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A Sense of Fair Play

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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.

A Sense of Fair Play | A Dish of Daily Life #youthsports

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.


Sunday 24th of November 2013

I always wanted to be a baton twirler! I never played an competitive team sport either but I watched my two sons do so. Refs, umps and ridiculous parents can be off-putting.

Leah Elizabeth Locklear

Tuesday 19th of November 2013

Wonderful post and such great points! I agree sometimes losing actually teaches us the better lessons! Sharing and pinning for sure! ~Leah~


Sunday 17th of November 2013

I do agree with all these points and I do beileve that sometimes parents go overboard. However, I don't believe in this whole sensitive movement. I did not raise my kids that way (but the school system did). You know, the one where you don't keep score and everyone gets an award. That's a step too far in the other direction. That just teaches mediocrity. Why work for something when it can be handed to you?

There has to be a middle ground somewhere. I hope that most parents are in the middle.


Friday 15th of November 2013

I was a gymnast for quite a few years, so I totally get where you're coming from!

Michelle Nahom

Saturday 16th of November 2013

Kids do take the lead from their parents and coaches...we all should try to be more aware of that I think! :)


Friday 15th of November 2013

Michelle - thanks so much for such a powerful post. You really nailed it on a topic that affects so many of us. Honored to have you this week! And thank you, Dish readers, for the visits!

Michelle Nahom

Saturday 16th of November 2013

Eli, thank you so much for having me! I'm a huge admirer of your blog, as you know! It was fun!