Sunday, February 9, 2014

The value of a dollar

I was having a conversation with a friend a few weeks back about a Jr. devo team in the Midwest that has a bit of a bad rep when it comes to crashing often. These are really young kids that have a ton of talent, and maybe a bit faster than their ability can handle. They race like they are in bumper cars ad I have been told that they are instructed to not fear crashing because it just happens. To an extent I can agree that yes it does happen, but the frequency that it happens to these kids is absurd, and they just tend to put themselves into situations that are dangerous. They seem to race every lap like there is a race to the front, rather than than the race actually just being to the finish line at the end. I have a theory that they also have no idea about the price of their crashes. The cost to replace equipment and clothing is a factor to many people, the only people I know that it does not matter to are pros and kids.
So tonight while I road my trainer for a few hours I was thinking about kids and them learning the value of a dollar. In coaching I have a lot of kids that have never had a job, have very wealthy parents, and don't know that their jacket they left on the floor cost $150, or if they do, they don't know what it took for their parent to buy them that jacket. But when you have a kid, who trains 20+ hours a week, is a A+ student that studies 4 hours a night, and goes to school 8 hours a day, you don't have much time for anything else but sleep.
So my thought was, give your kid the dream, make them a pro athlete. For the kids that race bikes, especially on devo teams, this is the goal anyways. Now you are thinking, "Crap I already spend enough on this kid, now I have to pay them to do a sport I already pay for?" Just give me a sec to explain. So you make your kid a part time employee of the Parent Government, you are the "government" because you supply them with many things the government does for some low income people. Housing, food, healthcare, etc. So you are still giving them a place to live, food to eat, they are on your healthcare, you buy them clothes, if they have a car to drive to practice they still have that. So now you pay them like a minimum wage employee, say maybe $9 a hour. Sorry if that is wrong, it was just a number I chose. So when they have practice they get paid. If they don't go for any reason, they don't get paid. Doesn't matter if for school or anything else, if you miss for work, you don't get paid. So lets say your kid trains 20 hour a week +$9 an hour times 4 weeks a month. That is $720 a month. Now as a government you are able to to tax your citizens so lets say 25%, I know low income doesn't necessarily pay taxes, but this is about learning what life is like and I doubt you want your kids to grow up and struggle so much they don't. So now their take home is $540 a month.
Next your kid has to pay for training. For my kids at the gym that is $310 a month so now they only have $230. A good cycling coach might cost $180 a month, in that case they would still have $360. If they have a car they need to pay for gas, lets say $120 a month, that is $110 or $240. If they have an injury or a car accident, they will need the deductible or co-pay. Entries into races or competitions are paid by them. If they need equipment or clothing for their sport, that is on them. As you already know, the money is gone fast, and your kid will learn that too. They will start to see how hard it is to earn that money, and how fast what they think is a lot of money, is gone.
I have friends whose kids hate to spend their own money and are always asking for money to go to the movies or for gas. This would have to be avoided for the lesson to be learned. This is also a great time to teach them about credit and how fast debt can get out of control. You can tell that the money your kids are "earning" would not cover anywhere near the cost to compete and you could "lend" them the money.
So really this is money you are going to spend already, and truthfully money never really even needs to change hands. This could be good to as the world is more and more a credit debit card place. So just a thought, think it is what I would do.


  1. I like what your saying Nick, but every time i ride conservatively I am not thinking about $$$. I think that the issue is more about the culture they grow up in. One that values ultra aggressive racing. I see a lot of this ultra aggressive racing at ToAD. Jr's are so aggressive the entire first half of the race that when the time comes for a make or brake moment, they have burnt up all their matches. I see these guys attack on every hill, and even attack when a teammate is off the front. They don't realize their errors. I wonder who talks with them about race strategy. Right now it appears like a bunch of adults (who would seem not to know the sport well) are telling them to "ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK!" or maybe they left to their own guidance and feel like they need to prove something to older riders....

    Either way i don't see it as a money issue. I see it as poor guidance. I do agree that it is a good opportunity to learn about the dollar (although unrelated in my eyes)

  2. I think you could be totally right on this Dusty. It is only my experience that makes me think about the cost to race. Everything on my bike, I have determined, is replaceable, as I understand the costs and the value. I guess I think/thought if a kid who is getting a "salary" and has to pay for replacement parts, they might start to think about the conciquenses of their actions. On the other hand they are kids and don't always put cause and effect together. Thanks for your thoughts man.