DR. WALLACE: I'm 15 and could use your advice. I'm an excellent student, and my parents are quite proud of me, but not enough to let me go roller-skating once a month with my friends and their parents. My parents say roller-skating rinks are similar to pool halls and bowling alleys and they attract a large number of undesirable individuals who blend in and sometimes cause trouble for the regular people and teens like me who are just there to have fun and get some exercise as a group.
I went with my friend and her mom after school to look at our local roller rink, and it looked pretty nice and clean inside to me. Yes, it was in the afternoon, but I didn't see any shady people hanging around. So how can I now convince my mom and dad to let me skate there with my friends? Don't forget: There will be some parents with us, too. We should be safe, right? Whenever I want to go anywhere, my parents act like Liam Neeson in the movie "Taken." Help! — Overprotected Daughter
OVERPROTECTED: I suggest that you have one of the sets of parents of your friends place a call to your parents to invite them to come along as well. This would give them the opportunity to see for themselves that your local rink has a family-friendly environment. In no way is a skating rink a magnet for undesirable individuals.
It sounds as though your parents don't like to stretch their comfort zone when it comes to letting their daughter participate in social outings and opportunities to spend time in public with close friends. This is one of life's joys. To make the most of this opportunity (and future events you wish to attend), the best chance you have is suggest that your parents come along as chaperones. This is quite normal for a 15-year-old and, hopefully, could allow your parents to become more comfortable with the fact that you are growing up and entering a more social phase of your life. Introducing your parents to your friends and their parents will be a great first step. Good luck!
BASKETBALL IS NO. 1
DR. WALLACE: In terms of number of players, what high school team sports are the most popular? By "popular," I mean which sport has the most teams and players?
I have two brothers. One played football and the other is a basketball player. Each thinks their sport is No. 1. Of course, both of these sports are very popular at the high school level. But many kids start these sports very early in life, just as soon as they are old enough to throw a football or throw a basketball at a hoop and actually hit the rim. Can you settle our sibling debate? — Sister Referee, via email
SISTER REFEREE: According to the National Sporting Goods Association, among team sports, basketball has the most participants (2,036,000), followed by football (1,859,000), baseball (1,381,000) and then volleyball (706,000).
For girls, volleyball (1,614,000) ranked No. 1, followed by softball (957,000), basketball (868,000) and soccer (228,000). I hope this helps, but tell your football-playing brother that most high school football games have slightly more audience attendees than the basketball games do — except in my home state of Indiana!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.