More and more these days, winning seems to becoming more important that the game. I have a hard time understanding why. Sure, we all like to win, but we’re doing our kids a disservice by placing such a high value on winning.
A “win at all cost” mentality doesn’t teach kids the importance of playing by the rules and behaving honorably…it doesn’t teach a sense of fair play.
It also sets our kids up for failure later in life. No one “wins” every time. Learning how to lose gracefully is important.
When I was growing up, there weren’t as many opportunities for young girls and sports. Baton twirling was big where I lived, and so I took lessons. I actually twirled batons for many years, from the time I was in grade school through most of high school. Then in high school I also started running cross country and track.
One thing I learned from being in a competitively judged environment versus an environment where time is the only thing that matters is that in order to do well, you are relying on someone else’s opinion. And different judges have different opinions. Sometimes opinions change.
From all those years that I spent baton twirling, there is one competition that I remember. Not because I placed first, but because a competitor’s mother took it upon herself to complain about me winning. Afterwards, I was moved down in the standings. Whether there was some error on the judge’s side, or that particular mother’s heavy handed tactics swayed the judge, I’ll never know, but baton twirling was never the same for me after that.
In high school I started running. No one judges how you run; it’s all about time. The fastest person wins. I found out I was a pretty good runner, and that’s what I became, running cross country and track in high school and college.
Although I never did a team sport myself, I’ve been watching my kids play soccer for the past eleven years. And the conclusion I’ve come to is that we go a little crazy when it comes to our kids sports. But let’s face it, most of our kids aren’t going to become the next Eli Manning or Mia Hamm.
We should be concentrating on the important things…learning the game, having fun, good sportsmanship and teaching a sense of fair play. So today I am over at Coach Daddy, talking about how It’s Only a Game. I’d love it if you’d stop by and visit me there.