My 4 year old just started playing soccer. Last week, with great excitement, we headed to to the field near our house for his first official practice and game. I put on his jersey, and took a ton of pictures with my camera, until the battery went dead, and then switched over to my iphone.
For the first time, I felt like a real adult - here I was, a mom, cheering on her son at a soccer game! It was the perfect evening - all the kids were so cute, chasing after the ball. Some children were much better than others, and regardless of the fact that my son's team lost (I think - no one was really paying attention!) To see my son just running on the field, as part of a team, was amazing. I was so very proud of him. He is playing with two of his friends, as well, which is a huge bonus.
For me, he is playing for fun this year. I'm proud of him no matter what. If his team never wins a game, I honestly won't be any less proud - at this age - it's all about learning the game, feeling like part of a team, and getting a bit of exercise.
I just found out that the very same soccer league he is on has introduced a new rule: any team that wins a game by more than five points will LOSE by default.
Yup, you read that correctly. What do I think about this? I don't agree with it at all.
I think it is our job as parents to tell our children that no matter what - win or lose- trying and giving their best is what is important. Another lesson children should learn from an early age is that they have to accept that will not always win.
They won't always win the soccer game, the race, or the board game. We have to teach our children that it's okay to lose. At the same time, to see another team win will also make our children want to do better; there is nothing wrong with pushing ourselves a little harder, right?
I think at the age my son is at, it doesn't really matter - but if his team worked hard, and got 5 goals, to have them 'lose' because they played so well - well, that's not really cool with me. This will make the team not want to do good. Imagine being scared to score a goal because it will make you will lose? That is really weird.
Instead, why not focus on helping kids stay positive about losing? Helping them improve their skills? Celebrate the wins?
What kind of lesson is this teaching our children? Play well, and you'll lose? Don't bother trying hard, because it doesn't matter in the end? What about teaching our children to not be sore losers? To accept loss, and to celebrate either way? To lose gracefully?
I'm so glad my son is on this league - it's a great one - but this new rule - I'm certainly not a fan of!