Dear Coach: The star of my son's youth (eight- to 10-year-old)
baseball league is a kid who has the strength and speed of a
teenager; physically, he dwarfs the other 10-year-olds. I'm
beginning to suspect his skills are too advanced. One of the
other parents heard a rumor this player was 16! What should I do?

Dear Suspicious: Unless you've caught the kid talking about the
Reagan years, you're probably off-base. Development experts point
out that among children of that age there could be a variation of
as much as 90 pounds and 15 inches. If you're convinced he's a
ringer, ask an official to verify his age. Or suggest he move up
a league due to his skill level. Chances are he'll take it as a
compliment--like skipping a grade at school.

Dear Coach: I'm a 38-year-old business exec, and I like to play
hoops on the town courts. Recently a female player began running
with us. She's got a decent game, and she plays as hard as
anyone. The problem is, I get squeamish when I have to guard her.
And when she guards me, I get rid of the ball as quickly as I
can. No one else seems to have a problem. What's wrong with me?

Dear Pressed: Get over yourself. She's neither a fragile waif
needing protection nor a young seductress to avoid. "She
obviously can hold her own," says Steven Edwards, a sports
psychologist at Oklahoma State. "You need to get comfortable
looking at her as a player rather than as a female." If you're
still having trouble, tell her your concerns. Says Edwards, "I
bet she'll tell you, 'Hey, bring it on.'"