Sports Inequity and Systemic
Detailed in Forbes’ article “Play Inequity: A National Crisis, Hiding in Plain Sight,” our nation is experiencing a pandemic regarding the access of sports to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. The LA84 Foundation epitomizes the disparities at hand: "People from households with an income under $35k in Los Angeles are 29% likely to be inactive, almost three times as much as households with an income over $150k’s rate of 10%.” RunItBack aims to tackle the nationwide issue of sports inequity—the unaffordability and inaccessibility of sports—by offering a free-to-use, accessible, universally available medium on which to play sports in an organized environment.
The sports inequity prevalent in today’s society is chiefly driven by an individual’s lack of disposable income and overall unstable financial situation—which have resulted from deeper systemic issues that disproportionately affect the economic state of African Americans and other minority groups.
The rise of smartphones and increased desire for on-demand accessibility has created an entirely new standard of human interaction and formed the prime conditions for RunItBack’s creation—but has also exasperated these disparities in our society.
We hold a duty to our users to use the resources and capital that RunItBack generates to help combat these issues on a more foundational level. We will reinvest a share of our profits in reliable, verified charities that we have determined will support our causes in a substantial and impactful way.
We will allocate a share of our donations to charities and organizations that work to eliminate sports inequity—KABOOM, which builds playspaces in communities without them so that every kid has the opportunity to play sports; Good Sports, which collects donated sports equipment, apparel, and footwear and distributes them to underprivileged youth to allow them to play sports; the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which gives athletes with physical challenges the opportunity to compete in sports through grants.
We will allocate the rest of our donations to charities and organizations that support our nation’s marginalized youth that are affected in other ways (such as education; general healthcare; or even obscure things like worse air and water quality, increased vulnerability in white neighborhoods, and lesser-valued homes) by systemic issues—My Brother’s Keeper (launched by President Barack Obama), which addresses persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color, and the Common Ground Foundation (founded by the rapper Common), which empowers high schoolers from under-served communities to become successful leaders.
Declining Physical Activity and the Rise of Sedentary Lifestyles
In addition to the initiatives that RunItBack takes, there are other concerning issues in the sports world that have coincided with the rise of technology and social media.
Sports involvement is declining nationwide: according to the LA84 Foundation, “36% of LA county’s youth stated that they do not want to participate in future sports[,] ... [and] regardless of income, all groups of people experienced a decline in regular physical activity since 2016.”
This decline in activity is accompanied by the rising rates of cell phone use: according to Statista, “Regular social media use among teens has increased by 206%, from 34% of teens in 2012 to 70% of teens in 2018[,] … [and] 27% of these teens use social media hourly.”
These two recent developments have combined to create a sedentary environment that promotes indolence and inactivity for an entire generation of social media users and potential athletes—immensely damaging our nation’s health for decades to come. The World Health Organization summarizes the catastrophic results of these compounding issues: “The leisure activities that children and adolescents are engaging in now tend to be more sedentary and screen-based rather than being outdoor exercise, sport or play."
RunItBack attempts to directly combat these issues by encouraging sustainable, habitual participation in recreational sports and utilizing the same technology that causes a sedentary lifestyle to incentivize consumers to play sports via our engaging interactive features and prizes for users—both tangible (winning free premium memberships, merchandise, Cameos from athletes, jerseys, and more) and intangible (experiencing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle; making new friends; feeling the satisfaction of winning; getting to meet local athletes; and bonding with one’s local community via “groups” of fans, tournaments, weekly leagues, and leaderboards).