Saturday, March 06, 2010

Winning and Losing

I'm not really sure why this topic came to mind today.  There wasn't some traumatic incident that makes me want to sit in the corner crying about how life's not fair.

Well, it's not, you know.  Get over it.

This is one of those "hot topics" that the guys I used to work with (Okay, I confess.  Me too.) used to get all worked up about.  They would try to outdo each other (when Don't guys do that?) with more ridiculous (and yet, sadly, true) examples of parents of sucky, wimpy, stupid, slow, or just basically douchey  kids spoiling things for everyone because they don't want their kid to find out at the tender age of (insert any age younger than 30 here) that they are a loser.

I know you've heard the stories about the school districts across the country that have outlawed the game of dodge ball.  Or, done similarly heinous things in the name of "fairness" or "sportsmanship".  They talk about the frailty of kid's egos.  Their newly forming sense of self.  Oh, please!

I am NOT advocating for bullies.  Nor do I think it's okay to rub a kid's nose in it when they lose.  But let the little bastards lose!

I'm not saying we should say, "You suck" to these kids.  That would be cruel.  I am not a cruel person.  I am a realistic person.  I think we should instead be saying, "Hey, you suck at dodge ball.  But I bet there are lots of things you ARE good at.  Why don't we go figure out what those things are."

Life is not about avoiding those things we suck at.  Because we all are terrible at lots of things.  Very few people excel at more than a handful of things.  

Life is about learning to participate in those things we are awful at when necessary and handling the ribbing or kidding that my result without getting angry and going postal.  It's about teaching those who are good at things to tease gently or not at all. Or, to teach those who excel at something to teach those who don't so that all can enjoy together.

So, when the game of life becomes too hard for some of these kids, we should teach humor and grace along with winning AND losing.  Then, put the nerds, and geeks, and uncoordinated kids, and jocks all in a math competition or a music competition and let those who tease get teased.  Then, life would be a little fairer.  But not by much.  Suck it up.


  1. Anonymous12:51 PM

    How do you think you would feel about it if a strong teenage boy hurled a dodge ball at the back of your head?

  2. In that case, a number of things should happen. First, I would learn not to turn my back on a bully. (Another important life lesson) Then, I think the bully (and his parents) should be talked to by someone in charge of the school IN FRONT OF the other students (not behind closed doors). If it happened again I would have someone who is using their superior strength against someone else in order to cause pain or humiliation arrested.

    My main point is simply (and dodge ball is just an easy example that comes readily to mind) is that our society is becoming a society of victims and parents are afraid to let their kids "lose" at anything for fear that they will be emotionally scarred. I think the way they are treating these kids is more damaging than letting them lose.

    PS. I put my name on this blog because right or wrong I put my views out there. You commented under "Anonymous" why is that?

  3. Anonymous1:11 PM

    I posted under the option of anonymous because I didn't want to waste timing creating a profile under the other options and I don't have a url.

  4. Well said! I never got why schools must coddle the children. It doesn't just happen on the sports field, but in the classroom as well. My friend, a teacher, chided me on correcting my daughter's spelling. Apparently "those who know better" don't correct spelling until 4th grade (or whatever) because doing so earlier "hurts the child's sense of whatever"... but in 4th grade, suddenly, all those words they have been spelling "correctly" (and are now bad habits!) get corrected. WTF?!?!?!

    The education system is broken in so many, many ways.

  5. Anonymous1:17 PM

    P.S. Good luck getting the school to go along with you.

    And I am not disagreeing with you. We do need to teach our kids to lose and this idea that everyone gets an award if they participated in a sport or some other activity isn't helpful to children at all.

    My point is that there are some kids that are jerks or lack a moral upbringing. The adults in charge have to set up situations so as to preempt the jerks taking any opportunity to hurt other kids.