It was somewhere in the early 80s. we had just won the Grand Final for the mighty Campbelltown Cobras 3rd Grade. I had been playing Soccer for 17 years and this had been the first time we had ever reached the Grand Final. The feeling of achievement was indescribable. The disappointment on the faces of our opposition was also evident. I knew that feeling.
Our team had been bundled out of the competition since I was six years old. Roslyn was in the stands. Mum, Dad and Nanna were there too. It was free entry. Who could miss such an event? Seventeen years is a long time to wait so it was good to be still and savour the moment – well, as still as was possible given that several middle aged men with Scottish accents, calling me Jimmy, were jumping on my back, hugging me and ruffling
my thinning hair.
Why the emotion – it’s only a game – isn’t it? No: It’s a life experience. These days, increasingly and sadly, such life experiences are being removed from the lives of generation next by their Tofu Burger chopping, Latte sipping, Botox injecting parents who want to shield little Wave, Sunshine and California from any life experience that could serve to bruise their egos and challenge their sense of entitlement. They attend schools where every player receives participation ribbons and there are no winners and no losers. They play in teams on the weekend where no one keeps score. Can someone please tell me what part of real life they are being prepared for?
Jessica Halloran, Sunday Telegraph, says, “My kids don’t know what losing feels like and I don’t like it.”
Leading child psychologist and TV personality, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg calls it the “wussification of an entire generation”.
So get set for the real crunch. These well-meaning parents and sports organisers who remove competition, winning and losing, are naively fashioning a reality that is opposite to their well-meant intent. Dr Carr Gregg says that this is creating issues for a generation of children who have greater anxiety levels than ever before. He laments that there has been no studies or research by the “no score” lobby into whether this is the right thing to do – and it isn’t.
And here’s another tip for the politically correct brigade. Kids keep score anyway. Even when WAC played a demonstration match at half time between the Sydney Swans and St Kilda at the SCG the kids came from the field shouting “we won”. Interestingly, so did the Thomas Hassall Anglican College kids.
Jessica Halloran quotes our own Ash Barty after her recent fourth round Wimbleton exit. “It’s disappointing right now, said Ash. Give me an hour or so; we’ll be all good. The sun’s still going to come up tomorrow”. At Wollondilly we have trials for teams. Old fashioned I know. Some students make it. Others do not. Students who make it (like mini Ash Bartys), are taught to be gracious and not to prance about. Students who do not make it are taught not to throw their toys out of the cot (Think of two other current Tennis players). Our kids are taught to be gracious in defeat. The pouters are urged to get over it and try again.
God does not promise that life will be easy. In fact, the only promise is that this life will be tough. The road that leads to life is narrow and bumpy. You will trip and fall from time to time. Does a society seeking to bubble wrap the narrow road and hand out slippers really make it better in the long run?
Matthew 7:13-14 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road
that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road
that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Far from the utopian world of entitlement and privilege, there are winners and losers. People make mistakes. People learn resilience and they celebrate the achievements of their mates. and the world is a better place. My old Primary school motto is embedded in my psyche.
“Win modestly; Lose gloriously