First they – the adults in charge – took away ribbons on Sports Day. Then they stopped keeping score in kids’ hockey games. Now Canada’s 56 national sports bodies want to take competition out of other youth games and focus on fun and skills rather than winning.
For example, in Ontario they want to change soccer tournaments for players younger than eight to “festivals,” in which no standings would be kept, no MVPs selected, no winners and losers.
The greatest part of sports is competition, trying your best to win. Not at all costs – that’s why sports have rules. But why bother playing if you’re not trying to win?
Friendships form out of a common interest, and a common goal, not shaking hands. That’s sportsmanship, and it already exists.
Failure, making mistakes, is how we learn – even if it is just how to cope with that. It breeds desire, builds character, and from which grow compelling stories of overcoming adversity.
This new national program, under the guidance of Sport Canada, is not wrong in wanting to focus on skills over winning. Everyone develops at a different rate. But natural ability and individual skill alone don’t win championships or medals. Determination is vital, fuelling the hours of practice required to perfect the skills necessary to succeed. Even then, intelligence, teamwork and tactics are key factors, as are risk and luck, timing and circumstance.
How do you develop those traits if you take competition out of the picture?
Go to an elementary school at lunch hour and you won’t see them practising, but playing games. Ask them the score and the ones competing will tell you.
Sports, like life, aren’t fair. They are about winning.
Again, what would be the point if the players weren’t trying to win?
– Black Press