Friday Night Tykes is a new show on Esquire that will change your life forever. Now, if you live Down South, the images of competitive football for children may not surprise you. But if you're a Yankee, or from anywhere in the world that is not Texas (better known as football country), then you are simply not ready:
When the show first premiered, Twitter was all a-buzz with rage. Is the show tantamount to child abuse? Are the coaches clinically insane? And what kind of parents would sign their babies up for this madness?
Well, the good thing about the show is that it raises these and other interesting questions. For parents who are not interested in their children getting a "participation" trophy, these teams make a lot of sense. And you could, if you wanted to play devil's advocate, liken the intensity of these teams to the intensity young girls and boys experience when they're in training for competitive gymnastics. The risk of injury, the lessons in discipline, the pressure, and the ultimate pay-off are all high. But is it ultimately worth it? Does it strip innocent children of their youth? Or are the children on Friday Night Tykes learning invaluable lessons in responsibility and hard work in a world where too many children never get these lessons?
These are all difficult questions to answer, and you'll probably have to tune in (Tuesdays, 9:00 pm EST) to make a real determination. Plus if you watch, you'll get a chance to meet this lady:
Yeah. You're not ready for Friday Night Tykes.
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Episode 1. Weakness Leaving the Body
(AIR DATE 01/14/2014)
Coaches prepare for a winning season in the premiere of this reality series following five teams in the Texas Youth Football Association. First up: A player runs laps in hot weather after missing four weeks of training to visit his grandmother.
Episode 2. Whose House
(AIR DATE 01/14/2014)
Episode 3. Now They're Playing Scared
(AIR DATE 01/21/2014)
Questions about parenting and safety arise when a player gets injured. Meanwhile, a coach and manager argue as the winless Jr. Broncos struggle.
Episode 4. Protect Our Kids!
(AIR DATE 01/28/2014)
Off-field tensions result in an on-field altercation between the Outlaws and Junior Broncos. Meanwhile, the Jr. Rockets try to salvage their season and their coach attempts to salvage his career.
Episode 5. Why?
(AIR DATE 02/04/2014)
The beleaguered coach of the Jr. Rockets loses the support of parents as his struggling team readies for a showdown with the undefeated Colts.
Episode 6. All for Nothing
(AIR DATE 02/25/2014)
As the regular season nears its end, the stakes escalate.
Episode 7. Today Is the Test
(AIR DATE 03/04/2014)
In an epic end to the season, the top teams meet in a battle of the unbeatens.
Episode 8. Win or Go Home
(AIR DATE 03/11/2014)
Playoffs are here! The Outlaws and Colts regroup, and plan on meeting again.
Episode 9. Send Them Home
(AIR DATE 03/18/2014)
The Predators look to continue their unlikely playoff run.
Episode 10. Finish What We Started
(AIR DATE 03/25/2014)
The undefeated Outlaws move on to the state championship, but problems between the coach and the star quarterback could impact the team before it plays its final game.
Episode 11. Tackling Tykes
(AIR DATE 04/01/2014)
It discusses the impact of its controversial Season One. Subjects like the role of youth sports, how hard should we be pushing our kids, what expectations should we have for coaches, parental pressure and behavior.
Focuses on 8- and 9-year-old football players in the Rookies division in the San Antonio region of the Texas Youth Football Association. The series follows five different teams, both on and off the football field, during the 2013 season from preseason training to state championship.