I’m not a big fan of killing. Generally, if I want to inspire a change in behavior, I find maiming or heavy duty ridicule to be more effective. But if we truly want to stop today’s insane family activity load, the only sure-fire way is to assassinate the World’s Most Competitive Parents.
Before I get into the killing stuff, let me identify the World’s Most Competitive Parents, and why I’ve decided they must be violently removed from the face of the earth.
If you have a child that’s in an extracurricular activity of any type (basketball, dancing, swimming, jai alai), you’ll find the amount of hours required to merely participate has drastically changed over the last 30 years.
Back when I was a young ‘un, I played basketball. In middle school, we practiced after school, and had some away games during the week. I can actually recall many hours spent, at home, doing absolutely nothing. (These were the days before video games, remember, so what else could I do?)
Fast forward (way forward) to today’s kids. Now if you participate in a sport, you’re required to practice 4-6 hours a night, and then compete dawn to dusk on weekends, travelling to faraway lands to do battle against kids from other faraway lands.
Because of this grueling lifestyle, our family has spent a grand total of fifteen minutes over the last five years in our own house. And that was to let the dog out.
We’ve spent more on extra-curricular fees, equipment, and hotels then we have on college savings. Worse, because we’re so cash-strapped, I haven’t purchased a new set of underwear in five years. (More details and shocking video footage of this later.)
Who brought us to this lowly state? Surely it’s not the kids. They’re happy to be yanked out of school mid-week so we can fly to Cairo for a basketball tournament. Or to spend every waking minute immersed in their favorite activity instead of having to spend torturous moments with family at the dinner table.
I also don’t think my fellow parents are the cause. I look at them at these events, and they have the same, beleaguered expressions as I do. Their credit cards are all melted into little plastic lumps, overheated from continuous swiping to pay for all this madness.
So who’s behind this all? The World’s Most Competitive Parents, that’s who.
Meet the A–holes
Let’s define the World’s Most Competitive Parents. These are people who may not be the most financially successful or physically fit people in the world. Their kid(s) may not be extremely skilled or driven in their respective activity. But what distinguishes these parents is that they want their kids to be the best – the very best – and they will stop at nothing to ensure that happens.
I believe the title of Most Competitive Parents is transferred through the years, but it began many moons ago, when a couple believed their child just wasn’t getting enough practice. They decided more game time was in order, so they organized weekend tournaments.
Then they believed that playing local competition wasn’t good enough, so they organized tournaments an hour outside of town. Then two hours. Soon you needed not only a jockstrap but a passport to be on the team.
What about the rest of us lemmings, er, parents? How come we’ve accepted this fate?
Understand that as Americans, we embrace the idea of competition. It’s what creates winners, and in case you haven’t noticed, America is number 1. I subscribe to this notion, and I will outwork and outperform any foreigner who tries to steal our title (as long as I don’t have to do it on weekends and I get an hour break for lunch.)
We push ourselves, then we realize that’s not a lot of fun, so we push our kids. And that’s great, to a point. When you have to sell crack to make enough cash to pay for those $400 swimsuits or those $250 basketball shoes, then things have gone too far.
It’s all because the World’s Most Competitive Parents keep pushing the envelope. Whenever they sense someone in out-working, out-practicing, or out-whatevering them, they pile on more practices and tournaments. We hate them, yet we are powerless to stop them.
Until now. My latest epiphany was created to put an end to the World’s Most Competitive Powers through a historically-proven method: Assassination. I say off with their heads.
Kill the Stricklands
Before I decide to kill anyone, I always check with my wife. I explained my plan and the reasoning behind it. After listening to me and then downing a glass of wine in one gulp, she assured me that not only was it illegal to commit murder, it would also be highly ineffective.
“The competitive gene is Al Qaeda-like,” she explained. “Chop off the head, and many will take it’s place.”
“Not so,” I countered. “Remember, the rest of us follow the alpha-competitive parents blindly. If people see that the penalty for pushing the envelope too far is a violent and messy death, they may show a little restraint.”
By this point, the rest of the wine was gone and she was snoring on the couch, which, to me indicates her approval.
I went to the computer, and Googled “Special Forces.” A number appeared on the screen, and I called it.
“Hello?” a man answered.
“Is this Special Forces? I need to order a raid.”
“Who is this? How did you get this number?”
“You’re on Google, dude. Everyone’s on Google.”
He sighed. “Dang, those guys find everybody. Well, sir, Special Forces generally only does work for the Pentagon, but this is kind of a slow week, so whaddya got?”
I explained the objective: Find the World’s Most Competitive Parents and exterminate them. In plain public sight, so that it would be a lesson for all those other ultra-competitive jerk-offs who don’t see the value of weekend long lounge-a-thons.
“Got it,” said my Special Force guy. “We’ll have an attack plan in place. But you’re going to need to locate those parents.”
“I’m on it,” I said.
Under an assumed guise, which included an elaborate mustache and a Fez, I began attending weekend basketball tournaments, dance competitions, gymnastic meets, etc. I found the sleep-deprived parents in the stands, and asked them who was the organizing force behind the event.
Eventually, I found those organizing people, and asked them who the national organizing parents were, and so on, and so on. I climbed this hierarchical ladder to such a staggering height that I reached the grand pooh-bah of competitive parents: Don and Denise Strickland.
The Strickland’s competitive zeal was the stuff of legend. Each of their children had a treadmill in their respective bedrooms. Each kid was forced to fill a trophy case before the age of 5. Each kid was predetermined to be pre-law and pre-med, all before pre-school.
These were the sonsabitches who were ruining it for everyone. These people were lunatics, beyond the brink of reasoning. I gave the orders to my Special Forces connection. “Kill the Stricklands,” I whispered. And this is where the epiphany went completely wrong.
It turns out the Strickland kids weren’t in sports. They were in a pre-Special Forces training camp, with over 100 other hyper-competitive, hard-training young commandos. I sort of forgot to mention this to the Special Forces commander.
My team air-dropped into the location, took ten steps into the compound, and were surrounded by the Special Forces trainees. They put up a good fight for a while, but were soon overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of commandos.
Naturally, it was the Strickland kids who slit my team leader’s throat, but not before he coughed up my name as the instigator. I write this, huddled in my home, awaiting my inevitable fate.
I’m going to be killed in a horrible manner, but please don’t be discouraged. You can pick up where I left off, and hunt down the World’s Most Competitive Parents. I truly believe your kids can grow up to kill the Strickland kids. It just might take a little extra training on the weekends.
Photo by post406