Saturday, February 25, 2006

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?

Amen Bev, amen.


In my years on this earth I have come across ultra-competitive people who seem to live their lives through sport. You know them, the ones always on the coaching staff loudly admonishing their teams to "give 110%" and who seem to specialize in the "in your face" coaching method, or the people who are perennially NOT on the coaching staff but who have "their" spot in the bleachers and who find it imperative to offer their suggestions to the coaching staff in very loud and sometimes rather blue terms, very often after every single play.

I've seen people like this snatch victory away from their kid or team by verbally and publicly denigrating them after a performance, punishing them with words describing their perceived performance shortfalls that are so hurtful that you wonder how they live with themselves after uttering such vileness.

Are these the same people that write articles condemning someone for coming in second place at the Olympics? Are these the same people who find it necessary to pick and pick at a tiny spot of a story until, at least in their minds and through the ends of their pens, it becomes a gaping oozing wound of an issue? Are these the same people who, unless their country wins gold in every single daggone competition in which it's entered, will never be completely happy with the way things turned out?

Just wondering.


Also wondering - can't they find something ELSE to do while we're all enjoying ourselves?

I enjoy watching my kids play on sports teams. I know lots of other parents who do too.

I enjoy watching sports and competitions on teevee. I know lots of other people who do too.

I enjoy the thrill of victory and cringe at the agony of defeat, all the time realizing that they're both part of the game.

Check out these definitions of the word "
sport." Sounds fun, doesn't it?

Doesn't at all sound like something that would allow dissection of one's psyche or permit public airing of any interpersonal relationship chafes one might have. Doesn't really sound much like something one engages in in order to have one's self-esteem surgically removed by the sharp tongues of those who fancy themselves expert in your particular field of play, does it?

Not to me it doesn't.

Now, y'all, before you get all "Tiff is some kind of liberal feel-goodnick who doesn't want our kids to ever experience failure", let me just say that I know that there is a line to be drawn in sports (and every other kind of competition) so that there are indeed winners and runners-up and, let's face, it, losers, otherwise how would you determine who is really best on any particular day or over the longer run of a season or career? Competitors and spectators WANT to be able to measure performance and push boundaries and move forward and improve, that's seems a obvious given. What I don't think we should do is to establish a culture of "first place at all cost." It's not sustainable; it's not healthy; it breeds malcontent and anger. It raises expectations for success to an inhuman level.

Most especially, no participant in any competition should be subjectively taken to task in a public forum or, even in private, have their motives or desire or mental fitness maliciously called into question.

Because, well, that's just not nice.


rennratt said...


I will leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

Amen squared. Especially about the crazed parents. Last time I checked, it was supposed to be fun...hmmmm.

WordsRock said...

There is great value in learning how to lose gracefully. Those in first place are not always the winnners.