One In a Million, Chance of a Lifetime

A friend was posting on Facebook about the abominable behavior of some parents at youth sports events. “Asshats!”  He suggested that three facts need to be kept in mind:
1. 2% of College Students receive some form of athletic scholarship.

2. Ergo, going to class and getting good grades is important, if one wants to attend college.

3. Parents need a reality check.

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As usual, my thoughts turned to wondering what motivates this horrendous behavior?  It’s a combination of wish-thinking/belief and ex-post facto rationalization of the results.  The wish thinking is in the hope that they might win the lottery of sports scholarships and not have to pay for college.

Not to get too “big-picture”… but everyone wants the golden ticket. The chance of winning the lottery doesn’t deter people buying lottery tickets. The chance for a multi-million dollar professional contract, or a free ride to college doesn’t deter people from pushing their children into sports and acting like asshats in spite of the odds of their child ever receiving a single cent of compensation for their dribbling skills.

So why don’t we see “asshats” yelling at their lottery ticket vendor?  In the lottery the winning balls are picked by whims of fate by puffs of air in that rotating drum. No one blames the drum, or the air, or the other balls when their chosen numbers don’t come up.

But in sports… oh, it’s so clear!! The reason their little daffodil didn’t make it to a D-1 scholarship can be EASILY pinpointed to the failures of her coaches. Human nature: We seek explanations for negative outcomes and tend to attach “truth” to those explanations that don’t involve accepting painful truths that make us admit negative conclusions about ourselves or our kids, like, “Maybe he’s just not that good” or “Damn, all those thousands of dollars I plowed into this ‘investment’ aren’t going to pay off.  I was foolish!”

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