Parents Sure Are Keen on Their Kids Becoming Pro Athletes

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Here’s a curiosity. According to a new poll, 26 percent of parents of high school athletes hope their kids will turn pro someday. This rises to 39 percent among parents who earn less than $50,000 per year. As Christopher Ingraham points out, this is pretty ridiculous. Fewer than 1 percent of high school athletes—way fewer than 1 percent—ever make it to the show.

And it’s actually even more ridiculous than that. If your kid isn’t already a star athlete by high school, the chances of going pro drop to basically zero. There’s no way that 39 percent of these folks are the parents of star athletes.

This makes me curious about what this poll really means. Do parents “hope” their kids become pro athletes the same way they hope to win the lottery someday? As in, it’s nice to dream about, but it’s probably not going to happen. Or do they hope in the same way they hope to buy a new car next year? As in, with a little luck and some hard work our dream could come true. These are two very different things.

If it’s mostly the former, no harm done. I’d like to win the lottery too. But if it’s mostly the latter, America must be chock full of really disappointed parents. Maybe that explains something.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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