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View Full Version : A dad ponders ACTN3 gene testing


nathan chong
05-04-2010, 01:47 PM
Hey all, Thought this might article might spark some interesting discussion:
http://newstilt.com/karltarogreenfeld/news/does-my-daughter-have-the-sports-gene
(nsfw 'cos of some language)

Disclosure up front: I'm a long time lurker and NewsTilt.com is my fledgling website; and Karl Greenfeld is the journalist/dad behind the article. I've been waiting for an article which might interest this forum for some time..!

Steven Low
05-04-2010, 04:17 PM
Interesting stuff.

On the one hand I think it's good to know if you have elite potential... but even still the athlete has to have the mentality and the commitment.

If they have neither or even only one of the last two then there's almost no way you can be elite if that's the case.

It would be nice to know as a parent, but it's really up to the kids whether they want it or not. I'm obviously on the side that wouldn't force them to do as such...

Joe Hart
05-04-2010, 05:04 PM
Yeah look at Marajaunavich.

nathan chong
05-05-2010, 04:34 AM
Hey Steven, I'm glad you found it an interesting link. I think it comes down to whether knowing that you have elite potential is a blessing or a burden(or, perhaps more likely, both).

It sounds like you agree with Karl and his decision not to tell Lola about her dynamite genes.

Geoffrey Thompson
05-05-2010, 04:36 AM
Looks like she'll never be a good marathon runner, though.

nathan chong
05-05-2010, 04:37 AM
Ross Enamait had an interesting rant about this subject way back in 2008:
http://rosstraining.com/blog/2008/12/03/little-ones-get-test-for-sports-gene/

It's interesting that this has become a commercial reality for parents now. Bioengineering is a field we're all going to have to know more about in the near future!

Steve Shafley
05-05-2010, 07:01 AM
A fool and his money are soon parted.

Gant Grimes
05-05-2010, 08:35 AM
I liked the article. I even reposted the damn thing on FB. I suppose it was just a matter of time. This gives parents an excuse to be even more obnoxious. Either that or pull their kids out of sports early. Me, I don't know or care what my kids have.

Sports can teach a kid a lot of valuable life lessons. These lessons are usually lost on those who don't play sports or play them really really well.

Geoffrey Thompson
05-05-2010, 10:04 AM
Yeah, kids should just play sports. In my home town, there was a kid (not my age) who dominated in basketball in middle school, then high school (he was also quarterback, was named the state's best football and basketball player), then dominated at the local university in basketball, then went to the NBA. Didn't dominate, but did decent. Now he's back in town as the head coach of the university basketball team. That's what elite looks like. It was pretty obvious that the kid was awesome from the beginning. You don't need a genetic test to tell you about that potential. It also doesn't mean that everybody else on the middle school team should quit. Or even care. They liked playing basketball. I think it's pretty obvious that most of us don't have elite genetics and that doesn't mean we should stop trying to do the best we can with what we've got.

Okay, one exception is if both of your parents are 5 ft tall. You probably won't get far in basketball or have much fun (or playing time) once everybody else gets a growth spurt.

Darryl Shaw
05-06-2010, 07:33 AM
Interesting article.

I remember seeing an interview on tv with one of the coaches of an Olympic team (think he was an Aussie) a while back where they asked him about testing childrens genes for athletic potential. This isn't verbatim but his reply went along the lines of ".... you don't need to do fancy tests on kids to find potential elite athletes, you just line a bunch of 'em up and shout "first one to that tree gets a chocky bar!". The one that wins the chocolate is the one with the most potential.......or the hungriest.....which is the same thing really."

Blair Lowe
05-06-2010, 10:36 PM
Some sports are ridiculously expensive. I could understand why they may want to concern themselves if they were paying 1-5k/yr. Now imagine doing that for 10-15 years.

As well, I often see scores of parents chiming in that they believe there is a value in what they pay for their children over on chalkbucket.com. (a gymnastics forum) Their kid may never hit the optional levels much less be an elite, but there still is something to be gained by them participating in said sport, whatever sport it is.

As a parent or coach, I would never tell the child the results of the test.

I saw Dr. G originally post this and found it pretty interesting. Even more so than the lack of myostatin gene in some children and animals.

However, more so than just the potential, there lies in the mentality of the athlete. We always here how so and so has so much potential, but never amounts to much or fizzles out (gets bored), etc. Quite often in many sports, it's who sticks around.

Looks like she'll never be a good marathon runner, though. Good.:D

Brandon Oto
05-07-2010, 07:16 AM
You don't even get to play unless you have already won the genetic lottery. Then you have to win the nurture lottery, then the happenstance lottery, and then just in general be incredibly lucky in every conceivable way, and then you will have earned the right to work your ass off like most civilians could never possibly imagine. Then you might -- might -- get to stand up there like a dodo all teary-eyed pretending you knew the words to your anthem.

Again to Carthage