Thursday, April 16, 2015

Are organized sports ruining your kid?

Okay, ruin is a strong word. I just needed a title to express what I felt when my kid was told "not to cheer" after he scored a 2nd goal during a recent soccer game. Granted he and another kid practically did back flips and simulated fighter jets as they celebrated, but is this really reason enough not to cheer?
Here's the coaches' reasoning: don't cheer because other kids may feel bad. What???? So my kid should contain his excitement to not hurt the non-scoring kids' feelings and this for kids on both teams. Isn't that a bit much? I mean a kid works so hard to score. They get that one moment of elation and to tone that down in the name of fairness seems nuts.

I say: let them cheer!

To be fair, cheering goes both ways. You better believe I am okay with my son losing and having to watch other kids go on and on celebrating their win and personal goals. I mean why not? Bottom line I want my child to work hard. I find that creating this illusion of chronic fairness doesn't breed realistic expectations of life. Life has winning and losing sides. The corporate world isn't all fairness and equality. College won't be an experience of "everyone gets an A" just like everyone gets a trophy at the end of  soccer season. He has to work for what whatever he gets in life.

I fundamental want my child to feel the natural highs and lows of winning and losing. I don't want his feelings spared out of fairness. Other parents clearly see it differently and this includes my kid's current coaches. Great guys so I respect their calls, but moving forward, I'd actually seek out a different organized sports entity that cares about winning and losing, keeps a tally of wins versus losses, and encourages kids to  obnoxiously celebrate their goals!

My son recently played basketball where every point mattered. Kids made it to playoffs and the value they placed on winning was acceptable as well as a realistic part of life. They cried through some tough losses. I saw the character and bond that built within them individually and as a team. Celebrating was important and I was the biggest cheerleader in the stands. Parents sometimes even gave me snarky looks, but why should I, or anyone, back down from celebrating hard work and wins?

This isn't to say we shame a team that loses. Winning gracefully is key. Sportsmanship is still critical but to minimize the value of a win and celebrating goals/wins shouldn't be considered standard out of so-called fairness.

What do you think? Agree with this HerMama's point of view? Why or why not? 

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