Sunday, September 07, 2008

We are such wussies!

I remember the first real organized boys club (now called youth club) sporting event – it was a tee ball game – my team was sponsored by Reeser’s Auto Body and we played against “McClellans.” I remember losing that game 12-6, and I also remember going home and crying my eyes out! You see, my parents really never taught me how to lose prior to that. My dad and I would kick the soccer ball around in the back yard, and I’d always win. I thought I was probably the best 5-year-old soccer player ever. I also thought that I (or my team) would find a way to win. I learned a valuable lesson that day, and was able to accept defeat a lot better after that.

I don’t have kids, but I’ve heard this from quite a few people who do have kids – that youth sports is a lot different now. In fact, in many instances, they don’t even keep score, and in tee-ball, everybody bats every inning. Folks, I don’t want to offend anybody, but I think that’s a bunch of bullsh*t. It’s like we as a society are afraid to allow our kids to compete at all. What fun is that? What lessons are learned? How does that prepare ANYBODY for growing up?

Look, I wasn’t the greatest athlete growing up, and I wasn’t the worst, either. I knew there were plenty of kids better than me in certain sports, and I was cool with that. I remember being on an intramural baseball team that won 1 game the entire season. Was I upset with that? Of course not! Did I quit trying? Absolutely not! I loved to play. I loved to compete. Heck, I’d still like to get into a bar softball league, or maybe play basketball once a week. A topic for another day.

Seriously, how did we allow this to happen? Allow ourselves to create sports in which kids don’t compete. Can we even justify calling this a sport? I know, I know – this allows ALL kids to play, no matter if they are good or bad. Seriously? Are we going to do this with everything? Hey, I suck at math – can I build a rocket? Man, I was never good in shop class – let me build a house! See, it doesn’t make sense in those areas, does it? Well, maybe it’s the same way with sports – not everyone can be good at it, and that’s ok … but PLEASE, bring back the competition!

12 comments:

snowelf said...

I can understand the really young kids--like four year olds who are just learning technique, etc, it's okay. I also think in gym class at school when it doesn't really matter, it's a great idea, but I think in competitive sports, when parents are shelling out ridiculous amounts of money for everything under the sun, it's not a good idea at all. I think if you sign your kids up to play a sport, they should play by the rules. Like you mentioned, everyone needs to learn the skills to lose gracefully because it extends to all areas in life, not just sports.

--snow

Jeff said...

Thanks for reminding me -- been meaning to read Michael Barone's book "Hard America, Soft America" for some time now.

Ink and Stone said...

I think it all stems from that crap known as "political correctness". This whole country is so afraid to offend others that they killed the idea of competition because calling a person or team 'loser' is oh so wrong. I think they're afraid of hurting kids' self esteem.

What they don't get is that you need the lows to go with the highs for sake of comparison; else the value is lost if "everyone is a winner allt he time". Not to mention that the life lessons learned are important too. Not everybody wins. That's how life is. You deal with it and move on.

The Rev said...

I remember your tee ball team. Mine was sponsored by Zachary Plumbing.

And I remember your team sucked.

-B- said...

I used to think that too Los. My son had his first tee-ball season this year where everyone bats every inning, and it worked out well for the kids. If we counted on them (who are just learning the very basics of the game) to actually get kids out - every game would be called at the three hour mark because of darkness!!! All the kids had a good time, and the games were short. The next season they will be counting outs. It was a good intro to the game for them.

Sandi said...

Oh, that's not the half of it on how we are doing our children no favors. Randy Pausch even writes about how we instill false esteem in kids in his book The Last Lecture. We are so worried about their "self-esteem" that we don't teach them the hard lessons of life.

The Manic Street Preacher said...

As a gymnast Jax learned very quickly that you can train your arse off and blow it on the day. Losing is one of the ways we build character. If you lose 'cause you're crap give up and do some'at else. In Jax's case she was good and worked harder and won lots of medals.

Retired after a back op 2nd in the UK and 7th in Europe.

She had to lose sometimes to get there.

El Padrino said...

AGREED. my kid will learn to be a loser

Lisa said...

I agree, it's dumb to take away the competition. How else are kids supposed to learn about being a good winner and a good loser? We're fostering a whole 'nuther generation of kids who will be completely disillusioned about what the world is really like. Tough love is still love ... babspeapod

Sunshine said...

Blame the parents who like to sugar coat everything for their kids instead of facing life head on... with all its ups and down and wins and losses. No one ever sugar coated things for us growing up , you either won or loss... worked harder the next time if you lost...

Superstar said...

YES!
Kids need to learn how to be "good losers".
This is something that I struggle with in school. The kids are so used to getting the touchy, feely crap and honestly it makes them unable to deal w/the reality of LOSING.
They need to learn the coping skills needed to deal with things. Im mean, a loss on the soccer field may one day provide the kid w/ the ability to deal w/ the loss of a family memeber, or heck a C instead of an A on an exam.
PLLLLLEEEEAAASSSEEEE stop coddling your friggin kids!!!!!

Los said...

I think it's ok to forsake competition with children at a very early age when you are teaching them the sport ... but at some point early on, competition can't be ignored, and frankly, it must be encouraged.