• Publication date: May 22, 2010

Sacrificing Childhoods for Championships Walking the Thin Line Between Competition & Compulsion

Following in the footsteps of �Showbiz Moms & Dads� (2004) and �Showdog Moms & Dads� (2005) comes �Sports Kids Moms & Dads� (2005), a reality show following the lives of five kids and their parents� quest for athletic stardom.

Following in the footsteps of �Showbiz Moms & Dads� (2004) and �Showdog Moms & Dads� (2005) comes �Sports Kids Moms & Dads� (2005), a reality show following the lives of five kids and their parents� quest for athletic stardom. Like in the aforementioned programs mothers and fathers act as coaches, pushing children to excel beyond their peers, all the while claiming to have nothing but the best intentions. Yet on numerous occasions viewers may question the grownups� sincerity. The children are often not nearly as enthusiastic as their overseers, who seem to be reliving failed childhood dreams through their offspring. When it seems vanity is not a primary objective, greed is instead, and children�s lives are wagered in a gamble for the begetter�s nest egg. While ambition can be a positive factor for many endeavors, the girls and boys profiled are battling against thousands of other similarly talented youngsters, many of whom are genuinely motivated, not merely fulfilling their masters� commands.

Craig is a football addict, convinced that his son, Trenton has had what it takes to dominate the field since the tender age of two. Rather than work an ordinary, well-paying 9-to-5, Craig has multiple jobs, including an illustrious pizza delivery gig; this allows dad to effortlessly schedule labor around Trenton�s obligatory training. Craig�s immediate goals for Trenton include acing the upcoming playoffs and gaining 10 pounds by next season. Dad�s ultimate goal, realistic or not, is to propel his son into the NFL.

TJ is a former college basketballer whose career ended prematurely after birthing her daughter, Lindsay. Determined to prevent a similar fate for her daughter, or rather fulfill mom�s failed dreams, TJ coaches Lindsay, convinced that she is WNBA material. Part of Lindsay�s regimen includes avoiding so-called distractions, a codeword for boys and/or socialization in general. When her daughter�s grades plummet TJ opts to ground Lindsay rather than ease up on training.

Fortunately, not every parent lives vicariously through his or her child. Karen is a recent divorcee who struggled to provide daughter Karli with a $40,000 thoroughbred horse. Now single, in litigation, and practically penniless Karli may have to forfeit her horseshoed friend so mom can pay the bills; she will also say goodbye to her equestrian career.

Kim and son Bryce are our fourth duo. Mom hopes that Bryce will transform into a gold medal figure skater, though expensive private lessons have little effect on his lackluster performance. Strangely, the pressure of competition seems to affect mom more than Bryce, who must leave the rink in nervousness while her son performs. Perhaps this is for the better, since the struggling skater tumbles twice at an upcoming competition.

Lastly we meet Sarah, whose mom Sharon drops a whopping $15,000 each year on dance lessons, choreography classes, and cheerleading competition entrance fees. With unsurpassed dedication and monetary sacrifice, Sharon envisions her daughter becoming the next National Champion Cheerleader. Sadly, Sarah must sacrifice a youthful birthday for training, and annoys mom when illness keeps her away from cheer practice.