Some people say that this sinks reality TV to an all-time low. I say, reality TV never had any high’s to begin with unless you’re referring to the occasional ‘episode’ of your late night news. You know? That sad part of our history that once gave us a daily summary of what’s happening in the real world around us?
I don’t necessarily agree with the notion that Esquire TV’s new reality show “Friday Night Tykes” scores a new low blow for reality TV but rather it has become for me a summation of what has always been and what unfortunately will always be commonplace in the world of sports.
Some people coach. Some people teach. Some people babysit, tolerate and preach but most of the time, we all do things as coaches because it’s the way that it’s always been done. It reminded me of my childhood and the “Five Little Monkeys” nursery rhyme my mom would always sing when we were being rough and unruly at bedtime.
The series is shot on location in what has become defined as the quintessential epicenter of american football – Texas and follows the lives of young players in their search for the perfect season. As expected, the series plays heavily on the adults in charge which is no different from anywhere football is played – too much adult involvement usually leads to a powder keg on the brink of detonation and these parents, coaches and administrators do not disappoint.
In the season’s debut it becomes obvious right away that there are two very distinct approaches. Although several coaches preach aggression and a winning spirit, on one end of the spectrum there is an emphasis on safety, camaraderie and each player giving their best. On the other end there appears to be a practice of instilling violence as coaches preach “hit ’em in the mouth” and “hunt ’em down, beat ’em down then we move on to the next.” I suppose if you’re shopping for the right team for your little player, this league (and I assume leagues around the nation) will give you a diverse and ample supply of all coaching styles.
Then there is the requisite bad mouthing, tongue wagging, mean-spirited criticisms from coach-to-coach, parent-to-coach, coach-to-administrator and every other combination you can come up with when it comes to youth sports. Talking smack will always be a part of the game and social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and even online team message boards have just emboldened people to air their differences.
The only things that have really changed in the world of youth sports is 1) the athletes are faster, stronger and more aggressive and 2) more coaches have become openly vociferous and blatantly pompous.
Friday Night Tykes delves into a world that we know and willingly participate in. Unlike Mafia Wives and Jersey Shore where the characters are as outlandish and as bizarre and as big a misrepresentation of a major share of American households, Friday Night Tykes cuts to the core of the red, white and blue like no other reality show in existence. We are not misfits cast together in the hopes that we will manufacture volatile situations, this is a reality that we all experience in playing fields throughout America and the explosive situations are of our own making, not at the end of a producer’s prompt and whim.
We are all doing what we have always done.