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American Football

The Fine Line of Raising an Athlete

All around the world there are children that dream of being professional athletes.

Whether it is football in America or cricket in Australia, as time goes on there are stories about athletes that were born and raised to become great athletes. The development of these athletes is what can make or break them as competitors or people.

The notorious story of Todd Marinovich also known as “Robo Quarterback” is the poster child of how pressures from parenting can lead to a man/woman crumbling.

From the day Marinovich was in a crib his father, Marv Marinovich would perform stretching exercises to his infant. Marv was in the NFL himself for a couple of years before becoming one of the NFL’s first strength and conditioning coaches. Todd’s entire life was a strict diet and workout regimen to create the “perfect quarterback.”

Todd became a star quarterback at Orange County high school where he began to get recognized. Garnering awards and breaking long lasting passing records in front of the eyes of America after an article by Sports Illustrated named him “Robo QB.”

Todd decided to take his talents to University of Southern California (USC), where he was provided freedom to the world. Finding himself in trouble for breaking team rules and failing drug tests, Todd began to head down a dangerous road.

In 1991, Todd was drafted by the Oakland Raiders ahead of Brett Favre, yes, Favre. Todd Marinovich was talented enough in many eyes to be drafted ahead of an American household name. If it weren’t for his off the field issues, the younger Marinovich  would have been seen as one of the greatest quarterback prospects in NFL history.

After three years of playing for the Raiders, Todd was out of the NFL and wound up being arrested nine times and garnered five felonies.

He now is a recovering drug addict that has found a new passion in art. Todd is the example of how raising an athlete can go completely wrong. He had all of the talent in the world, but, it takes a unique person to be able to handle the immense pressure he was under his entire life.

 

There are different methods to creating the superior athlete all around the world

 

There are different methods to creating the superior athlete all around the world. Ye Shiwen was not molded into a great athlete by her parents; instead, she was put into a sport school in China at the very young age of six.

Shiwen was raised her entire life to become a swimmer through rigorous training by her school.

And she has not disappointed, at the age of just 16, Shiwen won the 400 and 200 meter individual races breaking records in each race and bringing home two gold medals in the 2012 Olympics.

Bryce Harper is a baseball prodigy whose story before him was unheard of. Harper decided to forgo his junior and senior years of high school and acquired a GED, making it possible to attend the Junior College of Southern Nevada for one year and shortly after Harper left for the MLB draft.

Harper’s childhood was spent constantly playing baseball. His father has spent countless hours on the baseball field with Harper ever since he was able to swing a bat. Whether it was hitting bottle caps to increase his ability to see the baseball or working on fielding drills, Harper’s father has ingrained baseball ability into his son.

Unlike Todd Marinovich, Harper has had a successful career up this point. Harper made his MLB debut at just 19 years old and is the starting left fielder for the team that drafted him, the Washington Nationals. Among his successes, Harper became just the fifteenth player in MLB history to hit 50 home runs before the age of 22 this season.

Just as tying your shoes in the morning, there is no correct way to raise an athlete. It comes down to how badly does the child want to be great at a sport. And most of all, if they even want to be good at a sport.

 

By: Travis Green

Travis is currently attending Colorado State University for Journalism and Media Communication. He is the sports anchor for CTV 11 Sports and an associate producer for ROOT Sports' Rams Report.