How to raise a self-indulgent, entitled athlete in 13 easy steps

They are in the news practically every day. The superstar who thinks he’s above the team. The guy that is amazing on the field, and a complete train wreck off it. The guy who seemingly has it all, then blows it by making poor choices and exhibiting even worse behavior.  From Ben Roethlisberger to Tiger Woods to Lance Armstrong, we’ve seen it over and over. And while it seemingly blows up in the media in one or two days, it takes a lifetime to reach this state. So how do you raise a wealthy, worshipped, successful spoiled athlete? You’ve got to start early, and use this guide.

  1. Make sure everything your athlete touches is brand new. No used equipment or brother’s hand-me-downs for your budding superstar. Second hand is for losers.
  2. Buy only the top level equipment, the kind the pros use. Special order it if you have to, or get your buddy’s cousin, who is the assistant equipment manager for the Green Bay Packers, to hook you up. If you want to be the best, you’ve got to have the best.
  3. Get a large wheelie bag for your athlete because there is no way they will be able to fit all that expensive equipment, extra matching warm up suit and custom stuff into a regular old bag. And you don’t want them to strain something pulling it out to the car, so wheel it yourself.
  4. When you get home, your superstar is bound to be tired so do him a favor and take care of his equipment, wash the uniforms by hand and hang it to dry while he plays Xbox. Do you think A-Rod washes his own stuff?
  5. Filling water bottles is for lesser players. Your player needs to get stretched and focused. As a matter of fact, just take that on yourself, and make sure it’s filtered water from a glacier in Finland.
  6. Sign up for the off-season elite training camp with the former pro superstar. Make sure you let everyone know that your player is working out with the pros. Name drop it as often as possible.
  7. Don’t ask your little superstar-in-the-making to help out with routine household chores. He needs his down time, and besides, if you miss an elite training camp session because he pulled a muscle emptying the dishwasher, how would that look?
  8. Talk to the coach before, during and after every game so that he understands how important it is that your athlete start every game, because those scouts can’t hang around for the whole game and they’ll want to get in a good look.
  9. Help your player understand that sometimes coaches just don’t recognize talent. That’s why those other kids sometimes play while your player sits on the bench. Then leave another message for the coach.
  10. Make sure that your player gets his due. Of course people are going to want to give you things, because everyone wants to be associated with a winner. And your player should have those things; he’s worked hard for them. People have no right to refuse your player when he has worked this hard.
  11. And when you work that hard, you should be allowed to blow off some steam. Elite athletes are under a lot of pressure and sometimes drinking, carousing and hanging out at parties are just what they need to relieve the stress.
  12. Grades and homework really aren’t that important. There are plenty of sources on the Internet to help with writing that paper or taking that test. It’s not cheating, it’s collaborating. When the big college signs your player, they’ll have someone to take care of that stuff so your player can devote himself to sports. Besides, his teacher is a big sports fan.
  13. Start screening publicists and advisers to prepare for the inevitable media and recruiting interviews. Take out a second mortgage if necessary. A new house, complete with an Escalade and satellite dish, is just a signing bonus away.

Follow these steps and someday you’ll see your player’s name on this blog, or you might get interviewed for a story on Spoiled Athlete Syndrome. But by then, it won’t matter, because the only story greater than the sports hero is the fallen sports hero making his way back to greatness, right?

4 Comments on “How to raise a self-indulgent, entitled athlete in 13 easy steps”

  1. Excellent list. So sad..but so true. My son is in his last year of coach pitch and it’s amazing how many kids strike out even while using a ($100 plus) DeMarini.

    Truth is… I had my daughter carry her own stuff without a bag of any type until she was 9. It was only a bat and a helmet…she did not even have spikes.

    I will admit that she does get away without doing many house chores though…she will always tell me she feels like doing more drills or something in lieu of dusting a baseboard. I guess at the end of the day a more perfected technique will serve her better than clean baseboards will serve me.

    • Bench Coach Dad,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. My daughter gets out of a lot of baseboard cleaning by pulling the homework card. But at least both our kids are doing something productive and not lazing around while we do all the work.

  2. Len Rose says:

    I have been to spring training as a Phillies fan and witnessed many “entitled” athletes. I will never forget one athlete that was totally the opposite. For a brief time, at the end of his career, Dale Murphy played for the Phillies. He would make time for the kids, signing autographs and talking with them. One day at Veterans Stadium he was surrounded by kids wanting an autograph. I knew by this time that he was a class act, so I waited with my son to see how he would end this. There was no way he could take care of everyone there. After a good amount of time, he told the kids that he had to leave, but that his friend had something for them. The security guard that had been with him them handed out autographed picture cards to all of the kids. I’m guessing that he was raised by a different set of standards than what you listed above!

  3. Stacey says:

    Really enjoyed your article and will be thinking about some of these things when my son starts flag football this fall!

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