Monday, June 21, 2010

Tied Ball.

It's the end of the 3rd inning, the end of the game, and the last player has just run the bases, doing their best imitation slide into home base, running into the home base coach.

The teams line up for the high fives in good team spirit and off the field they run to the benches.

"Where's the snacks?"

Don't let the uniforms fool you, after a hard hour on the field, the first thing on these 5-year-old's minds are snacks, every week like clock work.

And then someone shouts, every time without fail, "Did we win?"

In sports, just like in life, someone wins and loses. But in t-ball, its always a tie.

In our little league, T ball is solely instructional. No score is kept. Every one hits every inning and every player gets an RBI every time they hit.

Is this non competitive league to guard the players from losing or the parents?

In the days of fanatic fans, super bowls, and over emphasis on winning and losing records, although the kids are young, they aren't naive. After all we are from the home of the 2008 World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies, who WON the world series, the home of the Philadelphia Flyers who fought back and took a chance but unfortunately LOST, the Stanley Cup and then the Eagles and the Sixers, who well, we all know, have no luck in winning or losing for that matter.
We are constantly around winning or losing. Whether it is watching sports on TV, playing a video game or racing the kids around the gym in school, every kids learns that he or she is faster or slower, without the help of a parent or a coach. After all, a race between George and his little sister to the car often ends with the winner shouting, "I won, I got the trophy!" And the loser dropping to the ground crying.
The importance of winning and losing should come from the parent.
What parents can teach their children is that, losing isn't bad, and winning doesn't always mean you're better. Losing doesn't mean you'll never win, and winning doesn't mean you'll never lose. Every one has a chance at both. Just because you aren't good at something now, doesn't mean that you won't be amazing at it later. After all, it was Micheal Jordan, the worlds greatest basketball player, who didn't excel at basketball until he was a teenager. So it may just be the kid in the back of the t-ball field who is more interested playing in dirt that may later, hit it out of the park like Ryan Howard.
I would rather my son know that if he isn't good at something, he can practice and strive for a goal, strive to do better and strive to win. Winning isn't everything and neither is losing. I never won any ribbons my first year at swimming and I was having too much fun to even notice, because my parents never stressed winning or losing. I don't even think I knew the difference and in swimming, it's pretty obvious. It's who gets their hand on the wall first and who beats the time clock. My parents said it wasn't until I noticed other swimmers walking around with boxes of ribbons they'd won, that I noticed the difference between wining or losing. And then I set out my mind to get one, and at first it didn't have to be the blue first place ribbon, just a ribbon. Because my parents didn't put the emphasis on wining and losing / failing and succeeding, it was something I eased into. Something I learned for myself and once I learned, my parents always taught us that if at first you didn't succeed, try, try and try again.

But to some parents winning or losing means more to them, then their child. They yell, get involved with coaching and are hard on their children, yelling at them to win and putting them down when they don't succeed.

So maybe the rule is to protect the parents from themselves and to protect the kids from their parents?

As a parent we can give a kids the chance by not putting an emphasis on winning or losing, but putting an emphasis on having fun and being involved. I come from a sports background. I swam at the highest level of sports, my sister went to the Olympic trials in the marathon, my mom coaches tennis and my dad played basketball throughout school. And my parents were never THOSE parents. Sure they were at every game or meet, on the sidelines cheering us on win or lose...with out fail! They were never more disappointed then we were in our loses. They were never yelling things at the coach, or the ref. They never shouted things at us. Never told us how to play the game.
The just supported us in our endeavors.
As we come to the end of T-ball, George's first stint at a team sport. He already knows he doesn't hit farther and run faster than some of the players. And that has nothing to do with what myself or my husband taught him. George sees it himself. After all my husband was the coach, and he along with the other coaches decided their main goal was to get everyone involved,which with the distraction of  the infield dirt and rabbits running across the outfield, proved to be a task in itself. Our only goal as parents for signing George up for T-ball was that he have fun, that he get involved and that maybe he develop a love for sports.
But proudly enough, what he learned was that he can do anything he puts his mind to, if you aren't good at something the first time just keep on trying and that playing t-ball was great but digging in infield dirt, making friends and running around laughing was much, much better.

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