maybe print it up and hand it to him. Most parents won't see themselves as ruining their kids experience but instead thonl they are only pushing to help him out. It's easy to start thinking that way until a reality chevk comes up
Contrary to what you will no doubt infer from the following lines, my
father is a great man—not a jerk. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam
and started a third tour before getting injured. Racing motocross is what I
wanted to do since my earliest what-I-wanna-be-when-I-grow-up thoughts. He
gave me that opportunity when I was 11 years old, and I will always be
grateful to him for it. My dad, like any good parent, wanted me to have the
opportunities he never had, to live the dreams he never go to, but sometimes
he got so wrapped up in his dreams for me that he forgot about my dreams.
Eventually I got the chance to race my first race in the 80cc Beginner
class at De Anza Cycle Park. I got dead last in both motos and I loved it!
There was just something about leaving the start gate with 15 other riders
that got my adrenaline going—so much so that I looped out right out of the
gate in the second moto in an attempt to get a better start. I loved those
days. I loved getting up in the morning too early to open my eyes to drive
to the track on the weekends. I loved riding motorcycles.
It was rather infrequent at first, but sometimes, especially at the bigger
races, if I didn’t do well, my dad would say some mean things to me. He
would say things like “You’re worthless” and “Why did we drive out here so
you could ride around the track like a wimp on a Sunday ride?” He started
to forget why we were doing it. It was supposed to be for fun and bonding,
but he actually, genuinely got his feelings hurt if I fell or rode poorly in
I came off the track at Perris Raceway during the Night Series after
finishing midpack. I knew I’d had a poor race, and I knew my dad knew it
too. I had pretty heavy arm pump, and I was expecting to hand over the bike
to him in the pits so he could put it on the stand, and I could get my gear
off. I knew he’d be upset. I parked the motorcycle next to the stand and
watched as my dad walked up—I could tell he was pissed. As I reached down
to turn the gas off, I heard a loud smack inside my helmet. I almost fell
off my bike. My dad had delivered an open handed blow across my head—helmet
on, of course—but he was that upset—so upset that he hit me.
Racing never really got the fun back for me. It’s had a negative
connotation in my mind since I was in my very early teens. All because,
ultimately, my dad wanted me to be Jeremy McGrath more than he cared about
having fun. I wasn’t around when Jeremy was coming up through the ranks,
but I could almost guarantee you that Jeremy’s father never screamed at him
for losing, or threatened him in any way. That’s part of why he is where he
is, at the top of our sport.
If you don’t think your child tried hard enough, or cares enough, he’s not
going to try any harder or care any more if you force him to. Actually, it’
ll probably have quite the opposite effect.
If you’re a mini parent, you can take it from me that what your kid wants
most is to have fun. Chances are that he or she won’t ever ride a factory
bike, and chances are even better that you’ll never get the money back out
of motocross racing that you put into it. The focus should be more on
whether or not your kid has a smile under that helmet, and less on whether
or not your kid beat so-and-so’s kid. It’s ridiculous to spend
college-tuition money on racing in the hopes that some day Junior will sign
a multimillion-dollar contract to race motorcycles.
Little 12-year-old Timmy isn’t racing for the 250cc Supercross
championship. He’s racing for fun.
I have a success story to tell about this subject.
I am NdKxRacer's dad, and I started out being a little to hard on my son when he wasn't doing what I thought he should be doing on the track. Then when I was talking to another spectator at the end of the races, he asked how things had went and I said not as well as "I" had wanted. He then asked if my son had had fun, and I said Yes. He then said, Isn't that all that really matters. That got my head turned around and I remembered why we bought the dirt bikes in the first place, TO HAVE FUN, plain and simple. Since I got my priorities in line, our family has had a lot of fun going to the races.
Now the next part of the story. Another local rider has been struggling a bit in his races and it is his first year racing. He has crashed out, had poor starts, etc. and his dad would just come back to the pits mad as hell that his son wasn't meeting "HIS" expectations. So I have been kinda working on him to lighten up and get him to think about what he is doing to his son by putting all the pressure on him over getting a plastic trophy. I have seen him changing, so maybe he is changing, and I can't say that what I have said has helped, but I am feeling a lot better about the way we both act at the track. I hope that more racing parents will learn that this sport isn't about them, it's about the kids and learning from their own mistakes and improving at their own pace.
Wow, and I thought I had it bad because my Dad didn't do anything with me. I have a 3 year old son of my own now. Trying to keep everything in balance is tough. I wan't him do stuff on his bike a certain way, shoot a ball a certain way and he just smiles and does it his way. Pretty funny actually, more relaxing to just let him have fun. He seems to pick up on stuff anyway without being force fed. :)
Thanks for the info. The I think I will try to very carefully touch on this subject next time I am at the track. The other thing is its made me think about my situation as well which was not what I started out at. Again thanks guys.
Wow, I guess that I have it kindof lucky. My father knows diddly about riding, so whenever he sees me ride or race, his comment is "that is the best I have ever seen you ride!" My friends on the other hand harass me and bereat me into submission if I do not ride on the absolute edge of control.
Ther are many parents at the local track like the ones in the story. There is a father that has a little 8 year old girl that races. She was stepping up to a 60 and she had trouble with the whole concept of shifting and clutch control. Her father looked very angry and was yelling causing the girl to cry. I wanted to help, but did not think that I should bust into other peoples business. IT is really sad how some people treat their kids if they are not perfct. :(
I think in a case like that, it would be ok to go up to the girl and tell her what a great job she did out there. Then, to the father, something like "she sure looked great out there, huh?..." You can give advice, without giving advice, so to speak.
My kid has been involved in many sports and unfortunately these kind of fathers show up everywhere at one time or another. The way I see it if the kid really wants to do it (what ever it is) he will work hard at it and do the best he can (that's all anybody could ever ask of their kids anyway). My kid is so hard on himself that if I was hard on him to it would crush him. I think words of encouragement (in good times and bad) is the best thing in any sport a kid decides to play.
I saw a mini kid do a hard faceplant in the whoops. I started over to the kid when another kid rode by and accidently hit the kids helmet with his footpeg. It looked ugly. Just as I was about the get to the kid his a-hole father came over and yanked the kid up by the shoulders (who was still face down and crying), picked the kid off the ground and shouted "Get back on the @#$&%$ bike!". The guy never asked if the kid was alright or even look at his face to see if all his teeth were still there! Me and several other parents wanted to smack the guy. You gotta tell you kids that they did a good job and smile no matter what place they finish.;)
KTM has a great code of ethics on their website that serves as a good outline for how to interact and involve your children in this great sport http://www.ktmusa.com/minicode.htm.
1. Select the proper motorcycle to match your child's ability.
2. Teach safety and fundamentals. Speed will come with confidence.
3. Practice. Practice. Practice.
4. Inspect your child's motorcycle thoroughly after each practice or race to insure safety.
5. Do not scrimp on safety gear. This stuff really works. Do not let your child ride without it.
6. Be patient, all children learn at different rates. Encourage your child with positive reinforcement and praise.
7. Ask questions and learn from other Pee Wee parents.
8. Encourage good sportsmanship. Set a good example for your child.
9. Winning is not as important as doing the best you can.
10. If winning does become so important that you find yourself upset or stressful, then take a break from racing and reevaluate your feelings. Remember: sharing in the spirit of competition with your child is the true reward.
11. Do not let yourself become a possessed Pee Wee parent. Pressuring your child is counter-productive. IT WILL NOT MAKE YOUR CHILD A BETTER RIDER.
hmmm. I found this rummaging down here in the DRN basement. I know there are a few of these with similar stories over the years. However, I haven't seen any on this topic in the last 12 months though, oddly. Thought I'd bring it up for air.