Dear Athletic Support: My grandson struggles mightily with depression. I think getting him involved in organized sports might help, but he’s fighting me every step of the way.

He says there’s absolutely zero chance he’s going out for any sport team his senior year of high school. He used to play baseball when he was younger, and a little basketball too. But that was before he came to live with me. Everything changed then. Try as I might, I just haven’t been able to get him over the hump. Mostly, he just stays inside and stays on his computer. That’s what he wants to do for a job. He’s even been able to make a little money doing something for a programming company. But he’s not happy. Not really. My hope is that if he gets on a team his senior year, then he’ll have exercise already built into his daily routine. That way, when he does graduate, the habit will already be formed. Am I way off track here? Surely, there’s some sport he could get involved in at this later stage of his education that would help. I just want to help him.

— Loving Nana

Dear Nana: You’re not wrong, and neither is your grandson.

First off, sports and physical activity can help with depression. In my opinion, a solid thirty-minute workout a day can do worders for the mind. At least that’s how it works for me.

If I don’t get my workout in, I don’t feel right. A hamster needs its wheel. You’re right to think your grandson would benefit from an organized sport. But the trick will be finding the right one.

It’s very hard to start most organized sports as a high school senior, especially the old standbys like football, basketball, baseball or soccer. Most of the athletes on these teams have been competing at a high level since elementary school. Your grandson might not even be able to make the team.

Maybe it’s worth contacting the different coaches. See if you can get a feel for what they’re like. Would any of them be willing to allow your grandson to join on just so he could get some extra exercise.

My guess is some of the coaches won't be up for this, but hopefully a few of them will understand.

If your grandson flat-out refuses to join a team, then he at least needs to start an exercise regimen. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. From my experience, thirty minutes a day keeps the blues away.

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. His debut novel, Don’t Know Tough, is available wherever books are sold. Send in questions for “Athletic Support” by using the “Contact” page at

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