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Tilting at Windmills

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March 4, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

TENNIS DAD SYNDROME....Somehow I find myself unsurprised that the junior tennis world has finally come to this: a French tennis dad is on trial for drugging his kids' opponents by spiking their courtside drinks with a tranquilizer. One of them fell asleep at the wheel after a match and was killed.

Sadly, I'm also unsurprised that the tennis dad in question is defending himself by claiming a personality disorder. In fact, considering the well-documented semi-insanity of tennis parents worldwide, I almost believe him. I don't do much tennis blogging these days, but this was something I wrote about on my second day as a blogger.

Kevin Drum 3:46 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (32)

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Comments

This is obviously an extreme case, but I can't quite understand why parents obsess about their children's sports achievements. It would be much more sensible if the parents *themselves* got involved in some form of sports activities. Oh wait, I must have forgotten the fact that for most men over age 30, "athletic activity" consists of clicking the TV remote and *maybe* a weekly round of cartball :(((

Posted by: Peter on March 4, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

"this was something I wrote about on my second day as a blogger." And now someone has actually read it!

Posted by: godoggo on March 4, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

And to think I would occasionally get embarassed whenever my dad cheered a little too loudly at my softball games.

Sacre bleu!

Posted by: Bailey on March 4, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

So this tennis dad, this soccer dad and a lawyer are sharing a cab.

The tennis dad says," My kid's gonna get rich by being in the top ten"
The soccer dad says, "OK, my kid's gonna get rich by winning the world cup"
The lawyer says, "No, my kid's gonna get rich from an enormous lawsuit against yout two guys"

Wereupon, the other two dads shot the lawyer.

Posted by: Matt on March 4, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

ALWAYS CLICK THE LINK.

From Kevin's second day of blogging:

TIME FOR LIBERALS TO FIGHT BACK?....MAYBE 2004 REALLY WILL BE A PIVOTAL ELECTION....John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira have a new book out in which they claim that Democrats, not Republicans, will shortly take control of Congress and of the national agenda. Their argument, summarized in the August issue of The New Republic, is based on the idea that the old New Deal triad of minorities, labor, and the poor is being supplanted by a new coalition of women, minorities, and professionals (all growing demographic groups) that will sweep the Democrats to power for years to come.

I agree with them, but for a different (and simpler) reason: the country has been been on conservative cruise control for the past 20 years and it's time for a change. What kind of change? I dunno, but it's a sure bet that it will be something unexpected--something that will make today's debates about posting the ten commandments in city hall seem as archaic as fin de siecle debates about the free coinage of silver. Here's why.

Good prediction Kevin. Maybe 2006 will be 'the one'!!!!!!

Posted by: Al on March 4, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, to do something like this, one have to have a disorder.

...But they still did the crime.

Posted by: Crissa on March 4, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

This story needs to be relocated to Nevada and used as an episode of CSI.

Posted by: derek on March 4, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Bailey, for the record, "sacrebleu" (one word) is archaic, no one uses that idiom anymore. ;-)

Posted by: Frenchdoc on March 4, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

But it was Friday, and no Inkblot, or that other one--it's been so long I forget her name. Calpundit with no catblogging is a crummy trip down memory lane. But you sure looked great in the sidbar pic, Kevin.

Posted by: jim on March 4, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Uncanny resemblance to Jim Carrey in that sidebar pic.

Posted by: wofl on March 4, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

As a soccer dad who coached his daughter's team for years, I started as someone who got very mad at every call. Gradually, I became more and more calm, and as the girls got older I yelled fewer directions. It also helped that I became a soccer ref, and finally understood the game, in all levels.

That parents could get this crazy is beyond me however.

Posted by: dataguy on March 4, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

An insanity defense is usually as good as a guilty plea. It's what you say when you have nothing to say for yourself, and juries don't buy it. They don't even buy it when it actually has merit.

That little factoid would be surprising to many, though it's well documented. It just doesn't make it into the little sensational news anecdotes that the news media -- and now Kevin -- relate.

Posted by: tom on March 4, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

ALWAYS CLICK THE LINK
Posted by: Al on March 4, 2006 at 5:45 PM
Ummnn, when I scrolled down, I saw a post in which Kevin argued that John Derbyshire was wrong, and that Tony Blair and the Labour government would assist the U.S. in its invasion of Iraq.

Good prediction Kevin
Posted by: Al on March 4, 2006 at 5:45 PM
indeed!

Posted by: keith on March 4, 2006 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

Totally irrelevant to the story, but I just read your bio from the old blog. I knew you were a marketing guy, but I didn't realize you could also code! How does your brain not explode from the matter/anti-matter collision?

Posted by: Dan Glick on March 4, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

It's not just tennis. There are nut parents in all kid sports.

What was it awhile back when somebody got killed at a little league game, or something???

Posted by: Chris on March 4, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

Totally irrelevant to the story, but I just read your bio from the old blog. I knew you were a marketing guy, but I didn't realize you could also code! How does your brain not explode from the matter/anti-matter collision?
Posted by: Dan Glick on March 4, 2006 at 8:47 PM

Dan its the center the Zero point zone.

Posted by: one eye buck tooth[ X^B on March 4, 2006 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

Heer n' texxass wee call en sokker mommas

guessn dat sheet dun caughtt on

Posted by: one eye buck tooth[ X^B on March 4, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

Mr Drum Wha Happn'd?

Posted by: mr ho on March 4, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

suddenly your blog sux why?
oprah politics?
The bloggers?
Centcom?
BBG?

YaY
Buh Bye
Fool

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [ X^B on March 4, 2006 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Frenchdoc,

Kind of like "Zounds?"

Posted by: modus potus on March 4, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Kind of like "Zounds?""

LOL... yeah, kinda

Posted by: Frenchdoc on March 4, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

The personality disorder in question is known as "idiocy".

Posted by: Soviet Canuckastani on March 4, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

In coaching kid's soccer, the hardest thing is to get the wingmen to cherry pick. They want to be involved in every ball, so they are often out of place when a real cherry pops up.

The offsides trap was a bear to get right, but with a weak defensive team, that play was essential.

I cannot count the number of time I have blasted a kid with the ball, more or less, by mistake.

Posted by: Matt on March 5, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

Matt-

Methinks you are being facetious. My advanced soccer knowledge allows me to know this. Unless of course you are being serious, in which case you are insane.

Also, if parents get out of hand at games, they should be banned forever from attending their kids games ever again. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: Alexander Wolfe on March 5, 2006 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

You miss the point. "FRENCH tennis dad trashes son's opponent"

Posted by: BroD on March 5, 2006 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

"Kind of like "Zounds?""

LOL... yeah, kinda
Posted by: Frenchdoc

Well, my personal fondness for "Gadzooks!", 'Egads!", and "Odd's Bodkins!" derives from exposure to 'Kiss me Kate' at a tender and impressionable age.

"Just declaim a few lines from Otello,
And she'll think you're a hell of a fellow.
If your blond don't respond when you flatter her,
Tell her what Tony told Cleo-pat-era."

I can also recite Noel Coward lyrics at length. I'm trying to cut down.

Posted by: CFShep on March 5, 2006 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

To have done something like this, the dad undoubtably DOES have a personality disorder, probably a serious one. However, personality disorders BY THEMSELVES do not meet the legal definition of insanity, since a personality disorder would not prevent you from knowing either the nature and quality of your actions or the difference between right and wrong. Rather, the PD will cause the person to believe their actions are justified even if wrong, or to simply not care. PD's are in fact counter-productive to defence cases, as they both do not meet the definition of insanity AND are considered incurable (for now), so persons with PDs are unlikely to mend their ways upon release. Attorneys in death penalty litigation fear their clients being diagnosed as psychopathic (also know as anti-social personality disorder), because it usually seals the death sentence. The likely PDs for this person are:
Anti-Social
Narcissistic
Sadistic
Negativistic (Passive-Agressive)

Posted by: Decnavda on March 5, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Martin is saying "sacrebleu" several times an hour at your local cinema.

Posted by: Boronx on March 5, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I really should pay closer attention before posting comments.
1. Kevin's wrong. The dad claimed he assumed another personality when he committed the crimes, which is NOT a personality disorder, and is likely enirely bogus. Although I still say has a personality disorder, and after reading the article, I suspect he is Narcissistic.
2. I have no idea what the legal definition of insanity is in France. My comments above were relevant to virually all U.S. jurisdictions, but beyond that, I am ignorant.

Posted by: Decnavda on March 5, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

I think Nadal's dad must be drugging Federer.

Posted by: decon on March 6, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

/tongue-in-cheek mode ON

Why is Kevin wasting his time with crazed sporting parent stories when he could be covering important issues, like Porsche crashes in southern California?

/tongue-in-cheek mode OFF

Posted by: cminus on March 6, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Gradually, I became more and more calm, and as the girls got older I yelled fewer directions

Posted by: bush on March 7, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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