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'Friday Night Tykes' questions youth sports mentality

9:57 AM, Jan 15, 2014   |    comments
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KUSA - Youth football is getting an investigative look thanks to the Esquire Network's ten-part documentary series Friday Night Tykes.

Friday Night Tykes follows five San Antonio based football teams in the Texas Youth Football Association (TYFA), aged 8-9, on and off the field during the 2013 season.

The series takes a look one of the most elite football leagues in America, winning more state championships in the past five years than any other region in Texas.

The series trailer has drawn criticism from some for the approach the coaches are taking on their players.

"I don't care how much pain you're in. You don't quit," Jr. Broncos head coach Charles Chavarria said.

Chavarria is later seen telling a player, "If that kid comes across I want you to put it in his helmet. Do you understand? I don't care if he don't get up."

Executive Producer Matt Maranz poses the rhetorical question.

"How hard is too hard and how young is too young?"

"I don't know where that line is," Maranz said. "In Texas it's definitely more on the extreme side of ultra competitive and ultra intensity."

Even with professional sports taking a strong stance to prevent concussions, the trailer features two head-to-head hits within thirty seconds that would second looks in the NFL.

"They [TYFA parents] believe we are too soft on our kids, we coddle out kids and we do it to the detriment of our kids and society at large," Maranz said.

"We're done with everybody gets a trophy, everybody wins, everybody gets a fair turn," parent Lisa Connell said.

"We wanted him to understand the value of working hard, and the reward that came with that."

Maranz said the teams hid nothing from his cameras.

"What you see has been going on for years in the Texas Youth Football Association, long before we got there."

And good or bad, their attitudes won't change.

"It will be going on long after we leave."

Friday Night Tykes airs Tuesdays on Esquire Network.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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