If you are a loyal reader, you know that my 9-year-old plays little league football. We love football in this home - everything about it. Unfortunately after last night's practice my husband (a.k.a. Coach Bobby) came home completely rattled and sharing his frustration. He said things that began with "When I was a kid..." and "When my dad was coaching..." He was talking tough. He mentioned that he would like to keep those boys outside until midnight or later if it took that to get a certain play right. I said "well, do it!" Yeah, right... Coach Bobby then said the following phrase
Times. Have. Changed.
I rolled those words around in my mind. I internally argued with them, shredded them to bits. But I kept coming up short on rebuttal. Times have changed. And that is not okay with me. Later last night Bobby sent out an email to our team which went a little something like this:
Some of you may have noticed the practice tonight was far less than great...heart and desire must come from within...it is not taught...lack of focus and desire by that player not wanting to do his job...some players are starting to lose their positions...game plan for Thursday night...will take all of us doing our jobs in order to pull off the upset.
Somewhere along the way, we have taught today's children that sports are just for fun. In doing so, we have also have greatly misused the "it's just a game" sentiment. What previously inspired contestants to shake off a loss and work harder for the next victory, now indicates that wins and losses don't matter at all. And this is a problem in the long run. This generation we are raising is in trouble!
You may have heard the quote pictured above. It's pretty powerful when you think about it. Uncoachable kids are those who do nothing for the greater good of the whole team. They are the kids who think their actions are correct - regardless of reality. These kids do not respond well to constructive criticism and they do not acknowledge the power of a mentor. In Much Ado style, I want to take this one step further...
Kids who do not value winning and losing become adults who do not respond to success or failure. You guys, it does matter if you win or lose just as much as it matters how you play the game. If our kids fail to learn this now, imagine the adults they will become.
When you are ill and go see a doctor, does it matter whether he makes you well or not? Of course it does. How he treats you is important, but if he treats you with excellent bedside manner and you are still sick...you would think that doctor has failed.
Some of my blog readers are teachers. When you are in front of your classroom, does it matter whether they are learning or not? Absolutely. It is very important that you treat your students with respect and that you mix in some classroom discipline. But whether you are evaluated on your students' report cards or their standardize test scores, trust me...those figures matter.
Most sales-based jobs come with sales goals, performance quotas, and required reports. Sure, it's nice if you enjoy your job. It's great if you have camaraderie with your coworkers. But come quota and report time none of that matters if your numbers don't align with expectations.
Bobby was right. Times have changed. The world is a much more dangerous place, due in part to an overly relaxed set of family values, morals, and Christianity. We as a people are dangerously desensitized to sex, violence, and otherwise foul behavior in the media. But if there is any hope for this to correct itself, this up and coming generation needs help. And I believe organized sports -- when handled correctly as in "the good ol' days" -- is a great opportunity to reinstall these values.
What are your thoughts? Does it matter whether you win or lose? Do you think I am over analyzing this or is it possible that we can turn our kids into the adults we wish the world had more of? Comments, please.