JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Ouch

The lesson from this video is supposed to be courage and toughness, and I 100 percent get that. Courage and toughness, however, have become cliches, to a certain degree. We use the words to celebrate everything. So-and-so is so courageous … so tough … so mentally strong. You don’t win by winning, you win by trying. On and on.

I don’t disagree, of course, but I do think another lesson should be learned here: Know the abilities of your athletes before you place them in harm’s way. Having run track in college and high school, I never tried the high jump, the long jump or the pole vault. Why? Because I would have brutalized myself. Surely the dad in this video—who is also the girl’s coach—knew his daughter wasn’t a good hurdler. I mean, it’s no fluke—she’s just not made to do this event. So why sign her up? Why not find something, ahem, less harmful? A nice distance run. A sprint. even if she’s doomed to place last in those events, she won’t kill herself.

The dad sees this video as an ode to strength. I see it as a dad not looking out for his kid’s best interests.