My son played soccer and
T-ball during his preschool years. His coaches always told the players there were no losers in the games because everyone was a winner. And so no one kept score "officially," but most everyone knew exactly how many goals or runs had been scored by each team.
A kinder, gentler approach to competition? Yes, but not real world. There are winners and there are losers in sports, and our children need to learn how to win and to lose gracefully. It's hard to watch your child lose, but there are some teachable moments as well.
Last week I watched my son lose a doubles tennis match: nine games to eight. On one of the final points of the match, my son's partner asked him why he had just stood there and watched the ball fly by him. Ouch!
The boys shook hands with the winners. But as they walked away from the court, disappointment dripped off them like raindrops. Their faces were cherry red from the heat. Again his partner brought up that lost point. “I just got confused about where I was supposed to be,” my son explained.
"That was only one point,” I said, "You guys did a great job hanging in there for 17 games! And you were playing against boys who are two years older than you are! Plus you learned how to play a tie breaker game. You just need to work some more on your serves."
A loss yes; a failure no.
I knew everything was back to normal however when the boys started a light saber fight a few minutes later with their tennis rackets.
Editor, MOMSnext E-zine