posted by Matt W on July 20th, 2011

There is a co-worker of mine that always brags about his son’s ability at football. He apparently is an excellent quarterback, and has always lead the league in both passing and rushing, a true All-star. He has been going to an elite athlete training facility for the past 5 years, multiple days a week, to work on becoming an even better quarterback going forward. Coaches continually talk to this father about having this kid come to their school to be their quarterback. All is great in this picture… except the fact that he is 12 years old.

A few additional facts to clarify the picture, Dad is an excellent athlete but is about 5’9” tall. Mom is a beautiful, petite woman who is approximately 5’ tall. I use the words about and approximately to give them the benefit of the doubt as there is no way either is as tall as they say. Now I admit that I am no geneticist and that my calculations are a guess at best but I’m thinking this kid will be lucky if he sprouts up to his dad’s height of “ 5’9” ”. So what we have here is the Todd Marinovich training technique in Doug Flutie’s body. Not exactly the model for success that most current NFL players have used.

So as not to completely dash the hopes of all future children who are trying something that hasn’t worked in the past I will say two things. Doug Flutie was an excellent quarterback in college, the CFL and the NFL. Every time that someone wrote him off he proved them wrong. He overcame the odds and was awesome. And secondly, fathers that participate in their children’s lives are certainly to be commended instead of castigated. There certainly isn’t a very high bar for fathering and most of the fathers fall short based almost entirely on apathy. My point is more that I think it is important for the parent to provide opportunities for children in areas that THEY want to excel in, not in areas that DAD wants’ “his boy” to excel in. I have a hard time believing that as a 7-year-old you are driven to be the best QB in the area, you are just happy to get all that attention. “Sure, I’ll be a quarterback. Sure, I’ll ride a bike with you. Sure, I’ll eat slugs with you.” You get my point. My guess is that Doug Flutie did a lot of different things well and then as an older kid decided that HE wanted to excel at football and with hard work and determination he did. Todd Marinovich’s dad pushed him to be an NFL quarterback from a very young age when apparently that’s not exactly what HE wanted to be.Flutie ended up a star in the NFL, and Todd ended up in jail for selling pot, although luckily for him he was 6’6” and 250 pounds.

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