Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Winning Isn't Everything but It Is Something

PT decided to give soccer another try this year.  He has played t-ball/baseball for the last two Spring seasons.  Last Friday was his 1st game and he had a great time despite the cold and wind.  The funny thing is, he had a great time despite his team losing to (what I think was) 6-0. 

We get back in the car and says, "Mom, I love sports like this."  I wasn't sure what he meant so I asked what he meant by "sports like this."  He replied, "Sports where there actually is a winner.  Usually the coaches just say, I think we tied." 

It made me laugh.  So much thought has went into making young sporting activities so non-competitive, everyone gets a trophy, and every game ends in a "tie."  I agree that coaches and parents should focus on helping kids learn the fundamentals, sportsmanship, build self-esteem, and most importantly have fun.  Yells from the sideline should be of encouragement and of be positive.

However, I guess what I am noticing is that kids aren't being fooled.

Last year, L won a trophy in softball following tournament play.  I remember her saying something like it was the first trophy that she had "actually earned."  She was thrilled.  When they are preschoolers we play Candyland and someone wins.  They know how to count but we think they might not notice that one team has kicked 6 balls in the net and their team had 0.  Some kids catch on pretty quickly and they might just wonder why we keep lying and saying that their team tied. 

I do not want the focus to be on winning but I don't think it is wrong to help a child understand how to deal with winning, as well as losing, with good sportsmanship.  Once they are old enough to wonder who won, maybe we should tell them?  I say this knowing that at one time or another I have had one my kids get upset/cry when he/she loses.  My 3rd grader still struggles with this quite a bit, but she is wired that way and not from lack of encouragement or exposure.

Losing stinks sometimes but the game is fun. You have to be a good sportsman either way.  That's what I want them to know. 

Have your kids caught onto the everyone "ties" method?  If so, at what age?

1 comment:

Anthony said...

I agree. this is life. we can't protect them from life. i frequently hear the complaint that 20 something adults in the workplace all expect to be lavishly paid, and lavishly complimented, as a result of the last generation who raised them based soley on protecting their "self esteem."