By Katie Litwin
Let’s all take a minute to step back and remember our childhood and the games we played. I remember tag, dodge ball, capture the flag, and kickball the best. You know what I also remember? There were ALWAYS a winner and a loser. The values that we learned from those games were: there will always be a winner and a loser, and whatever one you ended up being you had to accept with grace and composure. However, through a growing effort in America to coddle kids and protect them from reality, some schools, such as Windham Schools in New Hampshire, have banned childhood favorites such as tag and dodge ball deeming them as “human target” sports.
Many parents found that these games promoted bullying because it made distinctions between the stronger and weaker kids and the team with the weaker kids always loses. Ummm… THAT’S THE POINT. Maybe being on the weaker team will motivate your kid to become stronger and better, so he can qualify for the stronger team. And this principle works in all facets of life; competition breeds superiority and success. Whether it is physically, mentally, or emotionally, if one is competitive, that person will strive to be or do better than before. Why are parents trying to prohibit this progress?
It seems to me that we, as a country, are losing our backbone, giving out participation awards and trying to tell kids that whether you win or lose it doesn’t matter. Seems like poor advice for kids to learn since the reality of life is that there will always be a winner and a loser. How long do parents think they can hold on to their kid’s hand? What happens when they are competing for a job position and they don’t get the job? News flash, they lost. And they sure won’t get any participation certificate for showing up.
What we need to do is realize that sooner or later, life will catch up with those who have avoided the hard lessons that life inevitably teaches us. What is important is teaching kids that it is okay to lose and that only means that there are areas that need improvement. It is important to have small games such as dodge ball and tag to show kids this value on a smaller scale and also teach them how to be a “good” winner and loser. If kids don’t learn this life lesson from insignificant games like capture the flag then we are going to have a generation of people with bad attitudes. Children need to understand the importance of being a good sport, or else all of the larger victories and losses in life are going to hit that much harder.
It’s time to grow up and face reality. There will always be a winner and a loser. Let us as a country begin to emphasize this and teach younger generations how to respond to this reality. Let’s show by setting small examples how to NOT be a sore winner or loser and let’s create competition that will motivate kids to propel themselves to greater heights. And let’s get tag and dodge ball back as a regular activity in gym class.