Thursday, March 25, 2010

Opinions on life lessons

So tonight dash-1 {or Rufus as he is also known} starts tee-ball.

This is it. We are jumping into the world of competitive team sports. Or rather we are jumping into the world of team sports because at this age there is no keeping score. {I know I've done post on this before, but hang on, this is going somewhere}

This no scoring thing is bothering flyboy although he will concede that perhaps keeping score of a bunch of five and six year olds would probably prove to be fruitless.

Especially when in the words of one of the coaches, "At any given time, one kid is at bat, one kid is at first base, three are wrestling in the out field, and one is peeing on the fence." Sweet dash-1 is going to fit right in. Although jury is out whether he'll be wrestling in the outfield or peeing on the fence. Should we start a pool?

But at a little league meeting they did talk about how later as the kids get older, there are tryouts and a draft.

On a mommy board that I'm on, other moms were talking about the draft, and they were all apalled, but I'm on the fence. Part of me wants it to be about the fun, but well, part of me wants it to be about the winning, because when its about the winning it's also the losing. And there in lies the most important life lesson.

The other moms were saying bs like "well we should foster the feeling that everyone is a winner". Ummm.... no, no everyone is not a winner. In fact rarely when it came to sports as a kid was I a winner, in fact my own mother would be the first to call me a loser. In that loving motherly sorta way, but I still played.

In fact I played quite a few sports, and you know what I learned?

That I wasn't good at everything.

And that tight white softball pants did not do me justice. But that's another post.

Seriously, I learned that if I wanted to play and not make an ass out of me, I'd better hustle and work harder. I did that with soccer and with tennis and towards the end of high school I wasn't quite an embarrassment to myself.

Look, I don't want any kid in Little League to feel like they aren't good enough, but what's wrong with instilling a little good old fashion hustle in these kids. Keep score, someones gotta win and someones gotta lose.

Isn't that the only way to really take anything from sports?

Isn't the bigger lesson not how to hit a ball off a tee but how to win and lose with a little dignity? Don't we do them a greater disservice by making everyone a winner?

Seriously folks, we are raising a generation of kids who have never lost at anything, they've always been "winners".

Attention : not everyone can be a winner.

I don't want my kid to get the shaft in the draft a few years down the line. But then again I also want him to know that he's going to realize that if he wants something he's got to work at it. And then again, the other important life lesson, not everything is for everybody.

Case in point, starve myself as I might want to, I'm probably never going to be a ballerina.

So what do you think? Is the draft appalling to you? Is that kind of competition, too much competition?


  1. I think it's just fine. I agree that they need to learn to fail and then learn how to succeed next time. I hate the whole "We are all unique snowflakes..." Um okay...then how is that special if we all are? DH is special because he can do math really well and I am because I excel in psychology and well homemaking. Kids need to know it is okay to fail and learn from it. You can't be #1 at everything without losing your mind! :0)

  2. I'm with you 100%. I was raised in a similar fashion. My brother and I both participated in 4-H and sports. My parents instilled in us a good work ethic and made sure we knew that even if we tried really hard, we might not always win. We learned how to be good sports and bust our butts to do the best we could. I really want Keenan to learn the same thing. I think that learning how to lose with dignity and grace is one of the most important lessons that a kid can learn. It sets them up for the rest of their lives, and then it's not such a shock when not everything goes their way.

  3. I'm with you, it just needs to be age appropriate. Kids need to learn how to be gracious winners AND losers.

  4. My opinion is that the non-scoring sports the kids play is only setting them up for a bigger dissapointment later on when the scoreboard is there. Imagine the first game s/he loses! Pure devestation. Score the games from the beginning, that's my opinion.

    As for the intense competition later... well, geez, it's just a game, let the kids have fun!

    It seems like coaches go from one extreme to the other and the poor kids only have a few years to actually enjoy the sport as it is meant to be enjoyed.

    Just my opinion.

  5. totally on the same page. it teaches you how to win AND lose, and both are very important.

    and thats why the draft is for a bit older kids, once they have some more skills and hopefully confidence.

    and hey, theres nothing wrong with baseball ending up not being "your" sport, and going with something different athletic that you excel more at (although i do think all kids should have to play team sports for a few years, even if they stink. again with the instilling of virtues, and whatnot!)

  6. Seriously.. not everyone is a winner, we shouldn't treat them like they are always going to be. What happens when its time to go to college, they were a winner all their life and so when it comes to college acceptance letters, it will be the first time they get a taste of being a loser? I hate that we coddle our children so much. I wont be one of those parents, thats for sure. Drives me up the wall!

  7. Around here they have this smart start sports for up to 6 year olds. I mean okay, maybe 3 year olds might need a little extra push from mom and dad but 4, 5, & 6 year olds should know how to kick a ball or hit a ball or throw a ball without the help of their mommy and daddy. My daughter wants to play soccer but she does not want the help of me! I don't blame her, I like watching her do it, not doing it for her.

    I'm for keeping score as they get older, a little competetion never hurt anybody (did it?). It is good that kids learn to compete in a dignified way.

  8. My husbands dad (coach) and brother (player) both participate in those drafts. The coaches sit on a bench and watch the kids play then pick who they want I think its great. I mean that is how it works in the real world isnt it. Madeline plays soccer (she got most improved player :) ) and they dont keep score offically but every parent and coach knows the score at the end of the game.
    At our kids age its all about team work to me. Working as a team is so important now and later on in life but in a few years she is going to have to learn what it feels like to win and loss and work hard to win.

  9. I think it's a great thing to learn. I mean, if they're drafting in tee ball, then no, not a good thing. But yes, drafting when they get older is valuable to teach them about winning and losing.

  10. I dont mind no draft in the younger years, maybe up until age 7, but otherwise I'm in total agreement. Sports is not just for fun, it's about teaching very important life lessons the new generation seems to be missing: how to both win and lose gracefully, that not everyone is good at everything and to find out WHAT you are good at, and practicing at something can make you better.

    Losing out on these life lessons in the long run is going to hurt our kids. Or, everyone elses kid. I dont know about you guys but I sure as hell am teaching my kids these lessons, draft or no draft. Maybe, many years down the road when they're all grown up, our kids will have an advantage in the adult world, having learned these lessons as children. =)

  11. You and I are on the same page. Maybe competition would be fruitless as you've said when they're young, but competition is a good thing. We believe things can be learned from winning and losing, just as you've said. And a draft? That's pretty awesome. My husband would dig that.

  12. I agree with you 100%. I am a VERY competitive person, and know that I may be one of those Moms that is going to have to reign it in when our kids start playing organized sports. I am all for boosting self esteem, but that doesn't necessarily come from winning all the time.

    I say, enjoy the draft. If your kid doesn't do well then it will be a good lesson that next year he needs to practice a bit with Dad before the tryouts.

  13. Well, I'm with you and all of the other commenters. You win some you lose some. Such is life. Might as well learn the lesson at an early age. E-Ray is 3 1/2 and already SUCH a sore loser when it comes to board games, but that doesn't mean I'm going to let him win all the time. When he does win, I show him how to lose graciously and hope that he will model my behavior the next time he loses.
    He'll be doing T-ball with the YMCA this summer and I cannot wait. He loves baseball!

  14. Granted I'm not in 'mommy' territory yet, I think its great, just not at 5-6 year olds... But once they get to upper elementary school, there should be something to get onto the team, ours was the 'competitive' team you tried out for, and there was a 'fun' team that was for people not as good (like me) but still wanted to play, and you didn't feel like you were bringing down all the good players on the team. I know when I coached cheerleading, it was hard, because the school had a policy, 'everyone' cheers... well, we had one girl that couldn't remember an 8-count to save her life... it wasn't her thing, and it ended up really putting strain on her friendships of the other girls on the team, because they saw that she was holding them back.

  15. I'm a lurker. I found your blog a while back when my husband was considering going into the military. He's still deciding and I'm still reading. You have funny posts and I agree with you on most things so that means you must be right!

    Anyway, I have 6 children. The oldest one is 9. I'm a hard-liner when it comes to competition. I've never let any of my kids "win" at a boardgames and whatnot. I'm older, I'm smarter (so far), so I'm going to win. But not always, my 9 year old is wicked smart and his strategizing skills are really coming along well. Plus, my 6 year old has had more than his share of lucky streaks playing UNO.

    I said I'm a hard-liner. I've made my two oldest throw away ribbons that everyone got for a race because the ribbons don't mean anything. My daughter, who is 8 (who has a September birthday, who they wouldn't let enter kindergarten because her birthday was a week behind the cutoff date, who was already as tall as all the kids in her would-be class , who was on track for everything else) earned a "Most Improved" certificate at the end of 1st grade because she didn't go to kindergarten and she worked her butt off in school (always with the dictionary at her desk, always following teacher instructions, etc). I put her certificate in the memorabilia folder because she earned it.

    It's important for my oldest son to tone it down when he's playing with his younger brothers and sisters. But I expect him to play full throttle with his peers. And if he can't hack it? Suck it up. Work harder and try again.

  16. Firstly, I think lessons on how to win and how to lose are very important BUT I think for five year score keep. What's the big deal?? I have a few friends with kids on tee ball. They are tiny and don't seem to care either way, it's more about fun and the winning and losing bit-seems to really only bother the PARENTS. ha ha.

    I think it should be more about joining a team, playing and interacting with other children rather than competing for life or death. There will be a time for that.

    As far as a draft, seems like that would teach the kids a lesson in how to be winners or losers, which seems to be what you are looking for, so D-One will get there soon enough.

    It sucks to lose, it sucks to be picked last and it sucks to not make it at all. I think all of these experiences will come and continue to come throughout life and for the rest of anyone's why not go with the flow and let D-One have some fun? Before everything becomes so serious.

    Just my opinion...childless- so it may not be worth anything.

  17. I'm going to equate this to interviewing for jobs as an adult. If you don't learn that you don't always win as a kid, you may end up acting really unprofessional the first time you don't get a job as an adult. It is very important to learn that as a kid.
    At the stage he's at, though, I'd say keep score, but don't have a league winner or loser. Kids need to know that's how the game is played so they don't grow up thinking no one actually keeps score.

  18. I think I'm with you on this one. I think everyone has to learn about winning and losing and I think team sports will be a good thing!

  19. No, I'm 100% with you. I had to go through a soccer experience like that.. and I learned exactly that. I just wasn't going to cut it. And I turned out just fine.
    Why are we raising a generation of kids who don't know how to work for what they want?!


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