Children’s Sports: Valuable Lessons
Generation Y is all about PS2, Xbox, Nintendo and a host of other sophisticated computer games that simulate reality. The addictive appeal of these games, the internet, and other hobbies that are sedentary in nature, deprives the children of the benefits of a sports activity.
Children of this generation are all about PS2, Xbox, Nintendo and a host of other sophisticated computer games that simulate reality. In fact, these games could even be better than reality in some aspects. The addictive appeal of these games, the internet, and other hobbies that are sedentary in nature, deprives the children of the benefits of a sports activity. Parents need to organise sports events so they can peel their children away from the PC monitor and introduce them to physically challenging activities.
There was a time when kids’ games were entirely kids’ games. These games would just spontaneously materialise whenever children gather. With a ball, a bat and mitts (and sometimes even without the baseball gloves), a baseball game would materialise. You’d see them in their school uniforms, in their civvies, or in their overalls. You’d see them playing without those color-coded custom-tailored baseball uniforms, no mask for the catcher, no umpire….no parents. But it was all fun. I should know. That’s how we were, when we were kids.
Not only that – the following day, we could choose to forget about baseball and play basketball instead. Or go to a nearby public pool and sneak in through a gap in the fence and enjoy the swim. And it was all fun! We swim the way we want to, and yes, every now and then, we try to outswim each other. Regardless of who wins, we just laugh and immediately forget about it. There was no paid coach to push us to our limits. It was just plain and simple fun.
Don’t misunderstand me, I am not against our friendly neighbourhood little baseball leagues, or the children’s swim team (although I have a little reservation about the tendency of some parents to forget that the sport is not only all about sportsmanship, physical development, developing discipline, etc.) Children’s sports, first and foremost, should be all about FUN.
I feel sorry for the kids whenever they see their fathers forget the real essence of their being at the sidelights during games: to stay at the sidelights and watch, while the kids have fun. Whatever happened to that notion of fun and sportsmanship when the father ends up fighting and cussing the umpire, or worse, starts a brawl with another hot-headed parent?
There are a lot of things parents should not forget about children’s sports but I’ll start off with my basic list of 3 items. You can add more, if you like.
#1 CHILDREN SPORTS IS FOR FUN
Professional athletes, first and foremost, are employees who are paid to work their butts off to give the company or the team that victory—and they enjoy that job, but that is only secondary. I’ve said earlier that first and foremost, it should be all about fun. It’s not about you living your love for the sport through your kid. If you do, you might treat your child like a professional athlete that you push to his limits just to give you the pride of victory.
Your kid, on the other hand, is a child, first and foremost, who is supposed to have fun—and in the process learn about sportsmanship, discipline, etc. And if you get lucky, he may give you victory, but that is only secondary.
Don’t forget that children play for two reasons: to be with friends, and to have fun.
# 2 IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT WINNING
Children’s sports must be a tool in the child’s character building. I pity the child in a volleyball game who, after spiking the ball that hits and breaks the nose of a player from the other team, smiles broadly and high-fives his team mates. Let your child learn from professional sportsmen: I have all the respect and admiration to the car racer who stops his car in the middle of a winning heat to help out another driver get out of a burning race car.While sports could teach your child to become competitive, to become the best that he can be, it should be placed at a proper perspective. There should be balance. The saying that goes, “Winning isn’t everything,” practically says it all. Be careful that if winning becomes the only and ultimate goal for any game, there is a danger of becoming Machiavellian and resorting to cheating or other foul means just to win.
# 3 LOSING IS AS IMPORTANT AS WINNING
The sayings, “It’s not how many times you fall that matters, it’s how many times you get back up, “ and “It’s not all about winning, it’s also about how you play the game.” could be the best way of putting it.Losing is as important to your child’s character building as winning is. How would you envision a child who has never experienced defeat? How would he deal with frustrations when he comes out in the “real world” if all he ever experienced was victory? These two quotes would best describe my point:
Introducing sports to our children should not be made as an excuse for us to make them live our fantasy or make them achieve what you failed to achieve when you were young. So, the next time your child comes home from a game, don’t ask him, “Who won?” Instead, ask him, “Did you have fun?”
By so doing, you direct your child to the positive and “fun” aspect of the game and by asking “Did you have fun?” you just told him what’s important.
There are times when your child would say he/they lost, so he’s not happy (different from having fun—he could have fun, but was not happy with the result). In these occasions, you can then start talking about the three pointers (and your own pointers) that I mentioned above.
And then, you would be teaching your child valuable lessons in life.
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