Freestyle Friday: Oh, I’m Competitive

IMG_1772 Our children played soccer this spring. My son has played soccer the last two springs. Before that he tried out the spring track program, and the year before that he tried baseball. Honest to goodness, three strikes and you’re out baseball for 5 year olds. You really haven’t lived until you strike your son out three times in a game.

I think that youth sports are great. Sports offer exercise, build character, help develop the idea of teamwork (and who doesn’t love being appointed to work on a team?) and, what you hope happens, the child begins to understand that you have to practice. Practice, practice, practice.

Pause with me for a moment as I think about that last sentence in terms of my writing…I’m never going to be where I want to be by writing for just thirty minutes on Friday mornings…let’s put a pin in that.

Somehow, possibly because I really don’t focus on the score, I earned the reputation of not being overly competitive. That’s completely wrong. I’m very competitive, I just don’t want to come across as one of THOSE parents.

I want to win. I want my kids to win. I want them to feel the joy and excitement a victory that develops out of practice, practice, practice. We don’t stress winning, though, we stress effort.

A friend is coaching baseball this year and recently we were talking about effort. He said, “I know we’re going to make mistakes, I just want us to make them faster so that we can hurry up and get them out of the way.” He’s looking for effort.

All that to say, I want to win. As parents, we all want our children to win. There’s growth and there are lessons to learn from the losses, but we’ll find ways to teach those elsewhere. Don’t let the score, either in victory or defeat, be the only meter by which you judge your young player’s performance. The effort and hard word will eventually payoff, unless we zap all the emotional energy they need to put in the effort by focusing only on the score.

Out! Have a great weekend! Play had. Play fast. Have fun!