Ask Me About My Trophy Kid

Ask Me About My Trophy Kid

As I have mentioned ad nauseum, I am quoted in the July 2008 SmartMoney Magazine, in an article titled Trophy Kids.

My participation in the article occurred because I was contacted by Anne Kadet of SmartMoney on the strength of this blog post.

I was motivated to write the post because I was disappointed in the general direction of social networking applications, and I was attributing at least part of the reason for the general craptitude of these apps on the low barrier to entry for writers, and comparing the situation to travel sports and how travel sports differs from rec league sports.  The original post does a better job than I can summarize here.

As represented by Ms. Kadet, she wanted to interview me for a feature article on parenting and sports.  True enough, as the final product is about parenting and sports – albeit from the point of view that is clearly meant to make the parents who did contribute appear to be on the fringe and to be nut cases (emphasis mine, but explicitly stated in the article – twice).

Because my participation in the article was precipitated on the basis of a blog post, I thought – mistakenly or not – that my views presented there on how sports can provide children with focus and commitment would be communicated.

Wrong and wrong, as it turned out.

Out of an hour phone interview, my contribution to the article was whittled down to a single quote – and used in a context different than how the quote appeared in my conversation with Ms. Kadet (my other contribution was a great photo of my son and I – of which I am so very proud – and that I hope will mean something to my son when he is older and I am no longer around).

Please bear with me while I make a mountain out of a mole hill.

Let me say that Anne Kadet and I have never met in person.  The interview we conducted was by phone.  When she writes that “David just shrugs” – how could she know whether I shrugged or not?  She was 1,500 miles away.  Unless I had a mouse in my pocket, I’m pretty sure I was alone on my end.

What was lost in the details on how I supposedly “shrugged” over the cost of $2,500 for my son’s hockey “habit” were the following facts, of which the quoted $2,500 amount represents an annualized cost of all my son’s hockey related expenses:

  • Approximately $550 for House (Rec) League Ice Fees
  • Approximately $750 for Travel League Ice Fees
  • Travel Related Expenses (Lodging, Food, Gas, Entertainment)
  • Private Skating Lessons
  • Equipment Costs

We spent $50 a year on helmet, pants, and pads by renting from our league’s equipment locker.  I spent $75 on a carbon composite stick and $200 on a set of Bauer skates.  No where near the many hundreds of dollars quoted for skates, helmets, and sticks.

Regarding the comment I made about being resigned to the costs, it was made in the context as to how if one wishes to play competitive high school or college level sports, coaches look first to athletes who play travel league sports, and not that I am resigned to $2,500 a year because my eight year old wants to play hockey.

In truth, the one thing I was most disappointed in within the article was the one thing that was easiest to fact check – my son’s name.  His name is Macgregor, not Gregory.  Even though Anne and I traded emails, even though I spelled it out for the photographer, even though I spoke to a magazine fact checker – they still got his name wrong.  For me, if you can’t get the easiest of factual things correct, it definitely casts a pall over any of the other “facts” presented in the article.

One can’t turn on the news these days without seeing how Americans are raising a nation of fat, spoiled, lazy kids.

It seems now, that when you do challenge your child to compete and – gaspkeep score – you’re a nut case.

Here’s a news flash – life isn’t fair.  We’re not all created equal.  And you don’t get trophies in life for just showing up.

We’ve created a fiction that if we shield our children from resolving their own conflicts, if we protect them from failing, if we give them everything they want, that they will lead happy, stress free lives.  Look around – how’s that working out?

Since Ms. Kadet doesn’t have children – I asked her during our interview – I’m not surpirsed entirely by the judgmental tone of the article.  Nothing I write here will change anyone predisposed to a certain view of parenting – and that really isn’t my intent.

I guess what I am trying to say – here, as well as in my original post – is that when we ask more of ourselves, when we raise the barrier to entry into an endeavor, we wind up with a higher quality of play, a better product, increased focus – in short, if not excellence, something approaching it.

My sentiments are best summed up by a line from the movie The Incredibles; When everybody is special, no one is.

I want to thank Anne Kadet and SmartMoney Magazine for allowing me to participate in the article.  I’m definitely using this article as a learning experience for my son – and bragging like hell about my Trophy Kid.

Postscript: After the magazine article was published, I was contacted by another “hockey dad” about a new company he was putting together – and that he wanted my participation.

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8 thoughts on “Ask Me About My Trophy Kid

  1. Thaks for sharing this. i can not tell you how many times I have been misquoted in a paper. Sounds like you are doing a great job as a Dad and who cares how much the hockey stuff costs – is that not missing the point! LOL

    Sarah

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  2. Is stunned that someone wasted an hour on an interview and then only used one quote. I don’ think I’ve ever ever done that. It’s completely unprofessional and wrong they spelled your son’s name incorrectly with all those levels of checking.

    I will say that, separate from this article, I have had the satisfaction NUMEROUS times of playing a tape back where someone thinks they’ve been misquoted only to see their eyes widen when they hear themselves say it. It’s a fact that people do not always say all of what they’re thinking and then are surprised it “sounds” different on paper.

    Also, just being written, with uh’s, er’s and other hesitation sounds removed – well let’s just say the written word CAN and frequently does “sound” more intelligent.

    To the point of the article, yes people need to play to win and sometimes lose. When I have them, I would not feel right about putting my kids – except VERY early on, in a no-win league. I would also not them be coached by someone who treats their games as pro-sports. Until high school, at least.

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  3. Temple, I don’t dispute that I said I spent $2,500 on youth hockey.

    Just that the context in which she used the quote – and her characterization of me shrugging when we didn’t conduct the interview in person – was my particular point.

    All things considered, no animals were harmed in the making of the interview and it makes for compelling – albeit sensationalized – reading.

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  4. David –

    Kudos to you for publishing YOUR story, as is, here. I’m not a newsworthy person, so I haven’t had to endure the frustration of being misquoted in print. But, I have seen it happen with previous employers and friends.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to know the angle a person is going to take with their article prior to the interview? Shame on SM for printing hogwash. Kudos to you for providing balance in your son’s life.

    ~Angeles

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  5. David, I am appalled that the magazine did such a poor job of communicating facts. Giving your son the wrong name (because let’s face it that’s what they did) is appalling but would be forgivable (mistakes happen all the time) if not combined with the other offenses. I am not a parent but happen to agree with you that somehow parents today have gotten the idea that we should shield children from the reality of the world. We are so hell bent on being PC and “fair” that we are doing children a disservice. We don’t want to give grades or correct errors, we want sports to be without score. I can’t wait to see where that’s going to land these poor kids in 20 years! Now, if you were torturing your son and having him practice 6 hours a day I might take issue with you but in my opinion you’re doing a fine job. I’m only sorry that Smart Money chose to be provocative rather than accurate.

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