In class, we just finished viewing the short film, “Trophy Kids”, which dives into the positive and negative influences that parents have on their kids in the world of sports. We came across many parents who were very overbearing and critical of their sons’ or daughters’ performance, but who were ultimately trying to demand the absolute best out of their children. This short film follows the lives of four different families with a glimpse into specifics of the parent to athlete relationships in the sport of golf, basketball, tennis, and football.
Sports always seems to have an impact on individuals, whether it is the parent or the athlete. We see many examples through the film of the athletes being put under extreme pressure from their parents. Amari, who is the young girl who is aspiring to be an LPGA golfer seems to always be upset about her dad’s nonstop harsh language. There’s Derek, who seems to be almost overwhelmed by the competitive intensity of his father which distracts him from playing his absolute best out there on the court. Jamie’s twin sons are trying to become the best tennis partners in the world, but you can tell they are having a hard time balancing their play with their religion. Finally, there is Justus, who seems to have the most challenging hurdles to overcome out of all the athletes. Justus is strained and pushed by his father Derek but seems to be worn out and depleted which has caused him to almost unequivocally lose his love for the game. You can easily tell the world of sports has impacted these parents and athletes in many physical and mental ways.
Values, ideas, and beliefs go a long way in sports. One of the most common values I consistently noticed throughout the film was the value of hard work. Many people don’t truly understand the time and effort it takes to become a good athlete. The parents in the film continue to hark on their kids about taking another rep, getting in more practice, and perfecting their fundamentals. This shows that if you want to be the best at sports, or yet alone, anything that you do, you must outwork other individuals. The belief from the parents that they will do all the work and spend all the money to make their child successful is also consistent throughout the film. For these parents, it seems hard for them to fathom that you can’t make a child successful. He or she must make themselves successful. These parents believe that their lives depend on the outcome of their kids’ play which can be very distracting and intolerable for the kids.
There are many connections that were able to be made from class to the film. In class, we discussed how sports builds character. Sports builds social character and moral character. We noted that social character is based on teamwork, loyalty, work ethic, and perseverance. One example of the social character that was established was in the conversation between the tennis partners. As their upcoming tournament was approaching, the boys noted that they were both on opposite sides of the bracket. The question was asked, “what if you two reach each other in the finals?”, and the response that was given was, “One of us will forfeit the match because we don’t want to see the other one lose.” This speaks volumes about how much these boys care for one another on an emotional level and on a physical level. So many of us get enamored with sports at such a young age that it begins to essentially become our livelihood. In the case of Justus, though, we begin to see a young man who is becoming defeated and worm out from the game of football. In class, we discussed the ultimate question of why does participation change/end? We noted that much of the participation that ends results from either burnout/injury, negative experiences, getting on with life, opportunity or skill level, or transition to another role. There are two examples that come to mind for me on this situation. The first example revolves around the crying that Justus does in the back seat with his dad. When he gets out of the car, the interviewer asks him, “Does he ever think about quitting football? “To which Justus replies, “All the time.” Also, when Justus goes back home to his mother’s house and is relieved and excited to not be put under the excruciating pressure from his father and just live a normal teenagers life. The reality of him not wanting to play football anymore started to become very apparent to the audience.
Emotions range in a variety of different ways. Those emotions can go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows very quickly. In class, we discussed the importance of social interaction in sports. We noted how that social interaction can affect one’s feelings, thoughts, and actions. One example of this social interaction occurs in a negative way with Amani and her father, Andre. When Andre looks at her and says, “Damn it, she’ll never get a sponsor that way.” That comment was only made because she didn’t her putt shot straight. This caused Amani to break down into tears and destroy her confidence through the rest of the tournament. This verbal abuse was extremely unnecessary and very harsh for such a young girl.In conclusion, the world of sports can not only impact the individual athlete, but also others who may be involved. Every parent has a different way of connecting to their child, but you must know your child to know what will work best for them. This was a great film to watch that made many personal connections to what we have discussed in class thus far. I enjoyed this film immensely.