Monthly Archives: February 2016


The Dark Side of Sports

Every month, a minimum of 10 new cases of alleged sexual assault or abuse involving athletes or coaches are made public, shocking the communities in which they occur and illuminating a growing threat to our sons and daughters. As a former high school, collegiate, and professional athlete and coach, I was aware of many behaviors that soiled the sports world long before I studied this subject matter formally in my doctoral program. Such observations were not mine alone because many athletes I spoke to, including those I formally interviewed, discussed similar incidents along with their desire to expose these negative practices in order to help “clean-up” the athlete culture. Raising awareness, promoting leadership, and addressing harmful practices in order to prevent or stop them were underlying motives for writing my book, The Dark Side of Sports: Exposing the Sexual Culture of Collegiate and Professional Athletes. The book’s title could have easily included high school athletes as well because every type of sexual deviancy and aggression that flourished at the collegiate and professional levels was also found among high school athletes. This is a strong message for parents who have young athletes as well as daughters that can be victimized by high school level competitors; other athletes learn to become aggressors and perpetrators while playing on certain high school teams and still living in their parents’ houses. While most of this information is certain to shock and provide a wake-up call for those in and outside of the sports world, it also provides an opportunity to prevent and end an array of harmful practices that have been flourishing for decades without attention. For these reasons, I provide important messages not only for athletes, coaches, administrators, and sports enthusiasts, but also for parents of athletes and young women, who are impacted by an array of toxic behaviors beginning in high school. These alarming incidents raise questions about underlying causes and different types of sexual deviancy that silently thrive within insulated athletic teams, starting in high school. As a result, I discuss: Different types of sexual deviancy and aggression flourishing at all levels of sports, which can include: 1). Unbridled promiscuity, cheating, and juggling of females. 2). Group and video voyeurism, homemade pornography, and exhibitionism. 3). Group sex, sexual assault, and gang rape. How athletes target young women…and sometimes each other, and how pedophile coaches target young athletes. This can involve: 1). Elaborate sexual contests and competitions targeting as many young females as possible. 2). Sexualized hazing and initiation practices targeting teammates. 3). Different ways that pedophile coaches groom young athletes for sexually abusive purposes. What parents and coaches need to know about athletes’ sexual behaviors, motives, and consequences. 1). Sexually deviant and aggressive behaviors, including the use of pornography, prostitutes, and strip clubs, can be deeply imbedded and rampant within certain athletic teams and cultures. 2). Sexual deviancy and aggression involve multidimensional factors, including athlete privilege, peer pressure, and alcohol abuse, which converge to enable these practices. 3). Ignoring and/or providing little or no consequences are poor and unacceptable disciplinary practices which essentially give a “green light” for these behaviors not only to continue but to thrive as well. How to prevent deviant practices from gaining a stronghold within athletic teams, while promoting personal and team excellence in the process. This can include: 1). Identifying and discussing the negative practices occurring within different athlete cultures, such as promoting sex in the recruiting process. 2). Encouraging excellence outside of sports in all areas of life and in multiple aspects of the self. 3). Knowing that sports attract sexual offenders means educating athletes about difficult issues such as proper vs. improper touch, safe Internet use, and predator traits, characteristics, and consequences. As a popular form of recreation and entertainment, sports can provide an array of positive experiences that many people and families remember fondly throughout their lives. This makes the task of keeping our sporting environments safe while cleaning up the athletic world one team at a time a very noble and worthwhile pursuit. In order to accomplish this, everyone must work together to protect our athletes and children from predators that use sports as a platform to victimize others. Until these dangers and practices are eliminated completely from the athletic world, this work must continue indefinitely from one generation to the next while extending into other environments that go beyond sports. CREDENTIALS: Nick Pappas, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, is a former collegiate and professional hockey player and coach with a doctorate in Human Development and Family Science with an emphasis in Sociology of Sport from The Ohio State University. This unique background, in combination with experience as a professional counselor, personal and athletic life coach, motivational speaker, and college professor provides Dr. Pappas with a distinct insider perspective highlighted in his groundbreaking book, THE DARK SIDE OF SPORTS: EXPOSING THE SEXUAL CULTURE OF COLLEGIATE AND PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES, the result of interviews with 142 collegiate and professional athletes. Dr. Pappas is available in Michigan and nationwide by arrangement. You can contact him by phone:  (231) 676-4067 (MI); through his website: www.DrNickPappas.com; or via email: nick@drnickpappas.com


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Presidential Politics

By James Alexander Thom, author of the new historical novel, Fire in the Water Presidential politics have always been vicious, slanderous and brutal, and often ridiculous.  This isn't something new. Abraham Lincoln was easy to mock, as a gangly, homely, back-country bumpkin. And he was surely hated and scorned more in his presidential tenure than anyone else was, before or since, because he got into office at this country's cruelest moment, when Americans were eager to kill each other over their beliefs. That hatred cost him his life, in the instant form of a pistol bullet, fired by a man who was deranged by hatred. That bullet killed him as four years of personal agony had not been able to do, although a part of him died every tragic day that he was in the White House. Lincoln was a moody, tortured man, in person. Though he hated war, he spent his entire time in office having to make the decisions that resulted in the deaths and maimings of hundreds of thousands of his fellow Americans. The casualty reports of any given day tormented him almost to despair.  I have pondered on Abe Lincoln for eighty years. Much of my life was shaped by him, even when I didn't yet understand that. I grew up in the Union he gave his life and soul to preserve. Many of my ancestors gave their lives and souls to serve his goals. As a professional writer, I judge Lincoln as the best writer who was ever President of this country, or maybe any country. Shakespeare couldn't have written the Second Inaugural Address better. And as a man who likes and needs to laugh pretty often, I understand that humor is our survival kit in the hardest times. I am sure it was Lincoln's. That tragic, tortured man was a famous joker. Someone once said that while the Confederate women gathered to sew uniforms for the Rebs, Yankee women gathered to make up funny Lincoln stories.  But he made up plenty of his own, often at his own expense. I often envision him as "Abraham winkin'."  Once when a political opponent accused him of being two-faced, Lincoln said, "I leave it to my audience. If I had two faces, would I be wearing this one?" I'm happy that I lived long enough to get around to writing about Lincoln. Fire in the Water is another outstanding historical novel by James Alexander Thom . He doesn't actually appear alive in any scene of my novel, Fire in the Water, but his spirit is the force that drives the book's whole narrative, and inspires the protagonists to stay alive through the hardest hours of their lives. That is my tribute to Abraham Lincoln, who, like me, grew to adulthood in Southern Indiana, and, like me, was born in a log cabin.                                              --James Alexander Thom, novelist James Alexander is the author of Follow the River, Long Knife, From Sea to Shining Sea, Panther in the Sky (for which he won the prestigious Western Writers of America Spur Award for best historical novel), Sign-Talker, The Children of First Man, The Red Heart and Saint Patrick s Battalion. Thom is an inductee of the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. His thoroughly-researched historical novels have sold more than two million copies. He was the inaugural winner of the Indiana Author Award in 2009. Two of his novels were made into television movies, by Hallmark and by Ted Turner. A Marine veteran, Thom lives in rural Owen County with his wife, Dark Rain, with whom he co-authored Warrior Woman. He is now at work on another American Indian novel, and a memoir.


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Valentine’s Day Made Easy

Laura Theodore’s Vegan-Ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet, offers more than 130 delicious, vegan recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, each complete with nutritional analysis. Enhanced by over 200, full-color photographs, each recipe is ranked with an Ease-Factor to make it easy to choose recipes that fit into any busy schedule. Valentine’s Day presents the perfect time to host a festive meal for family and friends. I like to finish the meal with a flourish, by serving a rich tasting, but healthy, chocolaty dessert. (Nothing says Valentine’s Day like chocolate!) Peanut Butter-Chocolate Mousse is a super creamy and delightful mousse that will please the chocolate and peanut butter fans at your table. Piped into small dishes, this is one special treat that is sure to satiate and impress your guests! Bonus: The recipe takes under 10 minutes to put together. Now that’s “Vegan-Ease!” Happy Valentine’s Day!   Peanut Butter-Chocolate Mousse Makes 4 to 6 servings / Ease Factor 1 ½ cup nondairy milk 1 block (14 to 16 ounces) firm regular tofu, drained and cubed 3 heaping tablespoons smooth peanut butter ¼ cup vegan powdered sugar ½ cup vegan dark chocolate chips Heat the nondairy milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming hot but not boiling. Put the tofu, peanut butter and sugar in a blender container, then add the chocolate chips. Pour in the steaming hot nondairy milk and process until completely smooth. Spoon or pipe the mixture into dessert dishes and refrigerate 4 to 24 hours. Serve chilled. Photo Credit: Hannah Kaminsky   There you have it, Valentine's Day made easy with this recipe from the Jazzy Vegetarian, Laura Theodore. Get more delicious vegan recipes from her new cookbook, Vegan-Ease, and check out her website. Follow Laura on Twitter @jazzyvegetarian and like her on Facebook.


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Chorizo Queso Fundido

By Michelle Lee author of Living Luxe Gluten Free  (Salut Studio 2015) A Mexican restaurant in Sedona, Arizona, is so popular that a line to get in often wraps around the building – before the place even opens. One of the big attractions is their queso fundido, which I’ve never stopped thinking about. My recipe pays gluten-free, lactose-free homage to their cheesy, sausage-y masterpiece. Served in a cast-iron skillet, this queso dip is filled with delicious chunks of chorizo, bell pepper, and onion, which go perfectly with corn chips or tortillas. Chorizo Queso Fundido is a perfect treat for Super Bowl snacking with friends (or by yourself), and you don’t even have to wait in line to get it! 1 tsp. canola oil 1 6-inch chorizo link, chopped into ¼-inch chunks 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced 5 oz. lactose-free Monterey Jack, sliced into thin squares (for low-lactose prep, use Manchego Anejo) Smoked paprika 1. Move oven rack to top and preheat oven to 425 degrees. 2. Heat a small cast-iron skillet on stovetop over medium-high heat and add canola oil. When oil is heated, add chorizo and sauté until just browned on the outside, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove chorizo and set aside on a plate. Add green pepper and onion to skillet, and sauté in juices of chorizo until onion is translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. 3. Remove skillet from heat and place onions and pepper on plate with chorizo. Place a small layer of Monterey Jack in the bottom of skillet and top with about a third of the chorizo, pepper, and onion mix. Add another layer of Monterey Jack and repeat process until all ingredients are in skillet. Sprinkle to taste with paprika. 4. Place skillet in oven and bake until Monterey Jack is melted and beginning to bubble and turn brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve in skillet, leaving oven mitt on handle for safety. Scoop dip onto tortilla chips or soft corn tortillas. Serves 4 Effort Mid-level, and worth it. Active Prep15 to 20 minutes Pairing See my Marvaritas recipe Tip: If you’re worried about putting your skillet in the oven, you can use an aluminum pie pan in its place for baking. I recommend using Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Monterey Jack for this recipe. Calories: 180; Total Fat (g): 15; Saturated Fat (g): 2; Cholesterol (mg): 14; Sodium (mg): 320; Potassium (mg): 110; Total Carbohydrate (g): 8; Fiber (g): 4; Sugar (g): 3; Protein (g): 6. Content per serving. Assumes 4 servings. Recipe from Living Luxe Gluten Free (Salut Studio, 2015) Brought to you by CPG News & Information 2016  


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