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Posts Tagged ‘crazy sports parents

Proposed youth sports reality show gets it all wrong

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So I was combing through, a reality show casting site, looking for opportunities to exploit myself and my family without first having to fake putting my young son on a weather balloon, and I came across this call from an unnamed CBS project:

National Television show booking parents of teens who feel their kid(s) are so focused on sports that it is affecting their schoolwork, grades, family life &/or other activities or causing them to neglect other activities.

You & your teen will get advice from a globally known psychologist as well as a championship-winning professional football coach on how to find a balance of sports, education & family life.

OK, first problem with this idea: it’s not the teens who need persuading to keep sports in perspective.

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Second: “Globally known psychologist” has the stink of Dr. Phil all over it.

Third, and, um, biggest problem: if the championship-winning professional football coach is Jimmy Johnson, he’ll also spend time talking about his newly lengthened schlong. (ExtenZe struck gold getting a guy named “Jimmy Johnson” to hawk its purported pecker extender.)

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If you win “Dinner with Jimmy Johnson,” you’re duty bound to order the jumbo-sized sausage.

Written by rkcookjr

April 17, 2010 at 12:27 am

Soccer league back after stopping play over boy on girls' team

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In all the excitement over the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four, I’m a little late with this update: The Port Angeles (Wash.) Youth Soccer Club under-14 girls league is back!

As you may or may not recall, the club dropped its under-14 boys spring league because not enough young males were signed up to make a viable league. The parents of Spencer May were not deterred, plopping their boy on a girls’ team until the league objected. The parents then apparently threatened to sue, claiming discrimination under Title IX (a law designed to get girls’ participation in sports up from near zero), and the club suspended the league until it could figure out what to do without getting litigated out of existence.

Here’s what the club figured out: it could tell Spencer May’s family to go pound sand. From the club’s web site:

“The Port Angeles Youth Soccer Club has resumed its Spring league after a two-week postponement. Following a careful review of all of the circumstances leading up to the suspension of play, the Club is reassured that it has not acted unlawfully or in a discriminatory manner in declining to offer co-ed play among older age groups and in refusing to allow a boy to play on an all girls team.”

Two weeks’ worth of Port Angeles youth soccer highlights (above).

Accordign to the Peninsula Daily News, the league also sent a separate notice to May’s parents, Andrew May and Carmen Czachor. From the March 30 edition:

At the same time, [club president Darin] Reidel sent a 15-sentence e-mail message to May and Czachor telling them of the club’s decision and the grievance procedures required of them if they had further concerns.

The parents are required to write to the club of their complaint, and the organization will forward their statement to the Olympic Youth Soccer Association, the state organization governing the sport.

“Your concerns will receive a timely review and response,” Reidel wrote in the e-mail.

Reidel probably wrote that because he was legally enjoined from writing, “Go fuck yourself.” More from the article:

The president also advised the couple not to attend any U14 girls practices and not to disrupt any Port Angeles Youth Soccer Club games.

Andrew May (who writes a gardening column for the Peninsula Daily News) and Carmen Czachor wouldn’t do that, would they? Even though in the article they are quoted as saying even though they technically never threatened to sue, they’re planning on taking their complaints to city and state officials? Really, the May parents will just do something reasonable, like accept that sometimes a league doesn’t fill up, and sign up Spencer in a league in a nearby city. Right?

The answer came in the March 31 Peninsula Daily News:

Call it the hunt for the missing girls soccer team.

Soccer parents Andrew May and Carmen Czachor split up in different cars during a rainy and cool Tuesday afternoon looking for an under-14 girls soccer team that was supposed to start practice at 4:30 p.m.

May and Czachor’s 13-year-old son, Spencer, had practiced with the girls’ team about three times and wanted to play for the group.

The team had practiced at Stevens Middle School, where Spencer is an eighth-grader.

But the squad was no where in sight at 4:30 p.m., and so the parents split up looking for it, assuming the team was practicing in secret.

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. The parents split up on a hunt for a girls’ soccer practice to crash? It turns out the scheduled practice was postponed, and that Spencer May’s parents were told the league might start an “academy soccer” program — basically, practice. (The article said the league offered that option, then pulled it before offering the family a refund it refused.) That is, as long as enough boys sign up. So May and Czachor said they will graciously back off to see if that academy soccer thing happens.

Spencer, let me pull you aside for a minute. Whatever you end up doing this spring, your parents have taught you a not-very-valuable lesson: if you don’t get your way, just scream and yell and pitch a fit. Let me ask you, Spencer: did you get away with that kind of behavior as a toddler? Or worse yet, are they doing this because you’re the one kicking and screaming about not being able to play spring soccer in Port Angeles?

Spencer, I don’t know why Port Angeles split its formerly coed under-14 league into separate boys and girls, but it did, and the fact not enough boys signed up means not that the club is discriminating against you, but that not enough boys and their families care. The junior high coed basketball league my 12-year-old played in last year didn’t play this year because not enough kids signed up. I guess I should have made a big stink, if I were a good parent. True, it wasn’t like the girls played while the boys didn’t, but I also once tried to sign up that same son for a boys’ volleyball league that ended up not getting enough boys while a girls’ league played on. It happens.

There are true injustices in the world to raise a stink about, but a league being canceled because not enough kids were signed up is not one of them.

So, please, tell your parents to back off. I’d tell them myself, but I get the feeling they don’t listen to others’ advice.

Former Congressman accused of punching youth soccer coach

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One day you’re a rising star in national politics, the next you’ve fallen from grace to the point you’re punching a kids’ soccer coach who wears a neck brace.

Chip Pickering, once a shoo-in to replace his old boss Trent Lott as the U.S. Senator from Mississippi, instead is begging coach and nurse Chris Hester to drop simple assault charges against him after the two got in a scuffle following a 10- and 11-year-olds’ soccer game in Madison, Miss.

Hester’s team was playing a team featuring Pickering’s son. Hester said Pickering attacked him in his truck, while Pickering said that after he went to upbraid Hester about being what he called verbally abusive to his son, Hester attacked him. For what it’s worth, Hester also has a simple assault charge against him related to the incident. He might have a neck brace, but apparently his fists still work.

Each side’s lawyers are talking to see whether charges might be dropped before a scheduled Jan. 19 court date. Pickering already is on the record saying he wants to settle this “man to man.” Um, Chip, you already tried settling one conflict with Hester man-to-man, and it’s safe to say that didn’t work out too well.

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I’m sure the coach hurts, but I haven’t seen such a hilarious neck brace since the cancellation of whatever the last sitcom was that featured a fake auto accident injury as a major plot device.

If this were just a lesson in how even the most august among us are prone to going goofy at youth sports events, the story would end here. Unfortunately for the Chipster, the incident appears to be part of a precipitous decline from future U.S. Senator to someone going to the courthouse enough to get a punchcard that would make his 10th appearance free.

When Lott resigned as Senator in November 2007, Pickering, his former aide and the son of a judge (Charles Pickering) famously appointed by President George W. Bush and famously not confirmed because of Democratic objections (and a judge who is a longtime power-broker in the Mississippi Republican party and a Tea Partier), was rumored to be the top choice to replace him. Pickering not only refused to take Lott’s seat, but he also announced he would resign from the House of Representatives in 2008 after 12 years, saying he wanted to spend more time with his wife and five sons.

At least with his wife, Chip Pickering’s pledge to “spend more time” meant “spend more time with her before a judge.” In June 2008, Pickering announced he and his wife Leisha would divorce. A little more than a year later, Leisha Pickering sued Chip’s alleged mistress, Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd, in what’s called an alienation-of-affection lawsuit. (Mississippi is one of four states that allow those, which gives aggrieved ex-spouses-to-be the right to sue homewreckers on the grounds they sabotaged a legally binding contract. I guess that sounds easier to rationalize to yourself than “she was my husband’s reverse cowboy.”)

As part of the court cases, apparently Republican bigwigs are trying to make sure a diary Pickering kept of his shenanigans, a missive that includes the names of his boys who covered his tracks for him. This is a bit of an issue because Pickering is the third member of the s0-called, allegedly highly religious C Street Fellowship, following Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (a former House member) to be caught walking the Appalachain Trail.

So I can imagine that the lawyer(s) for Chip Pickering are trying to impress upon the soccer coach with the neck brace to be a little understanding. After all, Chipper’s having a bit of a rough go. C’mon, man, be a pal!

If Pickering is being made to look a fool for the youth soccer incident, well, it’s hardly the first time. You might remember Pickering for his co-starring role as a Congressman appearing a church to preach against evolution and for Christian government in a little movie called Borat.

When the motherly instinct goes wrong

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The headline says: “Charges filed in Little League brouhaha.” The story appears to be another case of a parent gone wild in a toxic youth sports environment. Me, I see many, many small, bad decisions that escalated to a large, unfortunate case that is going to stain the life of a mother who mistakenly thought she was doing the right thing by sticking up for her child.

pic.phpThe case involves Jodi Scheffler, 41, of Kirkland, Wash., seen at right wearing a very unfortunate hat for her Facebook profile given the circumstances: she’s charged with assaulting a 12-year-old after a Little League game. Here is the story as told by KOMO-TV in Seattle.

The reports say … Scheffler …  left her side of the field and got into an altercation with boys from the visiting team. Name-calling escalated and then Scheffler allegedly grabbed the boy’s face.

Scheffler told Kirkland police that the 12-year-old visiting player was calling her son a loser and taunting him during the game.

Charging papers say she told the boy and his brother to stop talking to her son. They told her to shut up and called her a “dumb blond.” The report says she then called them “white trash,” then allegedly grabbed the boy’s face.

Now the mother of the 12-year-old boy, Michelle McLaughlin, is furious and speaking out.

“He’s scared,” McLaughlin says. “He asks me every day we play a game, ‘Is she gonna be there? Is she gonna hit me?'”

But Scheffler told police that McLaughlin’s husband chest-butted her.

“According to witnesses, the only thing my husband did was yelling at her from 30 feet away to get away from my kids – and charged up to her, asking her politely to go away, ‘Back up, get away from my kids,'” says McLaughlin. “But as far as the chest-butting – that’s a lie.”

No charges have been filed against McLaughlin’s husband. She says she’s the one who decided to file charges against Scheffler.

“Maybe she’ll learn to keep her anger to herself,” McLaughlin says.

The Little League president calls this an unfortunate incident. Longtime coaches, meanwhile, say they haven’t seen anything like it.

Some parents feel the whole thing is being blown out of proportion. But Scheffler faces a year in jail if she’s convicted.

I wasn’t there, but I think, from my informed-enough-to-be-dangerous knowledge of sports parent-child interactions, what mistakes might have been made along the way to turn this game into a brouhaha. Or maybe it’s more like a row. Or a set-to. Maybe a melee.

The first one was made by Scheffler, of course. I know it stinks to watch little brats trash your baby. The parents should have taught their children to be respectful, and the coaches should have tried to stop the trash-talking (maybe they did — the story doesn’t say). Even after she confronted the boys, that’s pretty ballsy of 12-year-olds to call a grown woman a “dumb blond.”

But no adult should never, never, never, never, never, never, ever, ever, ever, ever, confront someone else’s kid before, during or after a game. As a parent, you can (calmly) talk to your own coach. You can talk to the league vice president or president. But there’s no point in jumping on someone else’s kid, or even the opposing coach, in the heat of the moment. If you’re that upset, better to just pack you stuff and go home. The 24-hour rule applies. Otherwise, you risk making an ass out of yourself, embarrassing your child, and risking assault charges.

The second one was made by Michelle McLaughlin. Let’s assume her husband did not chest-bump anyone, though it would be a first for me to see a charged up/ask politely combination. Like Scheffler, it sounds like in this report that McLaughlin could wear a drama queen hat herself. As stupid as it was for Scheffler to do what she did, all McLaughlin needed to do was take her kids and go home. She seems ready to have Scheffler charged just out of spite — “maybe she’ll learn to keep her anger to herself.” Takes one to know one.

I highly doubt Scheffler will face a year in jail. I wouldn’t be shocked if the charges are dropped for something so relatively petty. However the legal case turns out, nobody — not Scheffler, not McLaughlin, not the kids in question — acquitted themselves well. But I’m not going to add my overreaction to the overreaction at hand. The league should ban Scheffler from games, and let players and coaches know they will be ejected from games and/or suspended if taunting continues.

In fact, the league itself should take a closer look at the conduct during its games. I would guess that Jodi Scheffler isn’t the first Little League mom to have the urge to attack when no one was doing anything to protect their kids.

The Ballad of Todd Marinovich

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Exhibit A in the Modern Age of Crazy Sports Parenting is usually the oddball relationship between Marv Marinovich and his son, Todd. As the story famously goes, when the ex-Oakland Raider and personal trainer found out he was going to have a baby boy, he started in the womb the training and feeding of young Todd, using the Eastern Bloc training methods he studied. After his birth July 4, 1969 (while your humble blogger was still in the womb, not being fed a diet of carob), everything in Todd’s life was trained to make him what was later called “robo-QB.”

373691911_30e0117897Just as famously, Todd made his way to USC and a first-round pick of the Raiders, but flamed out quickly because of drug addiction and other personal problems, cementing Marv as a unanimous choice for one of the worst sports parents of all-time. (Further cementing Marv’s status is that with his second wife he had another son, Mikhail, whom he tried to develop, with a few variations, into a robo-linebacker. Mikhail is a reserve at Syracuse, where he’s made his fame opening a hookah bar and getting arrested. Oh, and Mikhail is an aspiring model, too.)

The assumption is that Todd’s downfall was some sort of passive-aggressive rebellion against his father trying to make him into a quarterback machine, a less destructive (at least to Marv) way than say, the monster killing Dr. Frankenstein, to show his displeasure with his creator.

After reading Mike Sager’s piece in the latest Esquire on Todd Marinovich, I’m rethinking a few of my own assumptions — although his story still stands as the unintended consequences of crazy sports parenthood, or crazy parenthood in general. It’s a reminder as a parent that whatever ambitions you have for your child, however you try to steer them, no matter how overbearing and focused you are, and no matter if you indeed are doing what is best for your child, that child is a human being who can — and perhaps should — veer off your course at any moment.

Actually, I wish this story were more about Marv, because Todd himself is just another boring junkie. He was clean as the story was reported, but the story notes a February relapse into addiction, while Todd handles with much more maturity than he had in the past — he calls his parole officer to report his violation.

What has me rethinking some of my assumptions is that for all of Marv’s effort in making sure Todd ate and trained right, he appeared to make no attempt to shield his son from the party-hearty lifestyle a star athlete can get away with.

From the story, picking up after Marinovich, as a freshman, opens the season as the varsity’s starting quarterback:

After the final gun, Todd stood with his parents. His new teammates drifted over and surrounded him. “When I was growing up, the term my mom used was ‘terrifyingly shy,’ ” Todd says. “That’s why I always loved being on a team. It was the only way I could make friends. It was really amazing to have these guys, these upperclassmen, come over. And they’re like, ‘Hey, Todd, let’s go! Come out with us after the game. It’s party time!’ “

Todd looked at Marv. The old man didn’t hesitate. “He just gave me the nod, you know, like, ‘Go ahead, you earned it.’

“We went directly to a kegger and started pounding down beers,” Todd recalls.

For what it’s worth, the story notes that it was Todd’s goal to start as a freshman. Was he just under Marv’s thrall? Maybe, maybe not. But you can’t always assume with a perceived crazy sports parents that the kid is being dragged along for the ride.

Later in high school, Marinovich’s parents divorced — and the leash loosened.

Then the January 1988 issue of California magazine hit the stands with Todd’s picture on the cover. The headline: ROBO QB: THE MAKING OF A PERFECT ATHLETE. A media onslaught ensued. They called Todd the bionic quarterback, a test-tube athlete, the boy in the bubble. All over the world, people were talking about Todd’s amazing story. In truth, he was leading a double life.

“I really looked forward to giving it all I had at the game on Friday night and then continuing through the weekend with the partying. It opened up a new social scene for me — liquid courage. I wasn’t scared of people anymore,” Todd says.

At Mater Dei, Todd had also begun smoking marijuana. By the time his junior year rolled around, he says, “I was a full-on loady.” His parents had divorced just before his transfer, and he was sharing a one-bedroom apartment with Marv near Capistrano. “Probably the best part of my childhood was me and Marv’s relationship my junior and senior years,” Todd says. “After the divorce, he really loosened up. It was a bachelor pad. We were both dating.”

For all his personal troubles, one thing Todd does nowhere in the article is blame Marv. Below a photo of the two men, Todd looking more like bald Ron Howard than the flowing red-haired god of his youth, Sager concludes the piece:

From the driver’s seat, sensing his good mood, I ask: “How much effect do you think that Marv and sports and all contributed to you turning to drugs?” I’d been saving this line of questioning since our first interview, six months earlier. “If you look at your life, it’s interesting. It appears that to get out of playing, you sort of partied away your eligibility. It’s like you’re too old to play now, so you don’t have to do drugs anymore. Has the burden been lifted?”

Todd looks out the windshield down the road. The truck bounces. Thirty full seconds pass.

“I don’t know how to answer that,” Todd says at last. “I really have very few answers.”

“That’s kind of what it seems like. A little.”

Twenty seconds.

“No thoughts?”

“I think, more than anything, it’s genetic. I got that gene from the Fertigs — my uncle, the Chief. They were huge drinkers. And then the environment plays a part in it, for sure.”

He lights another Marlboro Red, sucks down the first sweet hit. He rides in silence the rest of the way home.

Despite having a fiancee with a baby on the way, and how he handled his February relapse, and the faraway end to his athletic career, Todd appears to have a hard time breaking his addictions. After the Esquire piece was written, Todd was arrested for missing a Drug Court hearing and will sit in jail at least through May 4, when he has a hearing on his case. There is a good chance Marinovich will spend his 40th birthday in prison.

Jamie Moyer: crazy sports parent

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In the same Sports Illustrated featuring an excerpt of Mark Hyman’s youth-sports-are-maiming-our-children tome “Until It Hurts” and a profile of an ESPN high school national championship won by Findlay Prep, which is not in reality a high school, comes a profile of Jamie Moyer, an athlete who seems to be a living argument against overemphasizing your youth athlete  in a single sport as a means of getting to the majors.

Moyer, a Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, is best known for being old and good, winning 213 of his 247 games after age 30 (he’s 46) with a fastball your kid could outrun. The story, by Michael Bamberger, notes Moyer was passionate about baseball early, but that he spent his high school sporting life playing “golf in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. … In the summer he’d work and play American Legion baseball and pickup basketball and squeeze in nine holes at the public course in the fading light.”

A well-rounded sports childhood. Probably explains how well he can use his wits, and why he’s been able to pitch so long without hurting himself. Surely he would use that example for his own seven children to follow…

…oh wait.

[The Moyer family moved from Seattle] to Bradenton [Fla.] for Dillon, a 17-year-old shortstop. And for Hutton, a 15-year-old second baseman. The family moved to Bradenton to further the baseball educations of the two oldest boys. Dillon, a high school junior, and Hutton, a freshman, are enrolled in the baseball program at the IMG Academy. They are full-time students and full-time ballplayers. Dillon and Hutton will not be mowing bumpy municipal ball fields [as Jamie did] anytime soon, but they take ground balls all year long.

“I grew up blue-collar, my kids are growing up in a major league environment,” [Moyer] says. As baseball players I want Dillon and Hutton to have the best possible coaching. Access to experts in nutrition. Weight training. Good competition. Exposure. They’ve said they want to see how far they can get in baseball. I’m fortunate to have the means to help them.”

And with that, thousands of intense sports parents got instant justification for what they’re doing.

Take your crazy sports parenting out of real life…

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…and put it online!

626990667_0742536ecb_m1Yes, crazy sports parents, the technology exists so you can still be as intense as ever, yet not make a scene! Here are five steps to using techonology to your crazy sporting advantage, and make yourself less likely to end up in the police blotter:

1. Don’t say spiteful things about the coach during the game. Instead, form a “I Hate Coach [Blank]” Facebook group!

2. Don’t scream at the refs. Send them angry text messages! “U SUCK LOLOLOLOLOL :(”

3. Don’t fight with parents, coaches, referees or even kids from the other team at the heat of the moment. Instead, send an Evite to fight them later! “You’re invited… to get your punk ass kicked by me in the alley behind the biker bar! Confirmed guests:  My fists of rock.”

4. Do you find yourself generating a constant stream of bitter chatter? Get a Twitter account! “@13YOREF FU and DIAF (updated one minute ago) @RECCOACH Ur a fukkin idiot (updated two minutes ago) …”

5. If you say, “I’m not a crazy parent!” and think you’re superior to those you believe are, start a smart-alecky blog!