Tag Archives: student-athletes

Young Athletes Get In The Zone

Peer pressure is a dangerous thing.  And it’s everywhere a kid turns — including, these days, the internet.

Andy Moss thinks that’s a good thing.

At least, it can be.

Andy Moss

He envisions an online social networking site where student-athletes can help each other.  Positive peer pressure, he says, can provide both mentors and mentees with role models, solutions to problems on and off the field — and prizes.

Now he’s put his pixels where his mouth is.

ESMZone.com went live last week.  Although he spent 17 years with Microsoft — launching new businesses, tracking digital media and working with social media — the Westport resident was as excited as a kid on baseball’s Opening Day.

The ESMZone concept is this:  Young athletes sign up, then fill out a profile indicating their athletic and academic interests.  They can ask or answer questions — about sports, school or anything else.  There is a “like” button for questions and answers.  (No “dislike” — that’s too negative.)

Points are awarded for “likes.”  At the end of each sports “season” (fall, winter, spring), the winners in 3 age groups (7th-8th grades, 9-10, 11-12) earn rewards.   They could include a VIP pass to a pro football training camp, gift certificates to a sports store, even textbooks for college.

There are 2 ways to ask questions:  public and private.  Topics range from finding the best cleats and the difference between NCAA Divisions I, II and III, to help with algebra homework.

Of course, Moss admits, “You never know what will happen.  We don’t encourage or discourage anything.  We just create an environment where people feel comfortable — and have fun.”

Fun is nice.  But how will someone show Moss the money?

The site will including advertising and sponsorships.  Eventually, Moss says, there will be an annual user subscription fee.  He’s talking with Westport groups like the  WSAPAL and Gridiron Club — offering a 10% donation for every registered athlete.

But for now, ESMZone.com is free.  And “06880” readers are invited to click here, then register using a special code:  woog2010-1.

33 Scholars — And Athletes

How come ice hockey is the only sport in which fighting is allowed?

What was the most challenging call you’ve ever been on as an EMT?

Your favorite school subjects are physics and English.  Is there any connection between the two?

Those are not typical things heard at a sports banquet.  Then again, Staples’ Scholar-Athlete dinner is not a typical sports banquet.

The event — this year’s 8th annual is set for Sunday, June 7 (Continental Manor in Norwalk, 5 p.m.) — is like nothing you’ve ever seen.  One senior from every varsity sport — 33 in all — is honored for academic and athletic excellence.  Then the fun begins.

Staples athletes are well known for also using their heads.

Staples athletes are well known for also using their heads.

Each scholar-athlete is asked one question.  It can be about his or her sports career, academic interests or extracurricular activities.

It’s not about “nailing” the scholar-athletes, or making them uncomfortable.  The idea is to show off their spectacular range of talents, tremendous accomplishments — and poise.

Past attendees have called Staples’ Scholar-Athlete banquet the most intriguing dinner they’ve been to.  They’re awed by the young men and women — and entertained, educated and inspired by their responses.

They can’t believe the event passes so quickly.  It’s over before the sun sets.

There’s not a lot of hemming and hawing.  The 33 teenagers can think on their feet.  That’s why they’re scholars — and athletes.

You’re playing football at Yale next year.  What’s the best thing about Ivy League athletics — and the worst?

You overcame diabetes.  How did you do it?

Besides water polo, you love your music courses.  If you had to write a song about your team, what would you say?

[The public is encouraged to attend.  Click here for ticket information.)