sports and played everything growing up. I can already tell my daughter doesn’t have that much of a future in athletics. What I’m saying, it’s not like she’s going to earn a college scholarship. She probably won’t play in high school. Maybe not even junior high. So I guess I’m just wondering how serious I should take this first basketball season. Does that make sense?

— Seriously

Dear Seriously: No, it doesn’t make that much sense. The majority of kids who play sports in seventh grade won’t still be playing by the time they’re seniors in high school. A much smaller percentage will play in college. An even smaller fraction will earn scholarships.

So should she still play? I think that’s what you’re asking, and the answer is —


Sports are good for kids. They get them off the sofa and running around, not thinking about screens or social media. Sports also teach lessons that are not taught in schools.

Over the course of her 7th grade basketball season, your daughter will learn how to win — and lose — gracefully. She’ll learn how to push through physical pain. How to persevere. She’ll also bond with the other girls on her team in ways that are almost impossible outside of athletics. There’s nothing like the camaraderie of a locker room.

Whether your daughter’s a benchwarmer or a future WNBA star, you should approach her athletic endeavors in the same way. Make sure she has fun. Make sure she learns the important life lessons. And let the rest take care of itself.

Dear Athletic Support: I got thrown out of my daughter’s 7th grade basketball game the other night. The B game. We were way up on the team, literally playing the best game we’ve played all year, and the refs just completely quit blowing their whistles. Obvious double dribble. No call. A girl runs it in from the baseline and the refs just give her the ball back. It’s getting close at the end, the other team’s coming back, and I yell, “Come on, ref, blow the whistle!” I did yell it, and I don’t normally yell at the refs in this setting, but come on! They called the athletic director and I was escorted out of the gym. I didn’t get to see the end of the game, but I heard it ended in a tie. Because it’s a B game, there’s no overtime. That’s it. Game over. We played the best game of our season and had it taken from us. Was I in the wrong? I mean, it was a real game. They were actually keeping score, so I don’t think it’s fair for the refs to try and help the other team when they’re down. Do you?

—You Blew It

Dear Blew It: It’s always best to refrain from getting ejected from youth sporting events, especially 7th grade B games. That being said, refs shouldn’t interfere with the outcome, either.

Previous Columns:
Multi-million-dollar buyouts don’t make sense
Private schools have the upper hand
Best of 2020

Athletic Support Columns 2020

Outside of athletics, kids’ brains are also at risk. Who knows what sort of impact virtual learning will have on their cognition and critical thinking skills. In this regard, I offer one simple tool — a good book! And luckily, I know just the book for kids struggling with the shift to virtual learning:


books make brainz taste badOkay, you caught me… I’m the author of this book. It was published last week and awarded a #1 New Release ranking on Amazon. BMBTB deals directly with the same topic covered in this column, except in a much more lighthearted, kid-friendly way (zombie teachers and brain-munching screens!)

If you end up purchasing this book for your children or grandchildren, I only have one final suggestion — ask them to read it while standing up!

Eli Cranor's new book Books Make Brainz Taste Bad has just been released. ZOMBIES HATE BOOKS! Especially the zombie teachers at Haven Middle School. That's why they're using VR headsets to fry kids' brainz. Luckily, Dash Storey knows how to save his classmates from the zombie teachers—BOOKS! They make brainz taste bad!

"Eli Cranor has an almost unbeatable advantage. He can remember how it felt to think like a twelve-year-old and he can see the very same events like the adult he is. Don't try to resist this book!"
- Jack Butler, Pulitzer-Prize nominated author

knoxville daily sun Knoxville Daily Sun
2021 Image Builders
User Agreement | Privacy Policy