A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this series focuses on a high school football team's extreme efforts to win the state championship and on the intense pressure to win that's placed on them by their coach, their parents, and their community. Little importance is placed on the benefits of participating in team sports (improved health and self-esteem, etc.), beyond the advantages that winning will bring. Some practice scenes are intense, but they're shown within the context of football training. Parents should also know that this show has storylines about teen girl-boy relationships.
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What's the story?
MTV's documentary series TWO-A-DAYS revolves around the members of the Hoover High Buccaneers football team. As the Hoover Bucs go after their fourth Alabama state championship, viewers watch members of the team struggle to meet the relentless, all-consuming demands of a top-tier high school football program while simultaneously managing school and their personal lives. On a team where \"losing is not an option\" and doing your best isn't enough, the priority is to win big. Perfection-seeking coach Rush Propst pushes his players to the limit during grueling, twice-daily practices, in which they're expected to leave their personal troubles -- including overbearing parents, legal woes, and demanding girlfriends -- on the sidelines.
Is it any good?
Expected to endure illness, injury, and extreme weather, the players fight for the touchdown, college scholarships, and a chance at local and national glory. For some, this fight also represents a ticket to a better life. While the series includes positive values like school spirit and team cooperation, they're overshadowed by the pitfalls of committing your entire life to a sport. The idea that these kids must "win at any cost" leads to a distorted sense of balance that's evidenced by their struggle to separate their performance in a game from their sense of identity -- and, to a larger extent, their self-worth.
Many of the players' parents and members of the Hoover community reinforce this skewed sense of self, further perpetuating the idea that there's only one thing or activity in the world that defines who we are. Football fans will undoubtedly find Two-a-Days entertaining, and teens will very likely enjoy the romantic tensions between players and their girlfriends. But in the end, what this documentary really shows viewers is that for players who are serious about turning football into a college or pro career, it stops being a game and, as a consequence, very often stops being fun.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about participating in sports. What are some of the positive things about playing team sports? Negative things? Families can also talk about how to balance an interest in sports with other activities. When does the love of a sport go too far? Why is it necessary to stop playing when you're sick or injured?
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