TROPHY KIDS TIGER WOODS Age 3 No Child Left Behind* *unless you’re second string. Youth sports isnʼt just orange slices and all-star trophies anymore. Itʼs 14-year-olds who enter high school with a decade of football experience, 9-year-olds with private pitching coaches, 5-yearolds competing for world golf championships, and toddlers made from sperm donated (for a fee) by elite college athletes. Itʼs a year-round “travel team” in every community—and parents hunting for college athletic scholarships from the moment their kid slips on a uniform. In short, a deeply hopeful, if ambitious and often desperate landscape organized around the principle of identifying and delivering the next generation of athlete-entertainers Much as Bigger, Stronger, Faster explored Americaʼs love-hate affair with anabolic steroids and challenged our notions about the drugs that build muscle, TROPHY KIDS is a documentary film that will forever change the way we look at a culture that has forgotten athletes such as once-heeded cautionary tale of Todd Marinovich. Groomed from birth to be an NFL quarterback, Marinovich eventually made it to the highest level of Americaʼs favorite game, as a first-round draft pick, only to wash out of the league prematurely in haze of drugs and bad decisions… a magnificent, manufactured athlete who had never been fully formed as a man. Now a father and still dealing with addiction and life out of the spotlight, how does Todd feel about his father Marv who had him doing Russian Stretching Techniques in his crib? And how does he feel about Marv hiring a Russian Shotputter to have his second child Mikail, who failed to even get a scholarship to Syracuse. It will also explore the flip-side. America has a 66% overweight population and itʼs a growing problem. Just ask Michelle Obama who runs the first ladyʼs Letʼs Move campaign aimed at getting kids to exercise everyday. The obesity rate has been skyrocketing in America despite every other infomercial on TV for a weight loss product. We are the fattest nation in the world and you can thank the internet, cell phones, video games, social media…and parents that babysit their children with technology. So whatʼs wrong with kids playing sports…Nothing! Itʼs when the parents get involved that things get sticky. Just ask Reggie Bush. Reggie Bush was the first athlete in history to return his Heisman Trophy because of allegations that his parents accepted a new home. The Truth is that Youth Sport is one of the most important institutions in America, but do we take it too seriously? In reality only half of the kids in America will play high school sports. Of that only 1 in 28 will every play beyond high school and only 1 in 75 of that number will receive scholarships… the chance of playing in any professional sport is 1 in 13,333 and that includes Bowling. Of the 3 major sports Football, Basketball, and Baseball, did you ever think how much of it could be genetic? At the top of their games are Peyton and Eli Manning, son of ten year NFL veteran Archie Manning. Then thereʼs Kobe Bryant. His dad was 6ʼ9” and played 7 seasons in the NBA and another 7 seasons in Europe before moving on to coaching. If thatʼs not enough, letʼs look at the greatest home run hitter and arguably one of the best baseball players of all time, Barry Bonds. His father Bobby was a legend on the Giants. Did performanceenhancing drugs help him hit home runs? Probably, but itʼs proven that genetics and hard work played a much bigger role. Heir Jordan? Michael Jordanʼs son Jeffery quit playing Basketball after his career fizzled out. In the case of Jeffery Jordan, nobodyʼs robbing each other for his sneakers; he topped out at 6ʼ1” and most likely got his genes from his mother. Itʼs a 50-50 proposition and even then, there is no guarantee of greatness. The cream will always rise to the top in sports. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team and Lebron James didnʼt touch a basketball until he was 9. There is no scientific proof that trying to teach a kid to catch, throw, or shoot at a young age has any significant benefit in the battle of Genetics. Most kids motor skills donʼt develop fully until they are almost 12 years old and those skills improve until they reach 19. There are shining examples like Tiger Woods, that say maybe we should get our kids into a given sport at a young age. Tigerʼs father Earl cut a set of golf clubs in half and had his son putting on the Mike Douglas show at age 3, but at what cost has it come to the way he handles his personal life. Many people think that Tigerʼs influence on youth sports has been nothing but negative, encouraging parents to believe that their kid may be the chosen one. The goal of the film is to strike a balance between the advantages of being a physically fit child and the disadvantages of kids forced by howling mad soccer dads to score a goal or go to bed without dinner. Directed by Bigger, Stronger, Faster filmmaker Chris Bell, the documentary will draw upon reporting and framework of Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children, the 2008 Sports Education Book of the Year, authored by ESPNʼs Emmy-award winning reporter Tom Farrey. Bell and his best friend Leland Anderson, a 6ʼ7” blue chip athlete and basketball coach will navigate the topic and talk to the parents, the kids, the organizers, the sponsors, etc. in order to determine how weʼve gotten so obsessed with our kids winning trophies and how that has become just as important or more important than good grades and behavior. Leland is currently coaching a kid whoʼs mother is holding him back in 8th grade so she can “put some weight on him and get him into a better high school.” And these conversations happened right in front of us, on camera. The film will attack the issue from all angles, but ultimately itʼs the Parents, Kids, and Coaches that will make this film personal. Like the imprisoned father of an inline skater who injected his son Corey Gahan with anabolic steroids from age 11. The kid who is embarrassed by his father and wants nothing to do with him, so much that heʼs quit his 10-year golf career and Jackson Hue is only 11. Coach Leland Andersonʼs own personal journey: a kid with a dream, who played travel ball, was a star in high school, recruited by Michigan, had to transfer to Providence to avoid an investigation at the school, and ultimately played oversees. Weʼll see the physical and mental impact that this game of strategy has had on Leland and his family. Now as a coach, he can see it from the other side and heʼs ready to blow it wide open. Corey was injected with steroids and hgh by his father since he was 12 to be a champion inline skater, a sport that has no professional division. “Recruiting starts in high school. Most kids that I coach don’t play for the school that they are legally supposed to go to. They get a fake address from a friend of the program and they travel to school. Anyone that tells you that high schools don’t recruit is full of shit. On the prep school level it’s much worse, but nobody can really do anything about it because it’s private. How can a kid play at Crossroads in Santa Monica that can’t score high enough to get in? Simple, score enough baskets.” - Leland Anderson Hereʼs a few mind blowing facts: FACT: Harvard gets 3,000 kids with perfect SAT scores every year, they can only accept half. Theyʼve never had a Hockey Player with a Perfect SAT Score. Because of Title 9 which gives equal opportunity to boys and girls, The chances of a girls hockey scholarship, 1 in 11. The chance for a boys or girls basketball scholarship 1 in 111 of all kids that make the team in high school. FACT: In 1992 the Non-Profit NCAA gave out $377,000,000 dollars in scholarship money, by 2006 they gave out $1,500,000,000. Because of Title 9, Division 1 Basketball and Football Teams arenʼt taxed. So why not throw a few dollars to Girls Field Hockey if itʼs going to keep millions of dollars in revenue for the university. FACT: The AYSO is the foundation of American Soccer and is the biggest youth sports organization in the world with 650,000 players every year. Yet America has never won a World Cup. FACT: After having a tendon removed from one part of the body and transplanted to another Tommy John pitched successfully for the Yankees for 14 more seasons and pitched better and faster. In a three-year span from 2004 to 2007 Renowned Sports Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery on 588 pitchers, 146 of whom were high school or youth league players — a seven-fold increase from the previous three years. THE Filmʼs STRUCTURE The film will begin before the inception of a child at Age 0. Bell will start at the worldʼs largest sperm bank, California Cryobank in Santa Monica. It has in recent years sought and sold the seed of current and former college athletes. As reported in Game On, football and other jocks at USC and UCLA can earn up to $900 a month at the local “masturbatorium,” as Cryobank founder Cappy Rothman calls the provocatively wallpapered rooms where donors go to give. The sperm of one former tight end, donor No. 3448, has produced at least 16 children and is now sold out in the catalog. The Cryobank is eager to recruit more athletes; at the same time, the company claims to be very selective about who is accepted into the program. So what are the requirements to give sperm? What achievements must you have in order to be a candidate… and most of all find out if the people doing this have any ethical debate in their heads with this. People believing in the dream of Earl Woods are thinking, if Earl can turn Tiger into a champion, maybe I can get my kid into: Gymnastics, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Wrestling or how about taping a racquet to your kids hand like Andre Agassiʼs Dad so he could excel at Tennis. The film will move in time from Zero to Hero and show the making of a modern athlete as well as the impact that pushing our kids is having on society. Pundits who argue the steroid debate say that you should only play with what God gave you, why should we expect any different from our children when the odds are maybe they arenʼt that talented? Is if fair to tell a child to mimic their favorite athletes to become those athletes? Weʼll explore kids whoʼs parents think they have chosen the right path for their children. Coach Leland Anderson asks “Is it fair to tell a kid to do the same things that famous professional athletes did? Is it fair to tell a kid to workout like Reggie Bush or shoot as much as Kobe Bryant? Thatʼs not going to make you any better if you canʼt walk and chew gum at the same time. Thereʼs no amount of dribbling drills thatʼll make you as good as Derrick Rose. Youʼre kid is a fat jerk and uncoachable, deal with it.” “I have parents that are keeping their kids in 8th grade and telling them to fail in school because theyʼll get an extra year of eligibility. I have a dad who paid the high school coach $10,000 to get his kid on varsity as a Sophomore, it took Andre Agassi age 7 another $10,000 to start him, but when the team started losing he sat the bench. You want to see a dad go wild?” This documentary aims to ask and answer many of the questions surrounding this dilemma: It covers numerous sports, it digs into why we as parents and coaches feel the need for our children to achieve physical greatness. Is it parents living vicariously through their children? Are we trying to make up for the athletic feats that we couldnʼt achieve? Is it status? Weʼll leave no stone unturned as we explore this competitive atmosphere. Dominique Dawes, 5 years old autographed picture? The film will look at the San Diego Times ranking of the top 100 Basketball players in the country. This list has become so crucial in the career of a young ball player, but the kids are 12 years old. Whoʼs making these lists? And is it fair to judge a child at 12 years old? The amount of pressure on an amateur basketball player has become so intense and itʼs all being driven by your favorite sneaker company...Nike, Reebok, Adidas need people to perform or they canʼt sell sneakers to the next generation. Sonny Vacarro has made a business by finding guys like Lebron, Kobe, and 14 year old Tracy Austin, the yes Michael Jordan. Heʼs considered “The person to grace the cover Godfather” of the Sneaker industry. Sonny has set youngest of SI. off several major sneaker wars all aimed at making millions of dollars for sneaker companies and offering inner city kids a chance to make their dreams come true. Weʼll explore Sonnyʼs passion for the game and his impact on the entire sports world. The sneaker companies are making deals to promote these youth events and these kids arenʼt allowed to cash in. Then they get to college and it gets even worse. Which brings us to the NCAA. The 8 billion dollar College Sports business relies on having new athletes. The athletes that play football and basketball account for 90% of the profit, yet the athletes can't be paid. This dispute has raged on for so long, yet has never been answered. The hypocrisy of the NCAA has never really been disputed. This film will challenge the NCAA to provide answers and raise awareness that will hopefully help the NCAA change some of their policies. Sonny Vacarro battles USC professor Dr. Todd Boyd over Jeremy Tyler leaving high school to play in Europe. The film will explore The Little League World Series and the countless stories like Danny Almonte who lied about his age to play in this important event. He led his team to the finals and was 3 years older than his competitors. Weʼll go to specialized Speed schools for young track athletes where they constantly strive for performance perfection.Weʼll go to Friday Night Lights type football games and show how serious this stuff really gets by going behind the scenes. Weʼll visit the USC recruiting machine. Due to NCAA investigations into its football and basketball programs for impermissible benefits received by star players,The University of Southern California has developed a reputation in recent years as one of the least upstanding in college sports. Another way to look at it is USC is the least hypocritical, for not acting like big-time college sports is an act of amateurism played by “student-athletes” more interested in education. USC knows football is big business and thatʼs the way we play it. Yes Iʼm a Trojan...Fight On. For many football players, their first exposure to the commercial beast comes in high school. Starting in ninth grade—before they even grow into their bodies—they get ranked and hounded by the recruiting services, with the “best” of these prospects getting invited to summer camps, held on college campuses, that resemble an early NFL combine. Skills are taught at these meat markets, but they primarily exist to 1) identify and curry favor with blue-chip recruits, and 2) make some money for the head coach. USCʼs two-day Rising Stars Camp each June is no different than the rest. Flanked by seven Heisman Trophies in the middle of Heritage Hall, the charismatic coach welcomes the top prospects from California and beyond, repeatedly urging them to “compete” (his favorite word) during the camp. A day later, a few of them will get offered a football scholarship—essentially an employment contract with the athletic department whose value is capped by an NCAA cartel that reaps billions in revenues each year while sharing little of its winnings with its athlete-entertainers. But hey, itʼs the one of the only routes to NFL or NBA pay dirt. So the teenage athletes and their parents with stars in their eyes roll with it, shuttling their kid from camp to camp, state to state, hoping for the best. Whatʼs the other route you ask? Well if you play basketball, you can skip High School, play oversees in the AAU against grown men and come back and get drafted to the NBA, otherwise if you stay in the states you have to sit out a year if you donʼt want to play in college. Not such a big deterrent for kids these days. Then there are the true tragedies. Like the Massachusetts father that killed another father at a Hockey practice over a disputed call. This wasnʼt even during a game and the parent who got killed was the aggressor to a much bigger man. Youth sport itself is big business. We have the highest demand for soccer equipment in the world. From Sporting Goods companies to league organizers there is a fortune being made off of kids sports. The parents are the ones who pay of course. 6 years in the penalty box for Tommy Junta who killed another parent in self defense with his bare hands at his 10 year old sonʼs hockey game. Did you know that only 35% of the sports apparel purchased in America is used for actual practice or competition? On the flip-side 35% of all hotel stays in America are attributed to youth athletics? The Offense/Defense Football Camps draw thousands of kids from across the country at $760 a pop. The parents donʼt seem to care at all. I remember going with my brother Mad Dog. He was on team 1. I was on team 10. What does that all mean? I found out later. Team 1 means your D1 material; Team 10 means maybe youʼll play in High School. In other words I was too short and too slow to even be given a shot. My brother went on to play as a walk on at The University of Cincinnati, the only athlete in the history of our high school only to blow out his knee and be forgotten about by the program. The Turcotte Stickhandling Hockey School, based in Ormond Beach, Fla., of all places, expects 6,400 kids to take part in its clinics this summer, up from 2,600 in 1992. - Time Magazine By the time the film reaches the NCAA weʼll be into a full boil. The 8 Billion Dollar a year non-profit industry. The one that hosts all of those bowl games sponsored by corporate America. How is it okay for the guys in suits, in the luxury suites, drinking martinis, to exploit players and make tons of money for their university or brand? The kids canʼt get paid, canʼt have a job, canʼt do anything except play football, oh yeah and go to school. Did you know the average college football player puts in 45 hours a week in practice, lifting, films, etc. Thereʼs no time to be a student-athlete! Teddy Roosevelt created the NCAA to protect athletes from getting hurt, but talk to USC graduate Bob Demars whoʼs $100,000 education doesnʼt come close to his post-school $350,000 in medical bills incurred from bad knees, broken bones, and concussions. Are these parents living vicariously through their children? Are they expecting their children to be what they were not? In the end you realize that no matter how much training your kid puts in thereʼs always the kid like LeBron James who didnʼt start playing basketball until he was 9, late by todayʼs standards, yet is defining how the NBA should run the league. Thereʼs always going to be the genetic freaks, thereʼs always going to be the naturals…and even then, that child must possess the desire to excel in the sport, despite what the parent may want. There are many themes and angles to explore here. There are so many sports to look at from Team to Individual. There are many places around the country to travel to, from the courts of NY to the Friday Night Lights stadiums in Texas and the Baseball hotbed of Florida and back to LA where you can play any sport any time of the year. Weʼll “Blow The Whistle” on the most intriguing stories, interview the most controversial and fresh subjects and weave it together with a narrative arc. This is a powerful and insightful story that says not just something about youth sports, but America today and our desire to remain a SuperPower in all aspects of life. This film is complex, unflinching, honest, and will pull no punches, in telling both sides of the story. America spends the most money on athletics by far, so how is it possible that weʼre also the fattest nation in the world? Can we strike a balance for parents who want happy and healthy kids who arenʼt obese? This film will not only showcase problems, but offer solutions. Bellʼs expose will be the second in his series of must-see documentaries that challenges Americaʼs moral compass. Why have we become a country obsessed with winning and becoming Bigger Stronger Faster, Younger? Freddy Adu - The only World Class Soccer Player America ever produced, and heʼs not even from here. THE ALL MADDEN DOCUMENTARY TEAM – Chris Bell – Producer/Writer/Director…Taking the experience from Bigger Stronger Faster* weʼre going to tackle another huge issue and spark a national conversation about the athletic institution in America. Chris Bell is a graduate of USCʼs School of Cinema Television and former writer for the WWE. Leland Anderson – Producer/ Subject A 6ʼ7” Giant both in personality and physical presence, Leland was a blue chip recruit to a major division one school who faced violation charges and then switched schools to play in college and the pros. Heʼs seen it all and has lived in Los Angeles for the past 8 years working as a coach and trainer. Heʼs our access into this entire world and will be a focal point of our story as he goes from player to coach. Kurt Engfehr Producer/Editor – The Genius Editor driving the combined success of the 350 million dollar grossing films Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling For Columbine and the Sundance Hit Bigger Stronger Faster as well as many other documentaries. Kurt is an amazing asset to any film and is amazing in structuring a story that the world needs to hear. Tom Farrey – Investigative reporter and writer for ESPN The Magazine, heʼs the one that got me pumped up about this to begin with. His book Game On will save us a ton of time in the research department. “Hey Ref, Up Yours!” - an angry fan at his sisterʼs soccer game.
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