CHICAGO—Oral Health America's annual NSTEP® (National Spit Tobacco Education Program) slogan contest aims to educate Little League® Baseball and Softball players about the dangers of spit tobacco.
Ben Huggins, the father of this year's winner, could have avoided a risky mistake if such a program had existed when he was a teenager. "I'm from a small town of about 300 people, and when I was in high school, I chewed tobacco for a little while," said Huggins, who now lives with his family in Chula Vista, Calif. "There are probably some people in my hometown who still chew. I wanted to make sure my son didn't go down the same bad path."
The slogan contest gave Huggins the perfect opportunity to start talking to his 9-year-old son, Glen, about the dangers of spit tobacco. Huggins, who has served as a volunteer assistant coach for his son's team for the past three years, encouraged his son to brainstorm some slogan ideas, which they then ran past the rest of the family before Glen narrowed his list down to his three favorites.
"Be a home run hitter, not a ballpark spitter" ultimately became the winning slogan for this year's contest, with Glen and his family receiving an all-expense paid trip to the 2013 Little League Baseball® World Series in South Williamsport, Pa."
He usually records all the games and watches every single one," Huggins said of his son's past viewing of the Little League World Series. "He had a big smile on his face when he found out he won and he's really excited about throwing out the first pitch."
Glen threw out the first pitch during a game on Aug. 16. In addition to the trip to the Little League Baseball World Series, Glen will also receive a $500 cash prize and his local Little League will receive $500 as well. His winning slogan will be featured throughout the 10-day series, reaching tens of thousands of young baseball and softball players and their families and bringing more attention to the dangerous habit of chewing tobacco.