By Ken "Skip" Hill
Sometimes, I hear things and I just cringe. I completely understand that the situation I am going to discuss can happen to any kid and any parent and is not always specifically related to bodybuilding but at least in this instance, it IS directly related. Out of respect, I am not going to give away personal details about the people involved as I am already perceived as a giant dick when I take a victim and out him/her, or in this case, out them.
I have a friend that I have known since I was in the 6th grade. We don’t talk all the time and we don’t get together as frequently as we would like, but when we talk, it is like we just spoke yesterday. Last weekend we were touching base and after I gave him a hard time about us needing to get together, he told tell me a story about something that happened to him the other day and I couldn’t believe how small of a world it is. I will say that this could have happened in Denver but he travels quite a bit so it could have happened in California or Florida, as well. (That’s my little out so that I don’t look like I am going after anyone in particular.)
My friend said that he works with a guy that coaches kids (we will call him Coach) and they got to talking the other day at work. Now, my friend (we will call him Slappy because …. well... because it’s kind of funny to call him Slappy and it’s my story) can be a pretty cynical guy sometimes, but he made it a point to say that he likes Coach and that he seems like a pretty good guy. That said something to me because usually Slappy can’t stand most people he works with or comes into contact with. Slappy could stand to be a bit more positive but that is for another rant on another day.
Slappy has competed and trained for years and Coach has worked out for quite a while as well so they got to talking about working out, the sport, etc. Slappy made a comment that he sometimes can’t stand how people in the sport act and how selfish they can be. This prompted Coach to tell a little story.
Coach has had a kid on his team for the last couple of years that he usually takes to and from practices and games. This kid hangs out with his son quite a bit by staying over at his house, going out to dinner with him and his family, etc. The parents aren’t able to take the kid to practices and games so the Coach stepped up and usually does this so that the kid can play and be a part of the team. I know how this goes because I coach baseball and sometimes you just can’t get your kid to practice or to a game on time due to a conflicting schedule. It happens.
Coach went on to explain that he is responsible for getting the kid to and from practice and games 90% of the time and has invested several hundred dollars in feeding the kid with no offer from the parents to pay for the kid’s dinners or other expenses. Slappy could here the irritation in Coach’s voice as he was saying this. He added that the parents are rarely at the games either and when they do come it is only an inning or two before the game ends. Apparently, the kid is bothered by this and is usually disappointed – and with good reason. You are probably thinking, “Hey, parents are busy and it’s hard to get out to all of your kids’ practices and games.” And you would usually be right in saying that. But not in this case. How do I know this? I KNOW who these parents are.
I was mortified when Slappy told me the names of the parents. I honestly sat there and didn’t know what to say because it struck me as quite sad. I am not a perfect parent so I am being careful here but I will tell you what I do know: First, mom doesn’t work and hasn’t for years. When she does show up at the end of games it is with a giant jug of water and dressed “all goofy” for the gym (those are coach’s words, not mine). The other parents usually talk about how the mom is dressed and I can only imagine what they must be saying. You might think that the fat parents were jealous of her but I can assure you they aren’t. If someone doesn’t work, what in the hell else do they have to do that would keep them from getting their kid to practice or to watch his games? Tan? Workout? Cardio? Not sure where Dad is in all of this either but at least Dad works so he has an excuse, albeit a weak one. This kid is an only child so it isn’t like they are overloaded with too many kid activities.
The point of this story should be obvious. I see selfish, narcissistic people all the time and they make me want to puke. When it impacts innocent kids, that’s just incredibly unfair. A lot of my rants are basically saying, “don’t act like this”. Work to show this sport in a positive light and make the people you interact with think, when you walk away from them, “he/she is nothing like I would have expected. What a nice, thoughtful person with a big smile”. Most reading this will have to admit that this is not the impression most “regular” people get after meeting or speaking with a bodybuilder for the first time. Be a good representation of the sport and don’t let the sport define you. Instead of perpetuating the stereotype, please be a part of the solution. If you don’t, expect me to blast you in my next Rant. Just sayin’.