Your horrible children

July 12, 2017 § 39 Comments

I like kids. Have three of ’em myself, and a grandkid, too. Great folks, all four. Kids? I recommend them if you can afford them, and I almost recommend them if you can’t. Kids are good.

Mostly.

I say “mostly” because there are some horrible people out there who, when they have kids, wind up with — surprise — horrible children. Beastly, awful little people who in turn grow up into beastly, awful big people who abuse other people, lie, cheat, steal, and worst of all, vote.

We’ve all seen these horrible little people and their psychotic enablers in soccer, baseball, and basketball. They’re almost a meme. Some talented or untalented little brat, abused and egged on by mentally defective parents, makes life a living hell for everyone else.

Cycling’s not immune, either. In Colorado there is a family of d-bags who recently behaved thus at a bike race, as reported by the parent of the victim:

Reluctantly I’m going to share a story about today’s Junior race in Longmont because violence is not okay. And violence encouraged by a parent is well… During the last lap of this race when K. came around another racer that racer swerved into K. in anger. Luckily both boys stayed up but K. had to stop because his wheel was damaged. When he didn’t come in with the others we worried. Finally he arrived and while he was telling us what happened the boy’s Mom came up and said “he deserved it for sucking my son’s wheel at the end.” My jaw dropped. I said, “You’re telling me this happened on purpose?” “Yes I told him to do it.” We walked away because frankly I didn’t trust myself to stay near her much longer. But then I thought about it and went back to the Ref to tell him. He got immediately red and said he knows the family, was not surprised and would take care of it. We left but now with a few inquires I’m hearing this is common behavior for this family and they have yet to be sanctioned. Frankly if it were up to me these parents would not even have custody of their children but at the least why is the cycling community @usacycling@bracolorado turning a blind eye and allowing them at races? This child is fast and his sister is a very accomplished racer but that should not matter at all. Finally, this is not a reflection of the Colorado racers as nothing like this has happened before. I’m already a mess worrying about accidental crashes and cars but to think of kids getting injured intentionally by one another is disgusting.

USAC has set up an inquiry. Let’s hope these kids and their family are removed from cycling forever … although we know they won’t be.

Anyway, the aggrieved parent wants to know why the cycling community is turning a blind eye and allowing these li’l monsters at races. Let me help with that.

Here in SoCal we have a mini-douchebag of a junior rider, supported by his douchebag parents, who was briefly suspended for fighting. Everyone knows he’s a jerk. People have complained to USAC about him, and he’s been a jerk for years. Arrogance, rudeness, dangerous riding, and nasty aggressiveness are his stock in trade. But because he is a talented rider he has gotten away with behavior that would have seen other riders sanctioned, and in fact his current sanction is a slap on the wrist compared to what he deserves. He’s a despicable kid who is a few months away from being a despicable adult.

The reason he’s been allowed to fester is the “talented junior rider” thing. In cycling, that means you’re one of fifteen people in the state who competes, and one of half a dozen who goes to nationals. So yes, with a little luck, tens of thousands of dollars in equipment, a coach, the nation’s only indoor velodrome, a travel budget, and a modicum of ability you will be “talented” because you’ll be a “national champion” and “state champion” who will “dominate” the other fourteen people in your age group statewide.

We see every year what happens to these “talented” riders when they graduate to the U23 ranks here, or worse, in Europe. We never hear from them again. Why? Because despite their parents’ delusions, they weren’t really all that talented so much as they were subsidized to compete in a vanity niche sport to (mostly) satisfy their parents’ egos. The Coryn Riveras out there are the exception that prove the rule.

The second problem is that USAC is terribly afraid of lowering the boom with severe sanctions against almost anyone, much less “talented” junior riders. USAC is in the midst of a death spiral, where competitive racing is slowly giving way to fun rides. This is because there is no younger generation moving up through the ranks, or at least not in sufficient number to replace the leaky prostates who currently sustain the sport and who are rotating out due to age, infirmity, boredom, injury, or risk exhaustion.

Few normal parents will make the financial commitment it takes for their kids to race bikes. Fewer still will put their kids in such an inherently dangerous sport. And only a tiny handful will let their kids compete against bullies who are instructed to chop wheels and “punish” wheelsucking, i.e. smart racing. Every one of these horrible brats who the system protects is responsible for countless other parents seeing the lay of the land and either yanking their kids from cycling or encouraging them to do something else.

It’s the other end of the James Doyle spectrum, where bad behavior and violence create an environment so toxic that you want to wash your hands and walk away and for dog’s sake take your kids with you.

In the old days these punks would have been taught a lesson with a properly placed wheel chop or a punch to the face by an older, bigger rider. I’m not advocating that as a teaching style, but the fact is that these kids have nothing and no one to fear because the old way has been banned and there’s no system of discipline in its place. The other riders and their parents don’t want a lawsuit or criminal charges, the referees turn a blind eye because of the paperwork and headache, the promoters don’t want to turn away an entry fee, USAC doesn’t want to draw more bad attention to how dangerous the sport is, and voila! You have an instant recipe for toxic cycling soup.

Drink up.

END

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§ 39 Responses to Your horrible children

  • crshnbrn says:

    Wow.

  • dangerstu says:

    Just have everyone else not start the next time said s#it head rolls to the line, they’ll soon get the message.

  • Brian in VA says:

    About 20 years ago, I was a volunteer umpire at one of my kids’ t-ball games. I actually had to eject a mother for her behavior (she was swearing at me, loudly enough for everyone to hear) despite giving her 2 warnings. Afterwards, about a dozen parents came up to thank me for doing it. I told them it was up to them to stop because I wasn’t umpiring every game.

    Your story here takes it to yet another level. Until every parent leans on USAC, this will not stop. And it has to be stopped before someone is maimed or killed. And before it kills bike racing for the youth.

    Ugh, more ass nuggets…..

    • fsethd says:

      Chinua Achebe wrote a great novel about this, however indirectly. “Things Fall Apart.”

  • Tamar T. says:

    Curious if market forces can work here. Assuming Colorado has a small claims court system, sue the offending family for the cost of a new wheel? Intentional behavior isn’t protected in a race, is it? And why isn’t there some kind of sanction? Like relegation and a fine? A warning before suspension? Aren’t there course rules an athlete signs when they enter a race? (I may be a snow flake here)

    • fsethd says:

      It’s not, but litigation is just another downer aspect to the sport. USAC has opened an investigation and hopefully it will lead somewhere, but what about all the parents who stood idly by before things reached this point? That’s the real problem; people vote with their feet. Who signs up for youth sports just to deal with horrible parents, horrible kids, and a lackadaisical approach to discipline? Not many, that’s who.

  • Todd Brown says:

    USAC has no idea who their customers are or what their customers want. Hint: it’s not Sierra Nevada, Chobani, Assos…

  • Eric R says:

    Seth, this is terrible when children grow up with no moral compass and no fear of authority. Bouhanni (I’m sure he was one of those talented horrors you describe) intentionally was chopping a wheel and hit the rider with his hand/fist and received essentially nothing and Sagan is out. UCI officiating is terrible too.

    • fsethd says:

      Everything is driven by marketing and financial considerations. No one cares about the individuals who make up the base. Paradoxically, this is why the sport has died on the vine.

  • chris says:

    Awful. Both the Colorado story and SoCal story.

    We’ve got our share of little sh!theads up this way in NorCal. The few that seem relatively well grounded participate in group rides and get a better sense of what behavior is appropriate for bikes. Those that just ride amongst their Jr elite U15, U17, U18, U23, or some other fictitious ego boosting category teams are far worse. The team coaches won’t tell them to conduct themselves responsibly because they “win”.

    Seems that there are fewer and fewer good stories coming out of cycling these days.

    • fsethd says:

      Group rides are good for letting kids see the gamut of people out there, those who will help and those who won’t put up with any crap.

  • Michelle landes says:

    Sad face emoji!!!

  • Tom Paterson says:

    The problem here is bad riding caused by not knowing how to throw a proper amateur-level hook, and not knowing how to slip one, either.

  • dan martin says:

    Fact is most juniors could give 2 shits about bike racing. I tried and they moved on. Im good with that too. Much cheaper to buy running shoes and let the college and HS coaches run the show than 100%full carbon carbon bikes and private coaching. Plus any attitude or poor sportsmanship will get you tossed off the track team.

    • fsethd says:

      Exactly. And the irony is that bad attitude will almost always prevent you even getting on any kind of pro cycling team unless you are really exceptional. No one wants to be teammates with a complete dbag.

      These kids who are mean and nasty, and backed by mean and nasty parents, are a complete buzzkill in an already marginal activity. Track coaches know that your kid ain’t that wonderful or special, they have a job to do, it better be educational and fun, and few kids are worth the extreme coddling that goes on in junior fake bike racing.

  • Sausage™ says:

    USAC is the guy who owns a bar with 100 regular customers. 98 of them come in, have a good time, spend their money and are just want to go home, see their families and get to bed in time to wake up for work the next day. But 1 customer (we’ll call him Dew-Hole) gets sloppy drunk every night and starts a fistfight with another customer and 1 customer (we’ll call him a Jest-Dumb) gets even more sloppy drunk every night and ends up puking on the bar and a few of the 98 other customers who are just there to have a good time.

    The bar owner doesn’t want to lose the business of Dew-Hole and Jest-Dumb (they do drink a lot, remember), and so he tells them both to knock that stuff off and not do it again. Until they do it again the next night. And the next night – over and over and over again.

    A few weeks later, the bar owner is surprised to see that his 98 normal customers have taken their business elsewhere and all he is left with is Dew-Hole and Jest-Dumb. But really, should be be surprised?

    • fsethd says:

      He shouldn’t be, and in this case, he isn’t–or doesn’t appear to be. Rather, instead of booting DH and JD and wooing back the 98%, he abandons the bar and tries to buy another one called “Fun Bar.” It has a completely new clientele, they are satisfied, pay well, and the owners have zero interest in selling and converting to a sports-themed bar. They don’t need his sports-themed big screen tvs, moldy sports jerseys, or Monday Night Madness clown suit contests.

      But he is not to be deterred, so he stands outside the Fun Bar after hours hawking memorabilia from the old bar at discount rates, selling a few used plugs of chewing tobacco, some moldy jockstraps, and a few broken hamstrings for pennies on the dollar. “I wanna be a Bar For Evbo!” he shouts, not understanding that, like a public toilet, that which is for everyone is valued by no one.

      Meanwhile, the former patrons all go over to Strand Brewing, relax over a craft beer, attend the Wanky Awards Coming Soon on October 14, continue to enjoy camaraderie and good times, and get on with their lives.

      And they don’t ever think about the Ol’ Numnutz’s Sports Bar ever again.

  • channel_zero says:

    and so he tells them both to knock that stuff off and not do it again.

    No. not really. They barely acknowledge the issue and let it die.

    I’m pretty sure every region has a-holes that ruin it for everyone. As usual, USAC is indifferent.

    • fsethd says:

      In these two cases they are investigating, and have suspended one of the “children.” They’re not indifferent and they have set up a Safe Sport mechanism so that people can report dangerous, unsafe, harassing, or abusive behavior.

      But this isn’t enough. It’s a bare minimum, and the consequences have to be communicated by USAC officials and promoters at the time the behavior occurs.

      Officials are crazy zealous about yellow line infractions, but let this kind of stuff go by. Doesn’t make any sense.

  • “USAC is in the midst of a death spiral, where competitive racing is slowly giving way to fun rides.”

    Interesting contrast. Do you conflate competitive racing and USAC?

    Competitive racing can be/has been fun/exciting/rewarding, but add USAC’s leadership/baggage/toxic mission, and it is in a deserved death spiral. I miss BRAC before the forced merger.

    Give me a gravel race, brevet, fondo, three-day tour with friends, or even the unsanctioned morning/night rides over the expensive, repetitive, and high-risk subsidization of “elite” sport USAC offers us.

    I’d have nothing to do with road racing as it is practiced in the USA. The risk/reward is too high.

    Dirty Kanza or Trans Iowa? Sure!

    Cyclocross? Right on!

    “Three hour tour” with team-mates/competent friends at full cry? Awesome as long as I know where I’m going after I get dropped!

    Forty-five minute four-corner crit with untrained and over-caffeinated screamers for fifty-five dollars? No thanks.

    Even half-marathons do better than that, and manage to be a race for those who want/need them to be.

    Best Regards,

    Will
    William M. deRosset
    Fort Collins, CO

  • channel_zero says:

    The last time I looked, USAC was pretty proud of the way they have structured junior development. It’s now a pay-to-play scheme whereby you pay for participation. The higher you go, the more you pay.

    If you win, they seem okay with doping.

  • dangerstu says:

    I guess this is what happens when so much cash is on the line, and people need to win money to pay for gas to get home to juvenile detention center etc

  • Jorgensen says:

    Decades ago coming into the finish of the Tour of Santa Ynez, a young Mark Whitehead was dramatically pushed off the tarmac with what could be best called a sideways Madison throw. Neutralizing him. The offender did get DQ’d but for not for the toss, but failing to hold a straight line the last 100 meters, negating his second place finish.
    The interesting result was that no one in the lead group saw anything to report as to how Mark went off the road.

    • fsethd says:

      Fascinating. A young, kind, understanding, empathetic, friendly, fair-play Mark Whitehead, no less. Weird.

  • senna65 says:

    Sucks being a kid today. Media, technology, and parents under the illusion that somehow JR is going to overcome their shitty no-talent genes with coaching, specialization or whatever.

  • LesB says:

    The parents of the 99% are not showing good example to their own kids by letting this go on.

    They could show the kidders how things are done. They could group up, approach the USAC as a group and make demands. As a group the USAC would see them as dollar bills sprouting wings and would take action lest the bills take flight.

    • fsethd says:

      Parents don’t get involved in youth sports to make a change. There are many other options, and they vote with their feet.

  • Jeff says:

    Yet another fine example of crap 💩. When will it all end?

    • fsethd says:

      It won’t. But it won’t play out on the USAC stage anymore, because that sporting model is on the way out the door.

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