Kia Davis is a North Texas sports mom who does not like being called pushy.
Maybe she's splitting hairs, but she prefers the phrase "extreme sports parent."
No one will dispute that Davis is extreme. She is so hellbent on raising a superstar athlete that she has often drilled Tamiyjah, her basketball prodigy daughter, to the brink of exhaustion. She has been known to intimidate her daughter's coaches. And her sideline screaming, Tamiyjah says, is "so embarrassing."
Mom's behavior had gotten so out of control that it called for an intervention.
Enter Deion Sanders, the two-sport legend and host of the new reality series Sports Dads, which will air at 8 and 8:30 p.m. Friday on cable's Veria Living network.
This is a show in which Sanders confronts demanding sports parents who need a timeout.
Kia and Tamiyjah, now a sophomore playing varsity ball at Trinity High School in Euless, are featured in the 8:30 episode. The earlier half-hour involves an extreme soccer dad from Mesquite.
Davis is a good sport about it today -- the episode was filmed nearly a year ago, so she has had time to forgive and forget -- but she maintains she was "set up" when she agreed to be part of the show.
"I had no idea what they had in store for me," she says. "I had a friend of mine come to me and say: 'Listen, you need to do this show. You're one of the best moms I know when it comes to making sure your daughter gets what she needs as far as sports.' And I said, 'OK, I'll try it.'"
Like in an episode of Intervention, Davis thought she was being profiled for a very different kind of show. Then Sanders entered the room, intent on making Davis take a long look at herself in the mirror.
"It wasn't fair," Davis maintains. "It wasn't fair at all!"
Long story short, the tables are turned on Davis, who must endure the kind of intense training session that is a daily part of her daughter's life. And all the while, Sanders and Tamiyjah keep pushing when an exhausted Davis is ready to quit.
Had it been someone other than Sanders, a former Dallas Cowboy and the only athlete to play in both a Super Bowl and a World Series, she wouldn't have tolerated an outsider butting in.
"Seriously, part of me just wanted to kick his behind," she says. "The only reason I didn't was because it was Deion, and I would be in the news in the morning if I beat up Deion!
"But when I tell you I was mad, I was seeing red."
Before the day was over, however, Davis says she saw the error of her ways.
"Viewers are going to definitely enjoy watching me being tormented," she says. "They're also going to learn a lesson about parenting. I guarantee, from watching me, they'll learn: Don't push your kids too hard, because if that ball comes back to hit you in the face, it's going to hit you hard."
Still, to hear Davis talk today, one wonders how much she really has toned it down.
"Oh, I've definitely toned it down, but only an inch, because Tamiyjah still needs encouragement," Davis says. "We don't do the 6 a.m. workouts anymore, but that's the only thing I've taken off."
If Tamiyjah is going to make all her dreams come true, Davis maintains, she can't let up.
"She is going to continue to play on the varsity team, of course," Davis says. "And after graduating high school, she wants to go on to college, her top college being UConn. She loves UConn. And she definitely wants to go into the WNBA and do sports management and sports entertainment as well.
"She is taking life by the horns. But she needs me to keep reminding her: 'You've got to hit it every time. You can't let up. Because if you do, somebody else will be right there to take your spot.'"
That said, Mom had better remember that Tamiyjah probably has Deion's number on speed dial.