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Talk about a win-win: Guides let parents get a clue while kid's teams get money
By Pat Morgan
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 16, 2006

Many parents don't really understand the sports our own children play, especially if we grew up playing slow-pitch softball and our child is obsessed with, say, field hockey. This learning curve, which apparently can include applauding at exactly the wrong time during a game/match/meet, does little to assuage our kids' fears that we are hopelessly out of touch about their lives and clearly were put on the earth only to humiliate and torture them with our stupidity.

Enter Bryan Jones, a former player and coach of high school water polo (don't ask; I have no idea what they actually do), who realized that most parents of water polo players (starting with his own) did not understand even the basics of the game.

So, because he loved his parents and saw an opportunity to exploit their ignorance for marketing purposes, he developed a guide map to his favorite sport, because, as Jones says, "I believe parents who understand and enjoy sports are more likely to attend games and support their children's activities. Sports education can also open communication between parents and their children."

The newly educated water polo parents were so grateful, Jones created guides to 14 additional sports: baseball, basketball, field hockey, football, golf, men's and women's lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming/diving, tennis, track/field, volleyball and wrestling. The foldable, laminated guides fit into a pocket or purse and explain basic rules and strategies, a brief history of the sport, field diagrams, player roles and a glossary of useful terms.

Jones promises his SportSpectator Guides are easy enough to read and comprehend during halftime/intermission/whatever they call the break when nobody is playing the game.

The guides sell for about $5, but don't buy them at Buy them from your kids' teams. Jones sells to teams at a wholesale rate, so resourceful coaches and players can theoretically nab a corporate sponsor to foot the wholesale bill, then raise funds by selling the individual guides to befuddled spectators. (Visit or call 800-355-5129.)

So, while you may look like a clueless tourist clutching a map at your own kid's game, at least you will be a clueless tourist who is supporting the school!

And that's gotta count for something. Right?