Vermont Book Shop & Town Hall Theater Host UP FOR DISCUSSION

The event is on June 11.

By: May. 09, 2024
Vermont Book Shop & Town Hall Theater Host UP FOR DISCUSSION
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Thanks to a grant from Vermont Humanities, Vermont Book Shop (VBS) and Town Hall Theater (THT) will present a new, free, quarterly series designed to spark community conversation. “Up for Discussion” features local experts in their fields, many of whom are
Middlebury College professors, sharing timely topics that span literature, art, film, and
contemporary issues. On Tuesday, June 11 from 5:30-7pm, the third installment of this
salon-style series focuses on “Youth Sports in the Community and Beyond,” with a talk led by Middlebury Athletic Director Erin Quinn, Carol Weston, and author and journalist Alex Wolff.

We can agree that our system of youth sports should serve young athletes first and foremost. But are we falling short? Many of the same debates about emphasis, spectator behavior, age appropriateness, travel teams, and “pay to play" that mark youth sports nationally also take place right here in Addison County. Per the format for “Up for Discussion,” the topic will be introduced by panelists: an athletics professional whose kids participated in rec and school sports in Middlebury; a Mount Abe product who went on to a Hall of Fame ice hockey career and now referees locally; and a veteran sportswriter. Afterward, audience members will gather in small groups to swap perspectives and then share their findings. Whether you’re a parent, a fan, or a young athlete still lacing them up, come join the conversation.

“Participating in sports can give young people the feelings of agency and mastery that offer a glimpse into adulthood—even if youth sports sometimes makes adults act like children,” says Alexander Wolff, the former Sports Illustrated writer who’ll serve on the panel. “I have really high hopes for the appeal of the topic. Anyone who has spent a fall Friday night at Doc Collins Field knows that sports engage Addison County-ites of every stripe. The broader the cross-section of the community we can attract, the more representative the discussion will be,” says Wolff.

About the presenters:

Erin Quinn served on local sports boards and as a youth sports coach while his children went through the Middlebury schools, and he continues to be involved today. A former NCAA Division III championship winning lacrosse coach, he sees the fruits of the youth sports system nationwide in his current role as athletics director at Middlebury College.

Carol Weston starred in ice hockey, soccer, and track at Mount Abe before becoming a lynchpin of UNH’s ECAC powerhouse ice hockey teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s and going on to coach at Cornell. A member of the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame, she interacts regularly with local coaches and athletes as a hockey and soccer official. She lives in Bristol and works at Elderly Services.

During 36 years on staff at Sports Illustrated, Alexander Wolff reported often on youth sports, writing about such topics as the 10-year-old athlete, abusive coaching, and the decline of the three-sport star. He lives in Cornwall and watched his children play basketball, field hockey, lacrosse and field hockey in the ACSD.

Other talks in this quarterly Tuesday evening series include:

October 8: Living Deliberately: What Thoreau Means Today by Dan Brayton &
Rebecca Gould

Each 30-minute presentation will be followed by a roundtable discussion and sharing of thoughts and ideas. Up for Discussion is free, but registration is required, as space is limited.



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