Swimming's Rich Little Poor Girl (II) 见钱不开眼的游泳小女孩 (之二)

从富兰克林刚开始她年青的游泳生涯,她的父母就明确决定由她自己来决定一切。她的父亲,迪克,是一个无污染技术公司的一个地区主管;她的母亲,迪艾,是一位医生。他们说,之所以做出这样的决定是为了他们的独生女可以继续以最大的限度来享受她所喜欢做的事情。无论如何,他们会继续支持并引导她。

十一月,当她获得世界游泳锦标赛总分第二名的时候,她面对获得50,000美元的奖金,而且她还在获得23,000美元的奖金。她的父母就召开了一个家庭会议,他们要她知道她面临的情况。(她最终还是拒绝了这些奖金。)

作为一个残疾病人医生的妈妈说,“我是这么对她说的,‘你是否知道在这四天游泳比赛中,你赢得了73,000美元的奖金?你是不是知道妈妈需要辛苦工作一整年才能挣这么多的钱?但是我想你才16岁,你是无法明白这些。你知道73,000美元或者100,000美元到底是什么意思吗?’”

还有一位类似的人物也把大学生涯的经验视为至关重要,娜塔莉·库格林,她积极准备第三次加入美国奥运队。她说,在2004年奥运会前,她权衡了是否要在加州放弃参加奥运会的资格。她在世界游泳竞标赛上创造了四项世界纪录。但是她没有接受奖金,而在奥运会之后又回到学校。

 “一旦你成为一个职业运动员,这就是你的职业了”,二十九岁的库格林这么说。“她才16岁,不需要一个正式的工作。我花了多年的时间来学习如何来安排职业运动员的训练和竞赛;我觉得不应该让这些事情给富兰克林在参加奥运会的时候带来烦恼。”

同时,库格林还说她知道运动员的压力,因为运动员出成绩的时间是很有限的。富兰克林说她不希望在她成长的过程中,生活在一堆金钱的诱惑之下。“我躺在床上的时候根本就不去想我可以用它来做什么。”她还说,对于全美大学体育协会的规定,她根本不觉得这是一个问题。“他们这样规定是有他们的理由的。”

受到父母的支持,这对富兰克林所作的决定来说是很有关系的。而且她的父母都有比较好的收入来支付家庭的开支。因此她就没有像其他年轻运动员有那么多的经济问题。她爸爸说,“我们就是希望她只是一个孩子,做她喜欢做的事,如同初生牛犊不怕虎那样向前冲。”

尽管如此,要参加国际游泳比赛还是很花钱的事。她一家为此奔波了德国、俄罗斯、西班牙、瑞典,和阿拉伯联合酋长国。虽然美国游泳协会补助了米基一些旅费,但是她父母就得自筹资金陪同女儿参加比赛,因为他们觉得这对他们的女儿是重要的,所以他们就尽一切努力与她同行。她妈妈说,“我们不会让她一个人去俄罗斯的”。到上海参加两星期的 世界游泳竞标赛就让他们全家花去了一万三千美元,包括了一百五十美元把他们的纯种爱斯基摩狗茹葛放到养狗场寄存。

另外,在她成为明星的道路上还有其他附加的损失。因为美国大学体育协会的规定,大学生运动员是不可以有经纪人的;所以她妈妈不得不不工作一年来帮她打理其他有关她运动方面的事情。每天就有从传播媒介和不同公司打来约八次电话,要约见米基。而她父母希望她被约见的次数每周仅在一次左右。

她父亲迪克·富兰克林说,“如果我们发觉有什么不寻常的情况,我们就会与她一起坐下,让她明白她所拒绝的是些什么,不然她会被那么多压力弄伤了。作为父母的,就要保护我们的孩子。”

米基偶尔也会答应一二件要求 – 比如时尚杂志希望不久可以登米基的一张照片。这是件不假思索的事。米基说,“天哪,我太兴奋了!”但是之所以答应这个要求,让时装作宣传就是因为拍这张照片是没有酬劳的。然而对于付钱的事情,哪怕再少的钱,也是一概拒绝。

比如在第一季赛季结束,新年的时候,丹佛·布朗克很荣幸地把“运动权威”运动器材商店价值五百美元的礼券赠送个米基的时候,她不得不拒绝接受。“我至少就又损失了一副护目镜了”,米基说。



讨论问题:

1.      在这篇文章里,有什么地方给你留下深刻的印象或者打动了你的心?

2.      如果你就是米基·富兰克林的父母,你对她的劝导是什么呢?如果有些事情不是她愿意去做的,那你会怎样引导她去做呢?

3.      你觉得这些美国人父母对孩子的教导与你生活的文化相比,你有什么感觉?

From the beginning of Franklin's precocious career, her parents made clear they were going to let her make her own decisions. Her father, Dick, the regional director of a clean-technologies company, and her mother, D.A., a physician, said they felt that was the best way to ensure that their only child continued to enjoy what she was doing. They would, however, offer support and guidance.

So when she stood to make $50,000 in November for finishing second overall in the FINA World Cup series, plus $23,000 for winning several races (all of which she ultimately turned down), her parents called for a family meeting. They wanted to make sure she had some perspective.

"I was able to say, 'You know the $73,000 you just made in four days of swimming? You see how hard Mommy has to work to earn that in an entire year?'" said D.A. Franklin, who works with developmentally disabled patients. "Because I don't think you quite get it when you're 16. You don't understand what $73,000 or $100,000 really means."

Missy has been steadfast, however: She wants to swim in college. She said she loves the camaraderie of being on a team, citing her experience last year when she helped Regis Jesuit High School to a state title. "I was bawling my eyes out," she said. "And I know college swimming is going to be like that. I love being part of a family."

For some, the college experience is invaluable. Natalie Coughlin, who's aiming to be part of her third U.S. Olympic team, said she found herself weighing whether to forgo her remaining eligibility at California before the 2004 Olympics. She had set four world records at a FINA World Cup event. Endorsement offers were rolling in. But she turned them down and returned to school after the Olympics.

"Once you become a professional athlete, that's your job," said Coughlin, 29. "She's a 16-year-old who doesn't need to have a full-time job. It's taken me many years to learn how to manage the professional side with the training and the competing, and I don't think that's something she needs to mess with in an Olympic year."

At the same time, Coughlin said she understands the tension at play: Athletes have a relatively small window during which they can profit off their skills. Franklin said she tries not to dwell on the growing pile of loot she's passing up. "I don't lie in bed thinking about what I could be doing with it," she said. She also said she has no issues with the NCAA: "Everything they do, they do for a reason."

It helps that she has supportive parents, she said—and that they earn good livings. As a result, she's immune from some of the financial pressures that other young athletes face. "We just want her to be a kid and have a blast," her father said.

Still, swimming can get expensive. The family has made trips to Germany, Russia, Spain, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates for meets. USA Swimming subsidizes Missy's travel expenses, but her parents are left to fend for themselves—and they feel it's important to be with her as much as possible. "We don't want her in Russia by herself," her mother said. The two-week trip to Shanghai for the FINA World Championships cost the family about $13,000—including $150 to put Ruger, their full-bred Malamute, in a kennel.

And then there are the ancillary demands of her growing stardom. Missy can't hire an agent because that, too, is prohibited by the NCAA. So her mother, who's taking the year off from her job, is left to field about eight phone calls a day from media outlets and various companies who want time with Missy. Her parents try to shield her from all but about one of these requests per week.

"If we see something extraordinary, we've got to sit down with her and make sure she understands what she's turning down, that she could be a shoulder injury from all this going away," Dick Franklin said. "That's just us trying to do our job as parents."

Missy does say yes on occasion—to Vogue magazine, for example, which wants to do a photo shoot with her in the near future. That was a no-brainer. "Oh my God, I am freaking out about that," she said. But the only reason she can do a fashion spread is that there's no compensation for it. Anything that involves money—however trivial the figure—is off-limits.

Such was the case when the Denver Broncos honored Missy during the first quarter of their regular-season finale on New Year's Day. She had no choice but to refuse their offer of a $500 gift certificate to The Sports Authority. "I totally would've bought a bunch of goggles," she said.


Discussion Questions:

1.   What is something impressive or fascinating to you from this article?

2.   If you are Missy Franklin’s parents, what would you advise her to do?  And how would you get her to do it if it is not something she wants to do?

3.   How do you compare the parenting style of these American parents with the parenting style of parents from your culture?  

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