I believe that our society sends extremely mixed messages to our children in regard to sports competition. We tell them that the games are just for fun. If the games are just for fun why do we spend so much money on personal training, coaching, and top notch uniforms? If the games are just for fun then why do some adults act the way they do at children's games?
I have seen kids who have won get reprimanded for being over-excited. (We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings). I have seen kids who have lost get reprimanded for poor play. When kids first start playing sports the games all end in "ties" or no score is kept at all. Understandably the early years focus on fun and fundamentals. However it seems to me, that the shift from enjoyment to competition is usually a pretty quick one. Maybe they would be better equipped to handle winning and losing if we didn't try so hard to shield them from it.
Being a physical education teacher gives me the awesome opportunity to teach children about competition on a daily basis. What I have learned from them is that, most children I first meet are not quite sure how to answer this question: is it okay to want to win? As long as we teach our children that it is not okay to win at all costs and that losing marks the end of the game, not the end of the world then is it okay to want to win? I say absolutely YES!
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Mark Housel, owner of Housel Fun and Fitness, began playing soccer at 7. He has been involved in the sport his whole life - as a player in high school and college and since graduating college he has been active as a paid and volunteer coach.