Hey parents, keep score at your kids’ games!
I’ve been wanting to write about this for a bit, but kept putting it off. There has been a recent trend developing in youth sports, where the parents and/or the league decide that they don’t want to keep score. “The kids are too young, and losing could damage them.” You have to be flipping kidding me.
I was reminded to write about this when I was reading Vincent Mancino’s book “Down the Drain Society.” It’s like a lot of political books in that, depending who you are, you’ll agree with some parts of it and disagree with others. Well, this particular chapter called “Who Brings Twinkies to the Game,” struck more than a chord with me. It was an entire orchestra.
Photo Caption: Alan has six goals in a 0-0 game.
Here is some of it and it’s spot on:
You know how they say that forty is the new thirty? Well, I believe that last place has now become the new first place. I played sports throughout my childhood and I don’t once recall getting half the things kids get today. The most amazing thing to me is that everyone is rewarded no matter the outcome, win or lose. Seriously? A trophy for everyone? Who thought this up and why? I dare to say that whoever the culprit is that designed and awarded the same size of trophies for first, second, and third place on down, regardless of the level of play, probably never earned or put in the real work necessary to receive a bigger trophy than the next guy.
When did we forget that playing a sport is about competing and that the winners are supposed to get the bigger reward? It’s about bringing your best ability to the arena and showing the other team your skills. Next thing you know, we’ll stop giving grades out in school. Everyone will get an A+ just for showing up. All C students will be allowed into Yale, because it’s only fair. Should we cancel the Olympics?
No, Vincent, we shouldn’t cancel the Olympics. However, we shouldn’t let our kids watch them! Seeing an athlete on television losing could ruin them for life!
Life is about winning and losing. Life sucks a lot of times. Losing sucks. The sooner kids learn this lesson, the better off we’ll all be.
Plus, even if there is no official score kept at the game, the kids can keep score in their own heads. And most of them do! I know I would have.
You don’t get a trophy for losing. You can get a participation ribbon, that’s okay. But that’s what it is: a participation ribbon. All it says is that you were out there. Rewarding kids with trophies when they didn’t accomplish anything teaches them that you always get something, even if you didn’t earn it. What a great lesson that is!
So please, knock it off. Keep score. In life, you learn way more from your failures than you do from your success. I mean, this is just getting ridiculous.