Two Cents: ‘Sports Kids’ Provides Frightening Dose of Reality (6/10/05)

(I worked as a Sports Editor from late 2004 until the summer of 2006. This is one of the many columns I was able to save that were originally published in The Sun-Times of Heber Springs, Arkansas.)

I think in 20 years, television will have come full circle. In the year 2025 we won’t flip on the tube to be entertained after a hard day at work, school or play. We’ll instead simply sit in a comfy chair on the porch and watch the world around us like we did before the tellie was invented.

With more and more reality shows spawning from the exploitive minds of marketing geniuses that have become network executives, the days are quickly becoming numbered for well written and well-acted programming. Don’t get me wrong, I dig on a few reality shows, but those constitute about one percent of what’s available.

Bravo might have stumbled on to a new trend, however. Adding sports to the reality TV trend is genius.

(And I mean legitimate sports. Not bizarre exhibitions in bad taste like ‘Fear Factor’ or the nonsensical combination of basketball and wire-fu like that weird show that was on Spike TV.)

After all, sports is the original keepin’ it real TV. Sometimes real questionable, like when the Fab Five from ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ made over the Boston Red Sox Wednesday night.

I don’t even know where to begin. I could get a whole column out of it, but I wouldn’t be able to convey the nightmare-like surrealism that I was drowning in while watching.

Now that this has aired, the Red Sox have probably destroyed all the good karma they earned for beating the Yanks and ending ‘The Curse’ last year.

I wouldn’t be surprised if my great, great grandson is writing about ‘Son of The Curse’ 80 years from now.

What I was really tuning into Bravo for was so I could keep another running diary on all the fantastical happenings on ‘Sports Kids Moms & Dads’, which is starting now…

9:00 – “Previously on Sports Kids Moms and Dads:” Mike Gaines was horrified, nauseated, and amused. Is it just me or does the theme music sound like a cross between Beethoven and Master P?

9:03 – Sharon, the mother of cheerleader Sarah, is “cutting down on caffeine” because it makes her nervous. She checks Sarah out of school early to go try on cheerleader outfits. Sharon prefers hot pink outfits that show off Sarah’s body. I just threw up in my hand.

9:06: – Erika, Trenton’s mom, looks on as Craig and Trenton play football in the house. I wonder if this kid has ever even seen a coloring book or an action figure. Craig says that it’s more important to have five little jobs than one good one because of Craig’s training.

9:09 – Equestrian mom Karen is burned out, lamenting a missed life and suggests other horse parents let the trainer do everything. This mom is a shoo-in for the ‘Doh!’ award. Karli admits she has a C average because she rides too much. Karen says she doesn’t want to spend her day off with an obnoxious teenager, then goes to practice her lines for ‘A Streetcar named Resentment’.

9:15 – Figure skater Bryce looks like he’s about to have a meltdown while Herr Vicki softens the blow with a harsh ‘Achtung!’ Bryce’s brother lovingly says Bryce isn’t very good. Dad just said if Bryce falls it’s because “He sucks”. A montage is shown where his mom Kim says “Double Axel” about 40 times in 10 seconds.

9:18 – Lindsay says she feels like T.J. is breathing down her neck and won’t let her go to parties where she can “shake her booty”, and then admits she has a weakness for boys. I smell a boot camp in Lindsay’s future.

9:19 – Sharon gently tells Sarah she “totally screwed up” during practice. Sarah’s cheer coach is named Miss Nicole, which coincidentally is her dominatrix name. Mistress Nicole just said Sarah needs to get more involved in cheerleading. If she became more involved, she would preface every statement with, “Ready, OK!”

9:27 – Hey! Trenton’s playing bass! There’s hope yet! Erika has tricked herself into thinking Craig isn’t re-living his dream through Trenton. When Trenton ecstatically talks about playing the bass, he looks like he’s about to explode with rock.

9:29 – T.J.’s coaching demeanor makes Bobby Knight look like a pacifist. Lindsay makes the game clinching free throws. Strangely T.J. isn’t shown giving her daughter praise, but she tells the camera. I’m sure that’ll help the cameraman’s confidence next time he drives the lane with the game on the line.

9:32 – Karli is dragged out of bed at 3:30 a.m. to go train in Pennsylvania with Bruce Davidson. Wasn’t he the guitarist for Kiss? Apparently not, because he looks just like Jimmy Durante and sounds like the chairman of the lollipop guild.

9:40 – Bryce wants to do homework. Kim would rather he skate. I wonder if she feeds him chocolate instead of vegetables. He wants to keep the “rink out of home” but his mom chooses to beat him over the head with it.

9:42 – Miss Nicole just said 8-year-old Sarah isn’t “reaching her potential”. What the… Sarah has more extracurricular activities than child labor laws will allow. Sarah’s brother said their mom’s dance troupe, the ‘Little Wranglers’, isn’t gay because “We dress like cowboys”.

9:45 – Tony, Trenton’s passing coach, is shown strutting onto the field like it’s the set for ‘Elimidate’ and saying, “I feel bad because now I have to go beat up on an 8-year-old”. Craig says Trenton has a 10 second cry rule for when he gets hurt. Trenton says he can’t stop crying because he’s being taped. There’s no shame in saying you’re crying because a big black man three times your age is beating the crap out of you.

9:52 – Kim won’t let Bryce forget that she’s paying for this. Watching this is like watching the seeds of psychosis being sowed. Someone call Dr. Melfi. The only words Kim ever says to Bryce are skating related. I guess she doesn’t realize ice skates have blades on the bottom of them.

9:54 – T.J. admits she hasn’t been keeping a close eye on Lindsay’s grades, now she’s punishing Lindsay for bad marks by keeping her out of practice. She also loses phone, music, TV, and friend privileges. I’m not sure, but I think she’s also limiting Lindsay to 20 breaths per half hour.

9:56 – Karli is told that her horse Disco is being sold. They are all devastated, but maybe they should have thought before shipping a $40,000 horse from New Zealand. Did they think they were getting Shadowfax or something? Aren’t there far more reasonably priced horses in America?

9:59 – Highlights from next week include Karli saying, “I hate this”; scenes that show a grandmother’s love might save Bryce; and Sarah’s mom revealing that Sarah’s biggest competition is the girl with the fruit basket on her head.

Categories: sports, television

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