By Bryce Marvin
Do you want what’s best for your children, or do you just want them to be the best? That is the fundamental question behind the HBO documentary, Trophy Kids. In 90+ minutes, we see the daily routines and struggles of six individuals across four different sports. All are talented and have developed amazing skills, but behind every athlete, there is a parent who will do anything to “help” their child become the best. Each parent goes about coaching and training their son or daughter in their own way. There is no doubt that they are passionate about what they do, but does their overwhelming passion actually help their children in the long run?
It is heartbreaking to hear the father of an 8-year-old say, “I can’t let her know I am proud of her.” Sadly, that is a light example of the verbal abuse that these children receive. All reflect the attitudes that their parents have towards officials, competitors, and even their own abilities. On the one hand, a father claims he sits in the back enjoying the game, but soon he joins other rabid parents, complaining about the coach and referees; his arrogance reaches a climax when he screams how bad his son’s teammates are with their parents sitting next to him.
All the kids in this documentary aspire to Division I NCAA scholarships at a major university, but somehow only one of the six children was offered a scholarship, and even he did not stay and play at that level. What can be taken from this? Sports are a huge part of our culture, and provide an identity to many that need a place to feel wanted and belong. Occasionally we see parents try and relive their high school sports days through their children, but generally their passions overwhelm those of their children and it only drives them away.