I know, this is our world today: A place void of losers, where everyone gets a chance and little is earned due to no need to do so. And it’s limiting the means of inspiration, motivation, and the creation of responsible adults.
In recent years, I’ve watched begrudgingly as our youth sports have lowered the bar. They’ve created classifications in an effort to create more winners, an all-inclusive playoff format which by definition defies logic and chopped the legs from coaches in a position to make a difference. “Get better,” is gone, and with it one of the single greatest motivators since the beginning of time … failure.
Last weekend, I sat comfortably in an adult beverage establishment with a group of coaches and educators whose careers and passions revolve around the lost art of teaching. I say it’s lost in a bit of jest, but as a larger means of communicating, the message they’ve been rendered incapable of delivering. Discipline is gone and coddling is the resource left to the disposal of the people supposedly trusted to shape our kids. That’s right, coaches are hired with the understanding that they know what they’re doing. In most cases, they’re in their position based on a proven acumen, a history of success, or merely an intense desire to give back. After all, why else would someone choose to use the bulk of their free time maintaining fields, running practices, and raising money while under no obligation to do so? Problem is, we won’t let them do it.
As we went around the room, each and every one of the coaches in attendance had a recent tale of woe regarding an effort to instruct, debunked by a parent or administrator, “protecting” either their kid or their job. “Big Brother” is always watching and the kids know it. This type of thinking isn’t new, for I recall encountering it to an extent in my youth; however not until the last decade or so did we as a society empower this line of thinking, and due to such we’ve stripped our coaches of the weaponry necessary to fight the bad attitudes, laziness, and dying work ethic resulting from the campaign to eliminate losing, being cut, and “missing-out” from our kids’ lives.
Somewhere along the line competition got a bad name, and losing lost its good side. Competition shows you what you’re made of, and losing motivates you to get better. But if you’re never allowed to lose, you’ll never understand what it means to work hard for something you want … after all, someone will just give it to you … right?
I love sports and fully appreciate the applicable life skills they can provide you with, but I feel like the way our overprotective, politically correct, everyone-gets-a-trophy society treats them and those involved with them now is ruining the games, and handicapping the kids participating in them. Losing is okay at times. It isn’t something you should aspire to do, nor should you be satisfied with it, but it can provide you with necessary tools to succeed later in life and motivate you to do better in an effort to win. So quit protecting kids who don’t need it, otherwise they might need that same protection as adults … and there are no trophies in those games.