I recently weighed in on the following Facebook post:
It was clear to me that the poster shared my opinion on this issue and I left a comment that sparked quite the discussion. Check out the clip below and I’ll see you on the other side:
Now, of course I took a bit of creative license there. But basically, this bit sums up my point of view on the subject. I don’t have any children yet. But I played sports all thru school and coached youth sports for several years and I believe that the current prevailing attitudes in many youth sports leagues (both teams get trophys/everyone’s a winner) do a disservice to young athletes. In my opinion, team sports should first and foremost be fun for kids. But beyond that, athletics should teach them how to function within the team dynamic, develop leadership skills, celebrate victories and learn to work through and rebound from defeat.
Well, several people on the thread cheered me on, while a couple really wanted to… ahem… let me know how they felt about how I felt. One said that the “winning is everything” attitude is what causes some people to shoot steroids and do unhealthy things to get ahead, and that anyone who subscribed to that belief shouldn’t work near organized youth sports… I agree of course that extreme pressure to win can be detrimental to athletes — especially young ones. But there’s a difference between “winning is everything” and “losing exists.” By no means do I believe that kids should be punished or made to feel badly for losing in athletic competition. But I also think we do them a disservice when we have competitions where scores aren’t kept and every team receives a trophy. Whatever… shoot me.
I think parents and coaches should be responsible for making sure that kids don’t equate their athletic performance with their self-worth. But I also think children need to be taught that in life, you’re not always rewarded for just showing up. One poster said that going home with a smaller trophy motivates kids to want the larger one next time. And maybe that’s true. But it used to be that going home with no trophy served the same purpose. Perhaps it’s a matter of at what age it’s appropriate to begin imparting this philosophy. I dunno. But it’s not something I’m likely to change my opinion on.
What do you guys think?