Follow Up From SmartMoney Magazine

Follow Up From SmartMoney Magazine

This is what I hope to be the ** last ** update on my appearance in this month’s ( July 2008 ) SmartMoney Magazine.

I was contacted this week by Anne Kadet, the author of the feature article in which I was quoted, “Trophy Kids.”  Anne called after reading my response post here to the article, genuinely upset over the fact that the magazine had gotten my son’s name wrong in the article and wanting my feedback on what my expectations were going into the article and thoughts afterward.

Anne offered a correction on my son’s name, and we had a very open discussion over the article and my reaction to it.

I learned a great deal from the whole experience – positive and negative – and I know I’m better prepared to ask more questions for any similar situation in which I may find myself in the future.

Again, thanks to Anne for being stand up and calling me when she could have just let it ride.

And one final thanks again to SmartMoney for allowing my son and I to have a blast at a fun photo shoot and creating a great memory in the process.

John Schweikert)

For those of you in the market for a great photographer (and a really nice guy), here is John Schweikert’s (the photographer who took the fine photo in the article) contact information:

John Schweikert Photography
113 Westover Park Court
Nashville, Tennessee 37215

http://www.schweikertphoto.com/

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.