Dear Athletic Support: My son is an eighth-grade basketball player, which basically means he’s a JV player for the junior high. Anyway, our town just hosted a big, preseason basketball tournament.

My son’s coach made all the junior high players come to the tournament and serve as “managers.” That was his exact term. I didn’t know what it meant, and I still don’t.

All my son literally did was sit on the bench and watch the high school team – along with all the other teams – play basketball. He didn’t even get up and give them water. It was like he wasn’t even there.

This just seemed like a huge waste of time to me. If he had actually done something, then I think I could’ve understood. But this was just so pointless. We could’ve had a great family night, or done anything other than being stuck in that gym for hours on end. If the coach tries to make us do something like this again, I think I’m going to keep my son out of it.

— “Manager”

Dear Manager: Have you asked your son what he thought of the experience?

That would be my first step. Regardless of how it appeared to you, your son might’ve had a blast sitting on the bench, up close and personal with all those varsity players.

Back when I was in middle school, I was a ball boy for the local college football team. Granted, I did have duties to perform, but just being that close to actual college football players was a treat in and of itself.

So, yeah, what seemed pointless to you, might’ve actually been a wonderful experience for your son.

Ask him what he thought about his role as “manager,” and let his response guide your decision making as you move forward.

If he hated it, then I’m sure y’all can find a way to wiggle out next time.

Dear Athletic Support: I jog every weekday morning. I’ve been doing this since my kids were little. My daughter is a teenager now. She doesn’t play any sports, but a few weeks ago, she asked if she could go jogging with me in the mornings. I was so excited I think I scared her off (that’s what my wife says).

Every time I’ve tried to get her up in the morning to go jogging with me, she won’t get up. Any ideas on how to get her up and running?

— Jogging Jake

Dear Jake: If I remember anything about being a teenager, it’s that I absolutely hated getting up in the mornings.

Maybe try asking your daughter if she’d like to run in the afternoons?

If that doesn’t work, give her some space. Teenagers can smell desperation. Hopefully she’ll come back around.

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Send questions for “Athletic Support” to

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