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Sports Dad

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Mr. Moxon: You got the opportunity of a lifetime, and you treat it like a joke.
Jon: Playing football at West Canaan is not the opportunity of a lifetime.
Mr. Moxon: Your attitude’s wrong, your tone of voice is wrong. This is your opportunity!
Jon: For you! Playing football at West Canaan may have been the opportunity of your lifetime. But I don’t want your life!

The "Sports Dad" is a father who pressures his children to succeed in sports or other physical (or "manly" if he has sons) activities. While parents of this archetype are usually male, coach/sports moms do exist.

The Sports Dad is often the father of the Jerk Jock; if so, he'll probably be a Jerkass himself. If the Coach Dad is the father of a Lovable Jock, he'll probably be more sympathetic. The father might be a former Jerk Jock himself who is living vicariously through his son.

There are also more extreme versions of the trope who pressure their sons into fighting or hunting. Considering how scarring it might be to be pressured into fighting or killing, these dads can be viewed as abusive. Woe be unto any nerd who has a father like this, especially if the dad wants him to fight his bullies. See Jock Dad, Nerd Son.

Related to Education Mama, for a parent that pushes their child at academics and Stage Mom for one that does the same with acting, singing, and other performance arts. See also "Gender-Normative Parent" Plot for when people around a boy (usually the father) wants him to do a sport or something considered "masculine" while the boy wants to pursue something that's stereotyped as being feminine.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kanata Hoshijima's father from Astra Lost in Space is one. Being a decathlete himself, he wants Kanata to enter in the sports field as well, preying upon Kanata's wish to become strong in order to get the sportsman he wants. His attitude is explained away with the reveal that Kanata is his father's clone, and dear old dad plans on bodyjacking Kanata to relive his glory days as a youthful athlete.
  • Captain Tsubasa:
    • Averted with Karl-Heinz Schneider's father Rudi. He was a former player himself and now coaches the team, so there's speculation that he pushed Karl-Heinz into doing it himself. But Karl-Heinz genuinely loves soccer and is happy being The Ace of the German team.
    • The patriarch of the Konsawatto family is implied to be a Stage Dad. The three sons play soccer but are also very popular sepak takraw players in their native Thailand, and their dad was a former player as well. Mr. Konsawatto tells his kids that if the Thai team qualifies for the WYC, he'll let them switch from sepak takraw to soccer. They lose to Tsubasa and Co., but he still allows them to keep on playing soccer.
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula ZERO, Henri Claytor's father was a former race driver who trained his son to be one and wants him to be the youngest champion in Cyber Formula. When that doesn’t happen and Hayato Kazami gets that title instead, his father becomes an alcoholic and started to abuse and ignore him. This leads Henri to hate Hayato for taking what he thinks is his. After some lecturing from Osamu and then Hayato, he starts realizing what he has become due to his father's training and starts seeing Hayato as the father he wishes he had.
  • Subverted by Miyata's father in Hajime no Ippo. While his son Ichiro took up boxing few after Miyata-san's forceful retirement, it was because of Miyata's own will and not because his dad pressured him to do it, and father and son care for each other very much.
  • Eiji Sawakita's father, Tetsuharu, in Slam Dunk looks like this a little, but he's actually an aversion since he does truly care for Eiji. While he does want his son to grow as a player, he realizes that constantly playing one-on-ones with him wouldn't give him any room for growth even though it meant he was already a natural when joining the Sannoh basketball team, so even though he suggests to the team's coach that Eiji go to the USA to get a more varied playing experience, it ends up being just a suggestion, as he knows Eiji loves the sport and wants him to evolve at his own pace.
  • Jigoro from Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl is a sports grandfather. He has decided that his granddaughter Yawara will win the 1992 Barcelona gold medal in women's judo, and the National Achievement Award, and the fact that Yawara doesn't care one bit for judo at the beginning of the series simply doesn't enter into his mind.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: As a kid, Martin Mantle, Jr. was not interested in sports, which annoyed his father, who was a notorious scientist. Mr. Mantle developed a serum to improve his son's stamina and physical abilities and he used it against Martin's will. When his mother learned of this, she and Martin abandoned Mr. Mantle and moved away. Martin grew up and the effects of his father's serum became notorious when he became a top athlete. After getting his engineering degree, Martin's health started to deteriorate and the doctors diagnosed him with a deadly disease, which was caused by his father's serum. Seeking revenge against society, Martin adopted the costumed identity of Sportsman and started killing top sports personalities.
  • Henry "the Duke" Duke of The Intimates didn't want to play football (he prefers golf), but his dad made him. He's not so sure he wants to be a superhero either (he's more into space travel), but his dad doesn't want to hear it.
  • Robin (1993): Jack wants Tim to play football. Tim hates football, to the point that he doesn't even like watching it. At one point Tim responded to his dad asking him why he got home late by saying he stayed late because of football tryouts, never saying he tried out. If his dad knew the first thing about his son he might have thought he was taking photos, instead when Jack learns the football coach doesn't remember Tim trying out Jack tears apart Tim's room, destroying Tim's possessions, breaking the drywall and forcing Dana to go through Tim's computer for him. He discovers the hidden Robin suit in the walls of the closet and summarily goes to Wayne manor to threaten Bruce with a gun.
  • Viz did a one-off titled Larry Ladd And His Ambitious Dad - the first two activities into which the titular Larry Ladd is pushed by his father are boxing and ice-skating.

    Fan Works 
  • In RWBY fanfiction, this is pretty common when authors expand more on Pyrrha's backstory.
    • at least it was here: Pyrrha's biological mom made it clear that nothing Pyrrha did was ever good enough, always pushing her to be better. The only time she ever said "I'm proud of you" was when Pyrrha got on the cover of Sports Illustrated at an improbably young age. Pyrrha's step-mom was a bit better, but could only do so much to counteract her wife's problems.
    • RWBY: Scars: Pyrrha's mother Thetis is a "sports mom". Pyrrha went to Beacon, instead of the closer Haven, to get away from her mother. Pyrrha's mother had wanted to be the Mistral Regional Tournament Champion but couldn't, so she pushed Pyrrha to achieve her dream for her. But, no matter how well she did, Pyrrha was never good enough for her mother. Even after holding the title for several years, her mother still wasn't happy. Pyrrha decided to get away from her mother and put her fighting skills to practical use by helping others as a Huntress, so she enrolled in Beacon Academy.
    • White Sheep (RWBY): Variant. Pyrrha's parents were always supportive of absolutely everything she did. However, the extended family, missing the fame and riches they used to have, always pushed Pyrrha to be better, to compete in bigger tournaments, and to earn more honor for the family. Pyrrha eventually broke down under the pressure, which horrified her parents. They decided to send Pyrrha to Beacon Academy, far away from the family's influence, by telling the family it was a way to expand her fame. Pyrrha was able to find real friends and have a normal life without legions of fans following her everywhere.
  • The Simpsons: Team L.A.S.H.: Mr. Burns in "A Liv of Their Own". To relive his days as a college football star, he pushes Anastasia to her absolute limit as a gymnast, to the point where she's utterly drained.
  • Tyler in Total Drama Legacy. Because his klutziness prevented him from becoming an all-star athlete, he decided to shape his son Wayne into the athlete he could never be. So he signed Wayne up for sports as soon as he was old enough, and to his delight, Wayne ended up not only enjoying sports, but being very good at them.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Frankenweenie, Victor's dad wants him to try a sport and randomly picks baseball. While Victor is playing baseball, Sparky chases a ball onto the road, being hit by a car and dying, which is what starts the plot.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Billy Elliot, Billy's father, Jackie, tries to push him into sports by sending Billy to the gym to take up boxing even though he prefers ballet. However, later in the film, Jackie realizes how talented Billy is at ballet and decides to support his dreams.
  • Andy's father in The Breakfast Club is hinted to be one of these, judging by his son's tear-filled rant to the other kids about how he has "to be number one!"
  • The Catcher: Johnny's father obsessively drives his son towards perfection in baseball. Johnny eventually snaps and beats him to death with a baseball bat.
  • In A Cinderella Story, Austin's father actively tries to dissuade him from going to any college other than the one he wants his son to go to. He has an entire plan laid out, starting with Austin playing football at a local college; unfortunately for Austin, he's a poetry lover who wants to go to Princeton. After Austin leaves his high school championship game to reconcile with Sam, his dad protests that he's throwing away his dream. Austin corrects he's throwing away his father's dream. This makes his dad come around by the end.
  • Troy of High School Musical has a father who is also his basketball coach. He's a less exaggerated example, but he's clearly suffering from his own high school basketball failures. However, Troy is a Lovable Jock and his father comes to realize how much pressure he is putting on his son.
  • Russ Thompson Senior in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (the next door neighbour to Moranis' character) really wants his son to be more masculine and athletic and his son is afraid to tell him he quit the high school football team. He gets over it after going through Character Development after his son goes missing (having been shrunk).
  • In Jump In, Izzy's father used to be a boxer, and pushes Izzy into boxing as well. For his dad's sake, Izzy pretends to be enjoying himself, but has lost interest in boxing by the time the movie began, and later points out that it's the only thing the two of them talk about ever since his mother passed away.
  • In Kicking & Screaming, family man Phil Weston, a lifelong victim of his father's competitive nature, takes on the coaching duties of a kids' soccer team, and soon finds that he's also taking on his father's dysfunctional way of relating.
  • Spike's dad in Little Giants is your typical "sports dad"; in his words, his son was "bred for football glory." As such, Spike is a merciless Jerk Jock, stronger and faster than any other kid his age. Spike's dad is in tears when his son's team loses at the end.
  • Varsity Blues: The film provides the page quote. Mox's father believes playing for the West Canaan Coyotes football team is the opportunity of a lifetime, which creates a lot of conflict with Mox as he considers the sport to be a hobby as he prepares for attending Brown University and getting away from their small town once he graduates high school.
  • Waves: Tyler's father pushes him into weightlifting and wrestling, and is unable to see the stress it's putting on him. It becomes one of many factors leading him down the path of drug abuse and domestic violence.
  • White Wolves II: Legend of the Wild: Crystal's parents wanted her to be an Olympic swimmer and tossed her into a pool to try to make her learn to swim while she was still a baby. Her dad is apparently fond of re-telling the story.

  • In Butterfly, Janet's adoptive mother is more concerned about her doing ballet, herself being wheelchair-bound.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Frank pushes Greg into signing up for sports like soccer and swimming.
  • Danny's father in Dreadnought is noted as being this as one of his numerous forms of abuse, attempting to force Danny to play high school football despite her lacking both interest and talent in the sport. He stops after Danny winds up with a female body as a side effect of gaining Dreadnought's powers, but only because his focus switches to finding a way to "cure" Danny.
  • Hannah Swensen: Featured in book 2 (Strawberry Shortcake Murder), in the form of Mason Kimball. He forced his son Craig to use a new form of steroid to increase his muscles and proficiency at basketball, and when Craig confessed the truth to his coach Boyd Watson and Boyd was ready to suspend Craig from the team, Mason killed Boyd to prevent it.
  • The young-adult novel The Perfect Score and its sequels, by Rob Buyea, have a rare female example. Randi's overbearing mother pushes her to compete in gymnastics. Randi likes gymnastics and is good at it, but often feels overly pressured by her mom.
  • Prolific writer of 1960s youth literature Ethelyn Parkinson (author of the Rupert Piper books) centers the conflict of Today I Am A Ham on this trope. The novel is more subtle than many other examples; the dad, a coach, is a genuinely nice, if busy, guy; the son actually wants to be an athlete, as well as a amateur radio operator — the "ham" of the title, not an overly expressive actor — and the conflict is resolved in a clever and heartwarming way.
  • In Lily and Dunkin, Jerk Jock Vasquez' Freudian Excuse is that his dad screams at him in front of his basketball teammates when he doesn't play well enough.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This is invoked and lampshaded on 3rd Rock from the Sun when Dick decides Tommy should play basketball:
    Tommy: Why?
    Dick: Because it's important that you experience the humiliation of adolescent boys at the hands of bitter adults trying to rewrite the failures of their youth. It'll be fun!
  • Cold Case: The father of a high school basketball player murdered his son's main competition. He cut his son out of his life for quitting the game.
  • A pair of Sports Parents show up on Corner Gas. After a high school kid shows great talent and passion for cooking while job shadowing Lacey at the Ruby, his parents show up. Lacey expects to be praised for helping their son find what is obviously his true calling but instead, they are furious with her because they planned for him to become a pro hockey player when he grows up, but now he wants to be a chef instead.
    Dad: You, stay away from my son!
    Mom: You're a bad person.
  • Friday Night Lights: With a show that revolves around athletes, there are several.
    • Coach Taylor says his dad was this type of sports father. Eric actually expresses relief that he has daughters so they don't have to deal with the pressure of being "The Coach's Son".
    • JD McCoy is a freshman phenom with a wildly overbearing dad. He's being groomed to be a future NFL star quarterback and his father forbids him to do things like drink soda, watch TV, or date. The one time JD shows signs of acting like a teenager, his father literally slaps him, forcing the coaches to intervene. Eventually, JD crumbles under the pressure.
    • Averted with Smash Williams' mother Corrina. Smash puts a lot of pressure on himself, wanting to use football as a way to a better future where he can provide for himself and his family. Corrina constantly reminds him that the goal is to have fun and get a good education. The only time she gets really upset with Smash regarding football is when she finds out he's been secretly using steroids to improve his scholarship chances.
    • Buddy Garrity is a sports dad but it's played for comedy. A former football player himself, he is head of the boosters, number one fan for the Dillon Panthers even though he doesn't have a kid on the team. He's concerned about the Panthers even as he's been kicked out of the house and his wife is filing for divorce. He is ecstatic when Buddy Jr. tries out and then becomes guardian of a potential player when Buddy doesn't work out.
  • Discussed in House of Anubis. Mara's parents are both professional athletes, with her father being an Olympic gold medalist and her mother being a professional hockey player. So, in her own words, they were "pushy" about her playing sports, to the point where Patricia claims that Mara has been "living, breathing, eating it all her life" despite being a nerd who doesn't actually enjoy athletics. This allows her to relate more to Mick, who has the opposite issue of being a Lovable Jock whose doctor father wants him to also be a doctor.
  • Came up repeatedly on Law & Order:
    • Ben Stone describes his father this way, in addition to being an Alcoholic Parent.
    • In a case involving a Stage Mom, Mike Logan compared her to the father of a childhood friend, who got way too invested in their little league games.
    • One episode featured a young tennis phenom, whose father fit this trope. She hired a thug to break her wrist so she could have an excuse to quit.
    • Another episode featured a father who killed his son's hockey league coach for not giving his son enough time on the ice.
  • In one episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a young hockey player accidentally kills his teammate during a hazing gone wrong. It turns out the hazing was carried out under the orders of the player's overbearing and abusive father; the kid didn't want to do it, but was afraid of what his father would do if he disobeyed. In the end, the father ends up being held partially responsible for the other child's death, while the boy gets a reduced sentence in exchange for testifying against his father.
  • Exaggerated for Black Comedy in a MADtv (1995) sketch parodying High School Musical. The star of the basketball team sings about how his father is abusively obsessed with his performance in the games, and would brutally beat him when his basketball performance was deemed sub-par.
    "When we lose a game, he whips my ass with his favorite leather belt
    Last night he worked me over good, check out all these nasty weeeeelts!"
  • Dan Scott is an overbearing Sports Dad in One Tree Hill. He is constantly on his son Nathan who is the star of the high school basketball team. He also harasses his illegitimate son Lucas, who is also a talented basketball player, because he sees Lucas as competition to the rightful "heir" despite Lucas being older. Dan is so intense that Nathan often expresses that he loves basketball in spite of his father rather than because of him. Later, we learn that Royal, Dan's father, was the same type of father and Dan eventually faked a career-ending injury to escape the constant pressure.
  • Twice In A Lifetime, episode Curveball. In this episode, the father was pressuring the son to be as good as possible in baseball, while boasting his success back in high school. For this episode, the teenage son gets the early episode death, and is sent back — witnessing his father's younger self flub that swing.
  • Stargirl (2020) has Larry Crock, a middle-aged man who runs Blue Valley's local gym and who's daughter is the Blue Valley High Football quarterback. Considering the eventual reveal in episode six that he used to be the sports-themed supervillain Sportsmaster (and subsequently comes out of retirement), it's very likely that the choice for her to join the team was mainly his choice. However, this is mainly fan speculation.
  • The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers: All of the parents whose kids are part of the current Ducks team (which is now a powerhouse) are this, having splurged on expensive gear, private coaching sessions, etc. to try to get their middle school aged kids to the highest competitive levels of hockey. One parent in particular has hired a pediatric sports psychologist.
  • Ted Lasso: Jamie Tartt's father abandoned him and his mother shortly after his birth, only to come back in the picture when Jamie started getting attention for his soccer skills. He proceeded to verbally and physically abuse him for doing anything he considered "soft" and continues to do so even though he's a young star in the English Premier League.

    Print Media 
  • One MAD article, showing some children playing sports, points to parents trying to live vicariously through their children. Another article in late 2012 parodied this by giving "guidelines" for pageant moms to follow.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Ezekiel", Shake forces his son Ezekiel to play basketball and tennis in an attempt to make him a sports star, constantly berating him when Ezekiel shows no talent or interest in it, and tries to commit suicide to make him feel guilty. When he finds out Ezekiel is so skilled in chess that he beat the Chess Dragon, Shake shows pride in him and plans on taking him to the Olympic committee. (Shake's not very smart and doesn't know chess isn't an Olympic sport anymore.) That's when Frylock tells him not only is Ezekiel not his son, he's actually older than Shake.
    [Ezekiel] is going to be a professional basketball star because that is what his father demands of him.
  • Willie Watt from Batman Beyond has a father who pressures him into fighting the guys who are bullying him. He ends up snapping and sending a giant remote-controlled robot after his tormentors and, later, after his own father.
  • Big City Greens Has Russel Remington, a former football player with everything to show for it including his own videogame, a huge mansion and a helicopter he uses for transportation. Shortly after his son Remy was born he was eager to toss him a football and fully expected him to share the same passion for the sport. He serves as much kinder example in that after he discovers that Remy only pretended to like football to impress him, He apologizes and expresses that he's proud of Remy.
  • Daria: Kevin's father is ridiculously proud of the fact that Kevin is the quarterback of his high-school football team, and doesn't care that Kevin is in danger of flunking all of his classes.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In "Sports a Poppin", Dexter's father tries to teach him different sports (including football, basketball, baseball and others), but Dexter doesn't succeed in any of them. After his dad gives up and Dee Dee sets free a monster, Dexter starts defeating it using surprisingly good athletic skills that his father doesn't see.
  • In an episode of Hey Arnold!, the basketball coach's son Tucker is on the basketball team, and the coach's most important rule is "Pass the ball to Tucker". Tucker enjoys basketball and is a decent player, but he often feels overly pressured by his father, which often causes him to miss free throws due to the stress.
  • King of the Hill: Hank Hill, who tries to push Bobby into sports despite him not being good at it. Hank later accepts this.
  • The Simpsons: In "Bart Star", Springfield starts up a sports league after finding the young boys in town are overweight. After a series of events, Homer becomes the coach and discourages and insults Bart while putting him through Training from Hell. Homer eventually realizes his own father never acknowledged him either, so he amends his behavior and becomes overbearingly supportive of Bart and has him replace Nelson as quarterback, despite Bart being a terrible player and the rest of the team despising him for it.
    • In a later episode, there is even an in-universe video game titled "Hockey Dad", in which two such fathers brawl, Blades Of Steel-style, under the winner's son comes to prevent further legal repercussions.

     Web Original 
  • Siria Ashen's parents in Dina Marino are disappointed in their daughter's choice of going to university instead of focusing solely on her martial arts skills.

    Real Life 
  • Association Football:
    • Graham Carr was a professional footballer who became manager of the lower-league Northampton Town. His ambition was for his only son Alan to follow him into football as a player. He was, according to his son, surprisingly accepting of the fact this was never going to happen. Alan Carr now makes his living as a comedian, actor and radio presenter and cheerfully acknowledges he would not be a good fit for football.
    • In 2017, an Irish teenager sued his former football club for allegedly causing him post-traumatic stress disorder by dropping him from the under-15 team. The boy's father was the team's former coach, and behind the scenes, he complained to the club's board and even unsuccessfully attempted to bring a vote of no confidence in the team's current coach. Unsurprisingly, the judge ruled in the club's favour, and he saw exactly what was going on, explicitly telling the boy's father to distance himself from his son's sporting career.
  • Boxing:
    • Roy Jones Jr.'s father was an abusive man who was driven to mould his son into becoming a successful professional boxer, forcing him to fight grown men at the age of 8, train ridiculously hard at a young age, and encourage him into getting into cockfighting. Jones Jr has gone on record saying that he isn't afraid of any punishment he takes in the ring because what his dad used to do to him was worse.
    • A similar situation that did not work out very well at all involved Kenneth Williams, who was forced by his father to take boxing lessons to "knock the poof streak out of you". At the earliest possible moment, Kenneth Williams, who had wanted to become a serious actor (arousing his father's ire) but who became by degrees a Camp Gay comedian and comic actor, left home. He never spoke to his father again.
  • Lil Peep had a very difficult relationship with his estranged father, which his mother speculated was partly related to the dad viewing his relationship with his kids mostly through the lens of being their sports coach.
  • There have been some notorious cases in Tennis:
    • Australian/Serbian player Jelena Dokic's father/coach Damir was notorious for his aggressive and abusive courtside behaviour when she began playing in major tournaments. He also moved his family back from Australia to Serbia after accusing Australian tennis officials of match-fixing. She eventually managed to break away from him, sacking him as her coach and moving back to and competing for Australia.
    • Mary Pierce's father/coach Jim admitted to training her when she was a child by repeatedly serving balls with his full strength at her face, notoriously screamed "kill the bitch!" at her from the audience during a match when she was twelve, and was on the receiving end of a restraining order from her in 1993, after which he got stabbed by her bodyguard.
    • Bernard Tomic's father/coach John was banned from the ATP tour after he assaulted his son's hitting partner Thomas Drouet. He has reportedly been verbally and physically abusive to his own son for a long time; Drouet said that he once saw him punch Bernard in the mouth during practice.
    • German icon Steffi Graf was introduced to the sport by her father, a car-salesman-turned-tennis-coach who later became her manager and kept a tight grip on her schedule. He eventually landed in jail for tax fraud.
    • As documented by King Richard, Richard Williams was a downplayed case, as he sure pushed daughters Venus and Serena towards the court from a very young age, resulting in two of the greatest players to ever hold a racket. But he very much wanted them to be successful outside tennis too, even pulling them out of junior tournaments until they finished school.
  • American Football:
    • Bill Butterfield was a man from suburban Dallas whose athletic aspirations were cut short in high school when his girlfriend became pregnant. He then tried to mold both his sons into sports stars in his place, through a strict diet and training regimen and years of verbal and emotional abuse. His elder son Billy eventually just walked away, leaving his father to focus on younger son Lance, who was eight at the time. Over the years, Bill became increasingly controlling, abusive, and crazy towards Lance, dictating his life, recording his matches, giving him steroids, and eventually beating him daily. His wife sometimes tried to intervene, only to be cowed into submission herself. The final straw for both was Lance's relationship with a girl named Kim; for Bill, it was the specter of his own downfall, and for Lance, it was his father becoming downright obsessive with ending the relationship and keeping it ended. Eventually, on December 27, 1995, Lance snapped and shot him dead. Tellingly, at Lance's murder trial, the onlookers booed the prosecution, who could not find a single person who would testify that Bill Butterfield didn’t deserve to die. The defense, meanwhile, fielded dozens of character witnesses for Lance, including Bill's own sister and father, with the latter writing a sworn affidavit that Lance shouldn't be prosecuted. In the end, after a mistrial, likely because the jury didn't want to convict but couldn't find a legal reason to let Lance off the hook, both sides agreed to a plea bargain for manslaughter and Lance served two years in prison.
    • Marv Marinovich, father of former NFL player Todd Marinovich, tried to engineer Todd from birth to be the perfect quarterback. In high school and college, Todd earned the nickname "Robo QB", because he was like a machine. Nobody else had his training and diet regimen, so there was no one who could compete with him. That changed when he got to the NFL, where he was an infamous bust. Todd never especially liked football; he just couldn't tell his obsessed father he wanted to do something else. Once he got to the NFL, with no one to tell him what to do, he spent more of his time getting stoned than maintaining his "Robo QB" talent.
    • Defied by former NFL quarterback Archie Manning. Despite knowing the ins and outs of making it to the NFL (having played himself) and having three sons (Cooper, Peyton, and Eli) with huge potential, he had almost no involvement in his sons' football careers; in fact, as he revealed in a 2005 interview, there was a point in time when Archie thought Eli might not be interested in football, and his immediate reaction was to... worry that Eli might feel pressured to play football even if he didn't want to because of his family's association with the game, because that was the exact opposite of what Archie wanted, which was for his sons to choose their own paths (he described his thought process as, "If [Eli] wants to play piano, let's get him a piano"). When the boys reached high school age, Archie and his wife sent them to a prep school in New Orleans with rigorous academic standards and a poor football program because he felt school was more important. Even after the kids became hot college recruits, Archie didn't force them to attend his alma mater Ole Miss and let them choose their schools (though Cooper and Eli picked Ole Miss anyway). Though the college coaches invited him to sit in on games and meetings and discuss offensive strategies, Archie declined and sat in the stands on game day as a regular fan. In the end, Peyton and Eli became NFL quarterbacks with Hall of Fame-worthy careers that surpass their father's, while Cooper may have made it as a wide receiver had it not been for a severe spinal condition that forced him to retire in college (he had to settle for being an extremely successful investment banker and TV sports broadcaster instead).
      • Cooper has gone on to defy this trope as his dad did with his own son Arch. For starters, he sent Arch to the same prep school he and his brothers had attended. In an age where top high school prospects are active on social media, frequently attend public showcases, and often meet with recruiters beginning in their freshman year, Cooper, with the assistance of the family and Arch's coaches, has done everything he can to shield Arch from the media and restrict the access college coaches have with him so he can have a more normal high school experience. Cooper even refused to let coaches make any scholarship offers until the spring of Arch's sophomore year. He also didn't pressure Arch to choose any particular school, and Arch ended up committing to Texas, which had no connection to the family.
  • LaVar Ball quickly made a name for himself as a basketball dad, promoting his three sons as future NBA stars as soon as they were teenagers. He also has his own athletic apparel brand and unashamedly uses his sons to promote it in a feeble attempt to go up against the big names like Nike and Adidas. His oldest son Lonzo is a genuinely talented college player who was drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017 (good thing, too, because LaVar insisted Lonzo would only play for the Lakers), but some basketball fans are actively rooting for Lonzo to become a bust and for the Lakers to implode just to get LaVar off their TVs and out of the picture. Among other things, Lonzo turned down a multi-million dollar shoe endorsement deal with Nike and signed up with his father's company, a huge financial gamble that would likely only benefit LaVar if anybody, and a move many saw as forced on him by LaVar.
  • Formula One seems to attract its share:
    • Lewis Hamilton's dad and ex-manager Anthony was a total stage dad. Lewis eventually had to fire him, leaving them not on speaking terms for a couple of years. Their relationship appears to have improved recently, however, with Lewis dedicating his 7th world championship to his father.
    • Max Verstappen's father Jos was himself an F1 driver (best remembered not for his driving so much as having caught fire once) who really wanted Max to be a racing driver. He started his son racing when he was just four years old, was a harsh disciplinarian, has a record of assault (and a restraining order against him from Max's mother), and forced Max to debut professionally at age 17 (which, by the way, is too young to legally drive any car in several countries, including the country he races for). Max couldn't finish that first race because of a blown engine (so through no fault of his own), but the cameras caught Jos' visible disgust.
  • Gymnastics:
    • American gymnast Dominique Moceanu sued her parents for emancipation at the age of 17, stating that her father was abusive and controlling and had taken and squandered all of her (substantial) gymnastics earnings, and was more concerned with building a "brand" around her than with her as a person.note  A New York Times article stated that:
    Friends and advisers of [Moceanu] said in interviews that her father, Dumitru Moceanu, controlled and pressured his daughter, appeared to be living his life through her and had no apparent outside source of income...Dominique Moceanu said that she "never had a childhood," that she lived in fear because her parents often screamed at her and that her father had hit her "a couple of times." Dominique told the newspaper that she sometimes thought of her parents, "Can't you be my mom and dad instead of me being your business?"
    • While she's never spoken publicly about it, fans of American gymnast and 2012 Olympic All-Around champion Gabby Douglas have noted that her mother heavily stage-managed her career even after Douglas was an adult, including making decisions against Douglas' wishes (i.e. Douglas had a gym situation that worked for her, but her mother forced her to leave that gym because she objected to a clause in the training contract) and pushing her to stick with gymnastics even when she wasn't sure she wanted to anymore, and that Douglas seemed to be her family's primary income earner. Specifically, comparisons have been drawn between Douglas and her 2016 teammates Simone Biles and Aly Raisman, as both Raisman and Biles had involved parentsnote  who played a role in their careers but were nonetheless allowed to make their own decisions and run their own lives in a way Douglas was not, and were not expected to support their families financially.
  • Baseball star Ichiro Suzuki has a father who aggressively pushed him towards the sport since birth. Most of his childhood revolved around baseball, with his father preventing him from even playing with other children in favor of additional batting practice. Fortunately for both Ichiro and baseball fans everywhere, Ichiro did enjoy the sport and went on to become the greatest player Japan has ever produced, but it's very telling that despite Japan's traditional, family-obsessed culture, he has completely cut his father out of his life.
  • Hockey player Eric Lindros had stage parents who made a big impact on his career. Lindros was widely expected to be the next great superstar when he was a teenager, and he was set to be drafted first overall by the NHL's Quebec Nordiques in 1991. Neither of his parents wanted him to play for the Nordiques, partly because Quebec City was small, provincial, French-speaking, and unlikely to market him properly (and partly because the Nordiques were a tire-fire of an organization that was perpetually broke and rumored to want to leave Quebec themselves). The Nordiques drafted Lindros despite declaring (at his parents' behest) that he wouldn't sign. He refused to play for them and held out for a year before the Nordiques were able to trade him to the Philadelphia Flyers. This got Lindros' career off on the wrong foot and made him an early pariah with a Jerkass reputation. Lindros did go on to become a very good player for the Flyers, until his career (and that of his little brother) was cut short by injuries.note