May 21, 2007
We have this on-going debate in our family about being competitive vs. having fun and, at what age is it OK to actually "want to win." It seems that a lot of organizations, schools, county sports, etc. are intent on having kids participate in sports for the joy of participating. A lot of parents have bought into the concept as well. I'm not quite there. Last time I looked, the world is a pretty competitive and un-forgiving place and personalities are molded at a very young age. I grew up in an ultra competitive environment and learned to win....and lose, and from what I remember I had a blast playing all kinds of sports. I also remember being cut (not making the team) for J.V. basketball as a freshman. That was the last time I was going to get cut in any sport. I learned more from being cut than anything. I had a drive to win, whether it was an individual sport (tennis) or a team sport like baseball, football, wiffleball, bocce ball, home run derby, you name it. I'm not sure at what age it all started, but I suspect it was pretty early on for me. Recently in an obligatory adult conversation among parents the subject came up given our team was losing 10-2 (yes I keep score) and it quickly turned to the "anyone should be able to play and just have fun....and it doesn't matter if they win or lose" mantra. Ummm, lady, you're kid is like 10, when is it OK to want to win? Knowing I was in the minority, I pandered to the view and couldn't help but think about the kids on the team that were actually pretty good athletes with a drive to win, and how they felt about the other kids who couldn't care less. Sorry, I think kids can have a desire to win and have a lot of fun doing so. Although it seems to have become more of the politically correct view, I don't think that being competitive and having fun are mutually exclusive. I suspect that whomever started this bandwagon probably sucked at sports as a kid.