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Winning and Losing

The following conversation happened around 5:45 this morning just after my son woke up and I was changing his nighttime diaper:

Me: “RJ, the Bruins lost last night.”
Him: (disappointed tone) “But they scored!”
Me: “I know, but after you went to sleep the Blackhawks scored more”
Him: “I don’t want them to lose”
Me: “I know, I don’t either. But it’s okay, everyone loses sometime. They’ll win again another day.”

If my son grows up not liking sports, it will be fine, but it won’t be due to lack of exposure to them. With him being an October baby, I did lots of “doing the football hold while watching football,” and most of his earliest pictures are of him in various Patriots/Celtics/Bruins/Red Sox outfits. As he has grown up, we’ve watched pretty much every sport there is; the four major sports, soccer, golf, tennis, and the Olympics. Through it all, I don’t ever remember talking to him about winning and losing. We talk a lot about the scoring plays, so he knows all about touchdowns, goals, baskets, and hits. I’m sure that incidentally, winning and losing has come up, and more recently I have thought about telling him if the teams won or lost when he woke up, but I also wasn’t sure he really understands the concept.

I’m also not sure how much to emphasize it. As I wrote in one of my earliest post on this blog, I feel I have a healthier attitude about my teams losing than I used to, and I don’t want him to get to where I once was. I also will NOT be one of those “everyone gets a trophy” types. There’s a healthy balance in there somewhere.

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  1. June 13, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    You make a good point. When is a good time to explain the rules to them? So many organized sports don’t keep score, or have their own ways of avoiding disappointment. But that’s not real life, for better or worse.

    • June 13, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      I think it’s important for sportsmanship reasons to teach them the rules early, including scoring and winning/losing. We can’t expect them to learn to be gracious winners or to not be sore losers if they don’t get the chance to experience it. I won’t want him in a league with no scoring but I also won’t want him in a league where the coach pulls the kid off the field by the neck of his jersey and chews him out for making a bad play. Like I said…balance.

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