Our Children are Being Cheated of the Feeling of Winning and Losing! Stop it!

Have you ever seen something…and had this nagging feeling that there was something about it that wasn’t quite right …but you couldn’t put your finger on what it was? Well that’s what happened to me earlier this week when I went to watch a basketball game one of our friend’s daughters was playing in. I am still young enough to remember my own skill level at the age of 8 so I wasn’t expecting much more than the fun of seeing her play and spending time chatting with a friend while we watched the game and listened to each other talk about our feelings (lol). Well, the game was slightly better than I expected it to be but not by much. I am not a big basketball fan, and I know less than most people about coaching basketball, or offensive or defensive strategies as my knowledge of the game starts and ends with the need to make the “ball go through the hoop in order to score” and of course “the team that scores the most points wins? …right? Wrong!

What do I mean?

What I mean is …No one kept score!

It’s not like the gym didn’t have a scoreboard …it did.

It’s also not like there wasn’t at least someone keeping the score at the scorer’s table …they weren’t!
I asked my friend where I could see what the score was and she told me: “Oh they don’t keep score”

I said “what? Why not? How do they determine the winner if no one keeps the score?”

She said “oh that’s the whole point … if they kept score then one team would win and the other team would lose and not only would the losing team have their feelings hurt, and their self esteem and confidence bruised, we don’t want too much emphasis put on winning versus losing because it takes away from the kids just having fun…what happens when you make it real competitive like that is you get coaches who will only play their best kids and not give everyone on the team equal playing time AND when you keep score then often times you get parents who don’t behave well at the games.”

I sort of nodded my head like I understood and agreed. In the back of my mind things like the coaches substitution decisions started to make more sense along with some of the other things I saw the year before when I watched other grade school and middle school athletic events, and on one occasion went to the end of season pizza celebration afterwards. Back then I noticed that every single member of the team had gotten a small trophy for every single thing you could imagine…”most inspirational” most improved” “best game snacks”, you name it…and one of the players got a trophy for it.

I was thinking about all of that earlier today and it dawned on me that one of the problems in our culture today: Our children are being raised and have been raised with little or no knowledge or understanding of what it means to compete and more importantly, what it means (and how it feels) to win and lose. When we keep them insulated from competing as they grow up then when they need those skills in the real world years later …they don’t have a clue.

From what I have been told by several people, there are many elementary schools who no longer give grades for the same reasons? Huh?

People! People! People! We do our children no favors at all by trying to insulate them from the realities and survival skills necessary for them to make their way in the world today. By feeding And developing the competitive side of who they are in a healthy and honest way we produce better people who are more likely to take responsibility for themselves and their lives than those who constantly get trophies and ribbons for losing. Losing is much different than failing….if we go through life afraid to lose, what we lose is a huge part of real life. When I look at my own life I realize that I have competed for every important thing I have done and I worked hard to do it because I learned early on that I didn’t like the feeling of losing. In order to learn how to deal with, and learn, and grow from diversity …you first need to experience some diversity to practice on. How can you learn coping skills if you are never required to cope?

Besides, when you take the score and the thrill of winning and the agony of losing out of the game …you have taken away its very essence. If you play badminton or tennis with someone and you don’t play to win then you aren’t playing badminton or tennis. All great accomplishments require great effort, and a strong desire to conquer and win…there is no better incentive to work harder to win than the feeling you get when you lose. Not only that, going forth in the world today whether it be in the competition for grades, or the competition to get into a good school, or competition on the playing field…We can choose to compete or not but rest assured the rest of the people are competing with you no matter what you choose to do. This is one more example to add to the list of the various ways that political correctness is ruining this country. Stop it!

1 comment
  1. Went through this a couple decades ago when my kids were starting out playing herdball (soccer). Trust me, every kid out there knows the score, even if the parents choose not to. I remember when 'he knows the score' was a compliment. Now willful ignorance is preferred. There's a thats-whats-wrong-with-this-country metaphor in there somewhere – you get the idea.

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