I may upset a few people here, but what do they say? You have to break some eggs to make an omelet. So, let’s dive in here. It’s May of 2021 and we are wrapping up the spring soccer season, and let me tell you, I have watched my twin boys (eight years old) really come alive this year with soccer. I mean, they are going after it, wanting to practice all the time, watching YouTube videos, and wanting to play all the time. They love it and so does our whole family. We watch every week. We load up chairs, waters, snacks, heck, we even bought our own bench. It’s not just my family who attends either; it’s Mimis, Papas, KayKays, PaPaws, Aunts, and Uncles, all to watch these guys run around like crazy people for the one hour.
Now, here is where the problem may come in for some. You see, it has rained a lot this year, and it seems like just about every practice has rained out. I don’t have a great yard for practicing soccer unless you’re good with losing 100s of balls in a lake everytime. However, are they getting better? Yes, they are so much better than before we started. I can see their minds starting to understand how the game works and I’m starting to see some fancy footwork happening, but here is the issue: they are still not winning the games. Don’t get me wrong, they are having a blast, but winning? Not so much. We may have gotten a win in there for a game or two, but by no means are we that winning team that…wait for it…deserves a trophy.
Did I really say that? Yep, I sure did. They don’t need a trophy. They did not earn it in my opinion. They played hard? Yes. They improved? Yes. They had fun? Yes. They participated? Yes. However, they did not win. I want them to learn that in order to get a winning trophy, they have to actually win. Look, I’m not trying to be a mean person, but if we keep this up and everyone gets the winner’s prize just for showing up, what message are we sending to them? Better yet, what are we saying to the kids who did win and earned that title?
I think we need to encourage our children to be the best they can be but also let them know that they will not win every time. Sometimes you lose, and that builds that desire to practice harder and longer, study more, and push yourself to be the person who does win. We can’t just keep saying that everyone’s a winner and giving them a trophy for playing. I believe that, in life, when you want something, you have to go out and work hard, earn it, and do what it takes to get it, not just show up and say you want it and expect to get it. Has that ever happened to you in your life or work? Are you able to just walk up and say you want that car or promotion and it was given to you? I doubt it; you worked for it.
What are we teaching our children by doing this? Please don’t hate me. I’m certain there is another school of thought here. Maybe I am wrong, but if I am, it seems the worst thing that happens is I taught my children to work a little harder, and you know what they say, no one ever died from hard work. ■