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HBO Sports Documentary – STATE OF PLAY: TROPHY KIDS

By Jef Dinsmore on Dec 5, 2013 to HBO Sports

HBOSports_logo2Overview: HBO Sports and executive producers Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey team up again for the innovative new documentary film series STATE OF PLAY. the show takes on complex and multi-layered themes in sports, exploring their relationship to larger society. Each new edition spotlights a topic or person whose impact on the sports world is undeniable, opening with a brief overview followed by a 40-minute cinéma vérité documentary and concluding with an in-depth, 20-minute roundtable discussion of the issue with the filmmakers, subjects and guest experts. Emmy® nominee Berg (Friday Night Lights) serves as moderator of the panel discussion.

 The film that opens the program, TROPHY KIDS features a compelling and engaging examination of the obsession a growing number of parents have with the scholastic athletic competition of their children.

StateofPlay_TrophyKids

 Expectations:  Truthfully, I was not going to review this premiere. This is yet another ongoing series of documentaries for HBO, this time from the Sports division, and this writer has logged a lot of time watching and reviewing these types of films that I thought I’d give it a rest. But, then I looked into the format for STATE OF PLAY and the subject matter of the first installment and decided to go ahead and invest the hour and see what I thought of it. Even after watching the trailer (that appears below) I haven’t really formulated any expectations. I approach the film with a clear mind and I will see what feelings and thoughts in evokes. I hope there are those out there that will do the same.

 

Gut Reaction: I actually thought I could skip this? It was a well done 57 minutes and the follow-up added great input to the topic. It is like the VICE program except instead of talking to correspondents the panel consists of experts to elaborate and comment on the footage. It is a shame other HBO documentaries don’t have a little roundtable discussion afterwards.StateOfPlay_Amari

TROPHY KIDS is about five children and the training and discipline they go through for their particular sport under the guidance of a parent. Amari is a youngster working hard at golf because her father envisions her to be a prominent ethnic LPGA player and be the breadwinner. Derek is being yelled at and drilled on in basketball so that scholarship money pays his way so Dad doesn’t have to do it. Blake & Tanner are playing through the ranks in tennis because Mom says “they want to play” so she is going to see that “they become the top tennis doubles in the world.” Justis focuses on football and his father figuratively beats him tough because he prizes the ethic value and confidence Justis will gain through the discipline in order to become “a man.”

 Are these extreme cases? I don’t know. If you are around sports you see these types of relationship all the time. You see the parent living through the child; you see the competitive spirit consuming the fun right out of it all; you see the money spent on the latest; you see, often times, the unhappy child. It leaves me to wonder how far the situation has escalated in the relationships I see. This documentary puts that right in your face and it alarms you. One child actually moves out due to the intensity displayed here. After all that is shown then the experts, sports psychologist Dr. Larry Lauer and former NFL quarterback Todd Marinovich, who lived the lifestyle talked about here, point out the fundamental problems with the relationships that would probably still remain  even if sports were out of the equation. Man, some just take it way too seriously to the detriment of the children involved.

Follow-up: From HBO here is a Q & A with Peter Berg about the series.

Q: Is the subject of ‘Trophy Kids’ a personal one for you?

 Peter Berg: Having coached my son’s football team, there were moments I could really relate to. It’s a universal, polarizing subject. Certainly any parent whose kids are getting involved in athletics can understand it. It’s a very real example of where we are as a culture and what we’re doing with our kids today.

 Q:  How is this different than other documentary series you’ve worked on?

Peter Berg: When we talked about doing a series, the idea was to distinguish ourselves from other sports documentary series. 30 for 30, which I worked on, it’d be hard to find any weakness in. But a lot of what they do is focused on a very specific moment in time – like the Gretzky piece I did, or SMU football getting the death sentence. ‘Broke,’ a great doc about the challenges athletes face in holding on to their money, is more in line with the kinds of things we want to do: More thematic stories that speak to the larger issues that will hopefully serve as a catalyst for conversations.

 Q : How many do you plan to do?StateOfPlay_PeterBerg

 Peter Berg: 50! [laughs] Right now we’re doing four. But since we’re already on our third, we’re going to come back and ask for more.

 Q : What’s the next film you have planned?

 Peter Berg:  The next one is called ‘Culture Shock’ and it’s about football. Everyone concedes that football has problems. The question is, can you bring down the speed limit to 50 from 75? The sport has just gotten too big, too fast, too strong, and they’re trying to slow it down. We’ve gotten unprecedented access to the NFL and the Players Union as we dive into how the game can actually be made safer. There’s an argument that the game of football won’t exist in 50 years the way it’s played now. There are signs everywhere, whether it’s in the NFL, whether it is Under Armor’s football sales dropping 30 percent, or whether it’s youth football seeing a decline of 28 percent in participation. We’ve reached a tipping point, and we’re looking at how we’re going to save the game.

 Q: How did you get that kind of access to the NFL?

 Peter Berg: Everybody realizes that something has to be done. Roger Goodell is a good guy. And you can quote me on that. He doesn’t like seeing guys getting hurt, breaking their necks, or killing themselves. It is not Roger Goodell’s fault. The NFL is trying to do whatever they can in a complex and legally-fraught environment.

Q: What’s the next film after that?

Peter Berg: The third film we’re doing is called ‘Broken,’ and it’s a look at athletes who have broken their necks and become paraplegic. It’s a look at what happens to a human being whose entire life has been about his body and his physicality and what happens to him when that gets taken. It’s a story of resiliency, family, love, and how somebody survives the unimaginable.

 Q: How did Todd Marinovich get involved in the film’s panel discussion?

 Peter Berg: Todd Marinovich is such a fascinating guy. One of our editors knew him, we sent him the film and evidently he saw the film and couldn’t sleep for two days. He’s kind of dropped out of society; he lives in the Pacific Northwest. He seemed shy at first, but once he got comfortable, he really had a lot to say. We talked for a while and he talked about how he’s going to encourage his kid.

 We could’ve loaded up the panel with 10 people, but one of our feelings is that sports shows have gotten too competitive. Everyone is fighting to get their sound bite in. Everyone is so bright and loud and slick. We wanted to slow it down.

Q: What’s the biggest difference in kid’s sports today?StateOfPlay_Justis

 Peter Berg: I used to play football in my friend’s yard, with dogs biting us, and we’d come home dirty and bleeding. And we’d play for it hours-it was fun! And you actually learn how to play. In the winter, we’d all skate or play basketball. Now, kids have to declare their sport at age seven. That’s it, I’m a lacrosse player. The idea of play is at risk.

 Q: Has the film had affected your personal approach to parenting?

 Peter Berg: My kid is 13 years old and, as a parent, it can sometimes be difficult. You watch your kid be lazy, or put in what you perceive to be a lack of effort, and it can be frustrating. Being part of this film has actually made me a better parent. It’s relaxed my expectations for my son. After hearing Marinovich say that if he could say anything to the kid in the film he’d give him a hug — well, I’ve hugged my kid a lot since then. I’ve been that dad in the car, asking him why he did this or didn’t do that. I won’t do that anymore.

 Q: Do you think successful parents are more hands-off?

 Peter Berg: There’s no rule of thumb. I’ve seen successful parents be very intense with their kids, and I’ve seen them back off. What I find interesting is looking at the parent of the really successful kids on the field. On the surface they might seem very laissez faire, but if things go wrong, they’re vigilant, they’re intense. Not every parent is as intense as Steve the basketball dad. “C’mon man! What are you looking at!” Sometimes it’s the quiet parents who are actually on their kids with a wolf-like intensity.

 Q: Is youth sports a worthwhile investment?

 Peter Berg: One area where it’s really intense is the business of personal coaches. Steve Clarkson, “The Dreammaker,” is making a fortune teaching kids how to throw a football. These guys get into the ear of a parent who might have delusions about their kids having an athletic career that they’re never going to have. Most high school players aren’t going to play Division I, and most of the ones that do aren’t going to the NFL, and most of those have a three-year average career. It’s not a smart bet.

 In Conclusion: What is a smart bet is this series, but I don’t want to say anymore. I don’t want to give a detailed recap of the documentary. What I want to do is ask you, especially if you are an adult with child athletes at home, to watch STATE OF PLAY: TROPHY KIDS. Then come back and we can debate and talk about it right here in the Comments Section because there is really a lot we could talk about.        

  Other HBO air dates are 12.06 at 11:30pm; 12.08 at 7:30am; 12.10 at 3:15pm’ 12.13 at 8:30am & 7:30pm; 12.14 at 11:00pm; 12.21 at 4:30pm 12.26 at 4:00pm; 12.27 at 5:25am and 12.30 at 12:30am. It is also on HBOGo.    

 

 

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101 Comments on "HBO Sports Documentary – STATE OF PLAY: TROPHY KIDS"

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Chicho Blanco
Guest

These parents were awful. You become good at a sport because you enjoy it. I am the epitome of that. I went from being the kid who was always picked last to starting for my college’s varsity soccer team as a true freshman. I loved the game and constantly worked on my game. It was fun. My parents never pushed me.

Herbert Finkle
Guest
Truly it is sad to see parents try and relive their lives through their children. And I could not wait to see one of these kids tell their parent, “I am done, you want it so much, you go and play and see how far you can go!” Some parents are resistant to accept the fact that their time is over and maybe the reason they did not make the Pro circuits is because it was not meant to be, or it was not the right time, or they were not in the right place. There are so many factors… Read more »
Carmencita
Guest

You are an ignorant racists. Why are 80% of deviant sex crimes committed by white men?

gingerplum
Guest
Clearly, the way to call attention to racist comments is to make an incredibly racist comment. I usually refrain from commenting on such spectacularly ignorant posts, but I’m making an exception for yours, and here’s the second reason (the first is concealed in a previous remark, see if you can figure it out!): about 70+ percent of this country’s population is white… that’s why most deviant sex crimes are committed by white men. The combination of incredible confidence plus limitless ignorance never fails to astonish me, and it is going to be this country’s undoing. I’m begging you. Please. STFU.
E Reed
Guest

The reason the football kid wasn’t ‘getting it’ as his dad kept saying, was because he sucks at teaching! You don’t belittle someone into learning. If the kid doesn’t get it, it’s your fault as an instructor. I could barely follow wtf the dad was talking about half of the time and I’m college educated

Adrienne Simmons
Guest

I watched this yesterday….it was tough to watch. As a mom of 2 Div 1 golfers and a tennis coach I never treated my kids like the parents portrayed. Parents are there to fund to their ability, encourage and hug. As a collegiate tennis player, if my parents had become this involved there’s no way I would have lasted. I wonder how the young athletes were chosen for this documentary?

Armand
Guest

People are people and sports is a manifestation. This type of parent-child relationship happens in academics too.

Susie
Guest

Wow! The football dad was incredibly crazy, what a shame. It’s a sad realization there are very many parent out there like this, not just these. As for the basketball coach, I felt everything he said was spot on. That boy did need a lot of nurturing- certainly isn’t getting it as home if his mom is texting disparaging remarks about him to the coach in addition to his crazy dad. Go ahead..move to Burbank. Cry baby.

guest
Guest

This is child exploitation. I truly hope HBO is offering mental health follow up services, especially to Justus. His father is an abusive narcissist and I hope Justus and HBO sees these comments and realizes there is help, support, and recovery out there. This is just beyond anything in the realm of acceptable behavior.

Conor
Guest

F*** all of those “parents”. All of them. Especially the “Jesus-loving” ‘glory of God’ slave driver. Just think: could those kids actually believe that a god would condone such abuse? Such perversion? That lady is the definition of evil, if you believe in it. She is abusing those kids under the guise of ‘love’ (a god’s love). That lady sucks at life.

DoJo
Guest

I’m sorry but I couldn’t finish watching. I agree I thought it was child abuse as well

watchingabuseformoney
Guest
watchingabuseformoney

This is abuse…. i’m wondering when HBO is going to start filming child pornography and call it a documentary.

Truth Hertz
Guest
All these parents are terrible people. Angry, low-quality, insecure, classless, control-freaks. The dads are bullies and the mom is a self-righteous fool who tries to cloak her greed and ambition in religion. The dads need to to be spanked. They need to realize that forcing their kids to achieve their dreams is pathetic. There is a reason these cowardly dads didn’t achieve their dreams of athletic glory: they lacked the talent. Instead of admitting that, and realizing that by way of genetics their sons and daughter may also be lacking, they create mini-training-dictatorships. They berate and belittle them and in… Read more »
SB15
Guest

WHY HASNT THERE BEEN ANY OTHER EPISODES OF THIS SHOW??

Jacob Klein
Guest

I don’t think it’s a “show” persay. It was a documentary.
BUT that being said this doc got a lot of attention so I wouldn’t be suprised if HBO ordered another one. It doesnt usually happen that way though.

Hartwall
Guest

The football dad was abusive. That is not an example of a loving parent. Horrible! !!

Tall Gal So Cal
Guest
This was so pitiful. The football, basketball and golfing fathers are the poorest excuses for parental units. The fathers are more concerned with themselves than their own children. They LOVE the sound of their own voices, choosing to go on and on and belabor a point completely ineffectively. Not a big surprise that the basketball player had his best game in the ABSENCE of his d-bag father. The golfer dad said he is only concerned with getting sponsorship, everything focuses on $$. At least try to mask your greed a little bit with lip service about a scholarship. I give… Read more »
Scott
Guest

Wow!!! Terrible parents, father of golfer, football player and basketball player are ruining sports for their kids. The kids are scared. These kids will quit sports as soon as they can. They will burn out. Sports are suppose to be fun. No positive reinforcement. These kids would be better without their parents. kids will begin to hate their parents. They will hate their sports. Parents are causing psychological scars that will last forever

Mom/grandparent
Guest

These are the worst parents I have ever seen!!! Stop trying to Live your lchildhood through your children!!!! So sad to treat your child like garbage on national TV!!!! I can only imagine how they treat them when the cameras are off!!!! Hugs, support, good words of encouragement, not all those bad words or negativity!!!!! Parents should never train their children!!! How sad…

Soccermoma
Guest

I am sadden when I watch this….I wanna see a update 15 years from now and see what happens to these kids…I have kids in competitive sports and THIS is not how you treat your child.

Guy
Guest

These people don’t realize the scars they are creating. It’s so sad that they have no one to protect the from the villains, bullies masked as their parents. My heart goes out to those kids because when they grow up no one will understand the cause of their dysfunction.

delorest
Guest

I saw this tonight on HBO…..hadn’t seen it before. It’s quite disturbing. The fathers are absolutely abusive! When the kid Justus cried, I cried for him. I was positive that if the cameras hadn’t been on them, the Dad would have hit the boy. Those fathers are mentally and verbally abusive.

Katie7
Guest

I watched it and can’t wait for the rest of the segments. When is the second segment going to be. Can’t seem to find that info anywhere?

Jef Dinsmore
Guest

Though STATE OF PLAY is a series of documentaries it does not, unfortunately, air monthly. Looking ahead all I can say is that it is not in February’s lineup. We will annouce the next installment.

Tracy Bennett
Guest

I woould love to see this and misse dit is there anywhere online to watch this at?

Jef Dinsmore
Guest

If you subscribe to HBO the you can watch it on HBOGo.com.

Tracy B
Guest

where can i watch this at

Darcy Fowler
Guest
I am disgusted and disturbed 1st at the little girl golfers father.HE WANTS A MEAL TICKET. As far as the young man who plays football that father is going to have that young man comitting suicide.THE MOTHER NEEDS TO GROW A SET AND GET HER SON AS FAR AWAY FROM THE MONSTER QUICKLY.THANK GOD JUSTICE MOVED WITH HIS MOTHER.STAY STRONG JUSTICE.YOU DESERVE ALOT BETTER FROM YOUR FATHER THEN YOU WERE GETTING FROM HIM ((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))
delorest
Guest

Absolutely agree…..his Dad is a basket case.

Katie7
Guest

Yes, it was pretty difficult at times to watch. I think they are going to follow up on these kids. So happy the one boy moved back with his mother. These parents are abusing their children. All parents should watch this on how NOT to be.

speddaddy
Guest

It was absolutely disturbing to see what those kids were being put through…as always it is lunatic adults who create the rules that kids have to live by…chose a sport kid then work your ass off for10,000 hours in the hopes that you will make millions of dollars…and make me proud of you…

Amy
Guest

Can’t these parents see the pain they are causing their children. I hope when they see their own behavior, and see the looks ok their kids faces, that it will make them take a long hard look at themselves.

bsalent
Guest

These parent need some fuckin Luvox or something… what a joke this black football dad is provoking his son to stand up to adversity when the biggest adversity in his life is clearly his own father. And why isn’t someone throwing refreshments on this jackass at the basketball game? The next time I see a news story about some kid killing his parents I’ll assume it was the slaughter of one of these horrible parents to turn my frown upside down. Go play sports and be hard on yourselves, dads- give your kids a goddamn break.

cardinal
Guest

Football player…Black is irrelevant.

Rich
Guest

absolutely disgusting. YOu kids should just quit. YOur parents are absolutely nut jobs. And if you want to go work at walmart, its YOUR life! and yes I am a successful business owner and did and built it on MY own, But it was MY decision and MY life. I hope you kids read this. Be your own man or woman. Stand up for yourself.

realist
Guest

liberal soft ass fucks.. with their every kids a winner attitude

Truth Hertz
Guest

Realist. Clowns like you fill therapists’ pockets. Why Are you so concerned about being “soft”? Is being “SOFT” an issue for you?

Katie7
Guest

HUH? What are you talking about? How is this relating to the show? Unless you are one of those teabaggers who hate everyone and everything. What a jerk you are. Bet you are just like those parents if you have children. Let’s hope not.

delorest
Guest

It’s sad….isn’t it? With some people, it’s all about politics!

John
Guest

This documentary is awful. The parents are awful to their children and verbally abusive.

Cresenda Jones
Guest

Parents – insane behavior and NOOOOOO understanding of human development. So sad!! Psychological and verbal abuse.
Ephesians 6:4 – New International Version (NIV)
Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Cresenda Jones
Guest

All l saw in this documentary is child abuse. So sad!!!

Boone
Guest

I’d like to see a follow up down the road showing if these kids stick with their respective sports and if so, how they hold up.

kpetty
Guest

These parents need significant psychological help. They are completely messed up. These kids will have to do much work to put their lives together. The parent’s behaviors are criminal.

Cresenda Jones
Guest

So true. So sad!!

Rob Gibson
Guest

First reaction? Anger at these domineering “parents” for pushing their kids to a near emotional breakdown. Naming calling. Denigration. These parents are pushing their failed dreams onto their kids.

Diane
Guest
Just watched this documentary, and it brought back memories. Widowed with 2 very young sons, we were all dealing with the sudden and extremely tragic loss of my husband and their father. Despite therapy, as my oldest got older, he began to act out, and as he got even older, he began to get in trouble, so I understand the behavior of Justus’ father; HOWEVER, I didn’t yell at my son because he wasn’t playing a sport to the best of what I thought was his ability. And, even during the worst times, I would always tell my son how… Read more »
Pete Sabastian C
Guest
LET ME TELL YOU ALL SOMETHING! I AM 34 YEARS OLD AND I AM JUST COMING FROM BELONG NOTHING MY WHOLE LIFE! I DID NOT HAVE A DAD TO BOTHER YELL AT ME AND MY MOM WORKED AND SLEPT WHILE I SNUCK OUT OF THE HOUSE AND FOUND LOSERS TO HANG OUT WITH WHEN SHE TOLD ME TO DO SOMETHING I LAUGHED BECAUSE SHE HAD NO AUTHORITY OVER ME SHE DID NOT MAKE ME FEAR HER SO I WALKED ALL OVER HER AS A YOUNG MAN AND DID WHAT I WANTED WHEN I WANTED INCLUDING NOT GOING TO SCHOOL! NOW… Read more »
Terry
Guest

A rant that long suggests you are mentally ill. If your all-caps yelling theory were even half true there would be a lot more thugs learning from thug parents and going to prison. As just one of many examples, Justis left his father, and his mother left the man too. I know plenty of good parents you have raised good kids, and none of them approach the tyrannical manipulation of the fathers exposed in this documentary, not by a long shot.

John W Mancini
Guest
I respect your opinion and passion on the subject cause it shows you care. To me, it seems you are only looking at this film in one way and made your mind up. Look at your life and see that you had no father but acted out the way the people you were always around did. You were influenced by what was around you on a daily basis just like these kids. Their dad is on them 24/7. Please be open minded and dont make it a no dad growin up stance. I love my dad but i was by… Read more »
Pete Sabastian C
Guest

on the PS. part… i mint to say my buddy*… is about 15 years older* then me* and that i hunger for chastisement… sorry for the confusion

Dad's Reply
Guest
In no way do I condone what was shown on HBO’s Trophy Kids for real life parenting. If you believe for one moment, these actions weren’t for the cameras, you also are not smart enough to be parents. Have any one of you commenters ever been on camera? It changes the most noble person into what the producer/director wants you to be. This show took a culture of “raising champions” to another level similar to how Honey Boo Boo exploits child beauty pageants. Now, for my take on parenting an athlete to be a champion in real life: Sports are… Read more »
John Anhalt
Guest

Ummm, no. These parents are for real, and where I am, there’s MANY of them at every sport my kids play. I mean, crazy, screaming, emotionally and physically abusive w/ their kids. It’s rampant.

Terry
Guest

If your “camera” theory were even half true than those “actors” would all deserve Oscars. There was too much footage to be caught randomly for these people to be acting. As just one of many examples, Justus left his father, and his mother left the man too. I know plenty of good parents you have raised good kids, and none of them approach the tyrannical manipulation of the fathers exposed in this documentary, not by a long shot.

Joyce Sloan
Guest
What bothers me is that it seems nothing is being done to show these parents what they are doing to their kids. The parents need serious counseling and I hope they are looking at these videos. They curse at their kids, they pressure them and expect them to be happy. They push them and yell at them and think they are going to grow up sane and healthy. It really upsets me that this is just a small microscopic look at many of our parents today. They are the ones who are unfulfilled, unhealthy mentally and emotionally and I would… Read more »
Obsidian71
Guest

Man. Josh still reps UW to the fullest. Guy won two Rose Bowls and a National Championship back in the good ole days. I know he’s hard on Justus but he does know what it takes to win at the highest level. Hope Justus has a great HS and college career.

smlsteve
Guest

The people do not deserve to be parents. They are a bunch of wannabe’s that never made it and think they can try again by trying to act like coaches and living it over through their kids. Justus, Derek and Almari i wish your dads would come to texas and talk that shit we would bury those assholes.

Seeme Incali
Guest
These parents are clowns. TV doesn’t usually affect me like this, but seeing Justus and Derek really made me want to take their dads between the white lines and punish them physically the way they punish their kids mentally. Bullies and clowns that never made it themselves. Someone please find Justus’ dad….please. Apparently he is the toughest cat in California, that was an all american in football. Justus, you are a good looking kid…with the world at your fingertips. Your father is nothing more than a bully and a clown. There will be a time in your life when you… Read more »
Jef Dinsmore
Guest

It is nice to see all these are great heartfelt comments.

I don’t know how the producers found the stories for this piece but they certainly resonate with you all. Don’t you think, though that the extreme stories were somehow found and used? I don’t believe all relationships between between kids and sports and parents are like this.

I do wish we had more intel on how this was made.

skater girl
Guest
I have seen parents like this during my figure skating career. I would see physical abuse at times but mostly mental abuse. These parents suffer from “little person” disease. These are the types of people who had children to perform in their life, how they never could in their own life. They ride their children and become obsessed with making their children succeed because they never could meet the expectation that was set for them. It is so damaging. SO DAMAGING!!!! Parents like this aren’t coaches! If they cannot make the shot, put it in the hole, land that quadruple… Read more »
Ralph Emerson
Guest
There is no reason what so ever to even discuss whether or not Justice’s father is out of line or a bad parent. this man is obviously insane. This is a sick unbalanced man. This situation is a case of bulling plain and simple. This is not a case of an over controlling father this is a case of child abuse. This father needs therapy. I honestly believe that Child Protective Services need to look into this situation. Watching the way this man treats his son actually makes my sick to my stomach. Watching someone bully and abuse a child… Read more »
Lynne
Guest
My thought exactly. I wanted to jump through the screen and punch him dead in the mouth for degrading his boy like that. Shame on him! Poor excuse for a father. So much pressure and mental abuse is affecting this boy. I couldn’t believe the lady driving the car was his mom and that she just sat there and let him verbally attack that poor kid for doing what normal teenage boys do….text their little girlfriends. That man needs anger management or jail. Learn how to be a father instead of trying to act like a coach. If u knew… Read more »
Dad's Reply
Guest

Lynne – Josh’s treatment of his son is WAY out of line, I whole-heartedly agree, but texting during a life-lesson conversation from your father is out of line as well. It’s interesting that the moms on this board are appalled by the rough behavior by over-bearing dads, but when a son disrespects women, then the dad’s to blame too. You can’t have it both ways: either a boy will be taught to be respectful of all things or he won’t, there is no in-between. Give us some ability to oversee raising our boys to be respectful young men!

Truth Hertz
Guest
@ Daddy- You take yourself way too seriously. The kid was texting his girlfriend. His dad wasn’t giving him any life lessons. Go back and watch it again. His father had a problem with his girlfriend because it challenged his control over his son. “She’ll probably just dump you in 6 months.” Where’s the life lesson in that? To become come so unhinged over that is pathetic. It doesn’t make the boy a man to see his dad throw a tantrum. And yelling at his mother doesn’t teach RESPECT FOR WOMEN. Let me guess, you’ve been through a messy divorce… Read more »
Pam0626
Guest
What positive life-lessons about respect do you think this abusive father could possibly teach his son? Hard as it was, I forced myself to re-watch the scene you are referring to, and Justus was not out of line in the least! He was texting his girlfriend way before the dad started his rant and then proceeded to goad his son to the point of tears by saying, quote, “What’s the point in having a girlfriend anyway, she’s just going to dump you”. Justus was embarrassed and scared, and resumed his texting as a defense mechanism to block out his dad.
delorest
Guest

Thanks Pam! Justus was simply being a boy. His Dad was being abusive. I don’t think that he was performing for the cameras. He’s probably worst when the cameras aren’t rolling.

Dad's Reply
Guest

You’re enabling my point exactly, thank you. BTW – how many High School boyfriends did you dump, how many did you Marry? That father, while over the top for cameras, was just spitting reality to his son. Everytime a MAN does that, women get upset. Go back to living in your TV soap opera world, Pam.

Truth Hertz
Guest
@Daddy- you should hear yourself Sweet-Pea, you have problems with women. As well as problems with the English language. I don’t think you meant to use “enabling”. In debate someone doesn’t enable your point so much and they prove or support it. In the present case delorest didn’t prove your point either. She contradicted you by questioning the value of shouting at your child over something so minor. Your point was that a father’s shrill tantrum helps his son learn some life lessons. See, she doesn’t support that at all. Then you blather on about failed relationships with women. I… Read more »
Wen
Guest

My husband watched about 5 minutes of this before I demanded that he change the channel. This is nothing but MENTAL ABUSE!!!

John W Mancini
Guest

So is forcing your hubby to change the channel. Maybe he was into the show and wanted to finish it. Overbearing parents = overbearing wife

cizzlen
Guest

This. So true.

Paris
Guest

These parents are self-absorbed, insecure, pathetic individuals who are projecting their own fear of failure on their innocent children. They are emotionally abusive and act like children themselves. I sincerely hope this documentary will open their eyes. Their good intentions are destroying their children’s confidence, one game, one match at a time.
Justus’ father is a disgrace to Fatherhood.

Pam0626
Guest

Amen to that!

linda420
Guest

They living their dreams thru there children. It made me angry seeing this .

Sharon Shupe
Guest

I know that these parents think they are doing the right thing for their kids but it saddens me. I seriously felt like I wanted to slap these parents! Justus’ father is horrible!!!

Jill
Guest

the mom was right, Justis was afraid of his father in the scene in the car when they get back to Seattle. It was disturbing. That father used his childhood *growing up in Compton* and tried to make his son “tough”. Its a shame to see a talented young man with tons of potential being “beat down” by the ONE person he should be able to count on for support!!! I hope the father watches the airing of the episode and sees what he is doing to his son…before its too late.

Sharon Shupe
Guest

I totally agree Jill. I would love to see follow up with the parent’s comments after they watch their behavior on television. I was disturbed by the little girl (golf) father threatening her as well. These parents are out of control

Jill
Guest
I just can’t believe that Justis’s father talks to him that way and expects his son to respect him. I really hope the father was acting the way he did because the camera was on him. To belittle and degrade your child in the name of “toughing him up” is outrageous. Justis cried more than he spoke during the short time he had on film. The tears in his eyes was heart wrenching. I am just beyond angry at how treating their own child like that and expecting to earn their respect. SMH, this makes me sick to my stomach.
Bridget
Guest
Jill I couldn’t agree w you more. I had to turn the TV off and couldn’t sleep. It was no better than if his dad were punching Justin in the face- abuse is abuse. Worse was seeing the mom just sit there and not advocate for her son. Obviously she was abused by the dad also, and is probably still under her control. Justin was trying as hard as he could to reason w his controlling father, and all his “dad” did was scream like a baby. I don’t think he deserves to be called “dad”. In my eyes Justin… Read more »
Anissa Harvey
Guest

Those parents are terrible. Period. End of story. I could not believe what I just watched. All of the parents except the lady with the twins need counseling.

Hockey Demon
Guest
Watching this brought back memories. I felt so bad for the kids, knowing what they went through made me cringe. I had an overbearing dad, just like the one with the little girl who golfed. I too golfed and ended up being pushed away from the sport because of him. I quit before high school, I had more trophies than I could count and couldn’t continue. He sucked the fun out of it and drove me away from the sport. He tried to do the same with softball until I was able to tell him no more. Do these parents… Read more »
Good coach
Guest

Great Documentary

MC
Guest

Is this online yet?

Father of a College Golfer
Guest
Father of a College Golfer
To the golf Dad, the trophies are for kids not you. You are creating scars that will never mend with your daughter. There is a high likelihood that you have never played competitive golf, had to make a 5ft putt to win anything. My challenge to you is to count the number of times you laugh with your daughter on the course, or just let her skip a day of practice to go have little girl fun. The scholarships are there, the tour is there, but you only get one chance to be the first guy in her life, and… Read more »
Lisa Goodman Stone
Guest

here is my article for ParentingAces.com on the doc: http://parentingaces.com/holding-up-a-mirror-hbos-trophy-kids/

Daniel
Guest

I really liked this documentary. I wish they would have asked the parents why they do this. Does anyone know when the next on is airing? This is a great addition to HBO!

Jef Dinsmore
Guest

It was well done. I agree some better follow-up would have been appreciated. I wish one or more of hte parents would have sat in on hte roundtable afterwards.

As for when the next installments, CULTURE SHOCK and BROKEN, air we do not know. I would say every three months we will see another episode, but that is a guess.

Lisa Goodman Stone
Guest

I couldn’t sleep after watching this film either! I’m very interested to read other’s reactions. If anyone is interested in speaking with me for an upcoming piece on the ParentingAces.com website (for parents of junior tennis players), please contact me at lisa@parentingaces.com.

Jef Dinsmore
Guest

I’m glad you watched it. What is your take on Blake & Tanner and their tennis regimen?

Lisa Goodman Stone
Guest

their training actually looked mild compared to others i’ve seen, but we also saw them at age 14 in the film – i’m guessing things have changed now that they’re in high school.

Jef Dinsmore
Guest

I only singled out their story as the basis of a question because you are involved in tennis.

What struck me most about Blake & Tanner’s story was that they both looked pretty silent and sad as if their mother did all the speaking for them and all she was saying was “they want this” and going on about “God’s will.”

I wasn’t convinced by their demeanor that they really did want it or, at least, the way their mother was going about it.

tblack301
Guest

I agree with you Jef. While their mother did not verbally abuse or physically abuses them she basically let “God” punish them. So if they failed at tennis they failed at like or deserved to fail due to poor living. They like the child playing football seemed neutered emotionally. Everyone one of these parents has lost site of what is really important in the lives of their children. Beyond sad.

Lisa Goodman Stone
Guest
one major thing i found missing in all the stories was the child’s point of view. not once was one of them asked on camera what THEY wanted. it would’ve been interesting to hear their answers to that question! in terms of blake & tanner, one of the boys looked significantly more “into it” than the other even during their practices. and, yes, i think their mom did a very good job of trying to say the right thing even though it still came across as being what SHE wanted and not what her boys wanted. you could definitely see… Read more »
winning isn't the only thing
Guest
winning isn't the only thing

watch the long version without the commentary and you will see Justus say he would rather be happy than play football.

Lisa Goodman Stone
Guest

i did see that in the extended version – thanks! but, didn’t anyone else wonder as they were watching whether these kids’ dreams were in line with their parent’s???

gemit2000
Guest
I sensed that both Amari and Derek loved their sports and took pride in their accomplishments enough to hold the dream, though both felt humiliated by the way their Dads approached “their” dream. Amari’s humiliation was painful to watch because it was obviously painful to her. However you could glimpse her love of the game in the interplay between her and her swing coach who gave her the space to to appreciate her own gifts by letting her see that beautiful swing of hers through his eyes. Derek impressed me with his seemingly ability to maintain a healthy self-differentiation from… Read more »
Mary Ann
Guest

Cried when I saw it. Brought back memories. Wanted my son to be the first to go to college in the family. Thought by getting him interested in basketball, sending him to camps it would help him get there. I was wrong…. most valuable player in high school and he not want to play college ball. Broke my heart. He did not love it…… that makes a difference.
Basketball kept him out of trouble for 4 years. But till this day I always wonder what could have been.

Runner
Guest

Poor Mary Ann still don’t get it.

Mary Ann
Guest
Runner, Yes I do get it. I learned that getting your child into sports is a great way for them to stay out of trouble. That was my intent. He did graduate from high school. I think basketball kept him in school. At the end…… he did not love the game as much as I thought he did…… that is the end of the story. As a parent I can say I tried ( I thought ) for him to have a better life if he went to college. I learned you can bring the horse to the water but… Read more »
Runner
Guest
I’m just becoming a parent so I am not judging you personally on your parental parenting forte. What I am suggesting is that he probably showed signs of not being interested in basketball way before he decided not to play college ball. Personally I did’t want to go to college right out of high school because I had no idea of what I wanted to do next. My parents asked me to go to technical school (no interest) so I went to 4 year school and practically was kicked out (not referring to academic kicked out either). years later I… Read more »
Puckhead
Guest
I am now an adult who was at one point a child of an obsessed dad that made sure I was a hockey nut. I made it to to the NHL (didn’t stay long), but that wasn’t my or my dads dream. He drove me to drive myself, not to be a pro but to be a man that worked my ass of and gave everything I had, no excuses. I now have two kids, a girl that my wife let quit sports, what a mistake, and a son that plays all types of sports. I encourage (to put it… Read more »
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