Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Winning and Losing

My favorite football team, the New Orleans Saints, lost the other day and I wrote on my Facebook page “Oh well, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game (Yeah, I know, bullshit)”. I was being sarcastic and trying to make a funny. But I got to thinking about that later on. Our young people really are being taught that winning isn’t important.

I read where some elementary schools no longer hold Spelling Bees where the kids come in first, second, or third. Instead, everyone that participates gets the same Certificate of Participation for just trying. It doesn’t matter if the child spells all the words correctly or fails to spell any of the words correctly. They still receive the same award. There is a kid’s football league in California that no longer keeps stats on the games. They give trophies to all the teams no matter how they did. The purpose is to teach the importance of participating and to discourage kids from bragging and feeling superior to their friends.

I can certainly understand the importance of teaching kids to just show up and try, no matter what they are doing. Somehow, however, I think the schools and groups that do this are sacrificing an even more important lesson. They are not teaching the kids to feel the sense of achievement, accomplishment and self-satisfaction that comes with victory. Kids are not being taught that being better at something than anyone else can take them farther, much farther, in life.

This isn’t anything new. My father was a fierce competitor. Growing up he learned that it was important to win at all costs no matter what the competition was. As I grew older, he and I would play games like tennis or billiards or golf. When we did, he would attack each game or part of the game as if he had a million dollars bet on the outcome. On the rare occasions when I won, he would congratulate me and then remain visibly upset about it for hours, sometimes days.

As I grew up, they were already teaching me in school the importance of being a ‘good sport’ about it whether I won or lost. But we were still allowed to actually win or lose. To achieve or fail. Failure was still something you were a little ashamed of and winning still gave you a happy rush, a sense of achievement and the belief that if I really try, I can -that if my team really tries, we can.

Our youth are slowly, but surely losing the desire to win, to achieve great things. It is being replaced by a sense that, if you just show up, someone will recognize you tried and that will be enough. Winning the pie isn’t important, you’ll still get a little slice no matter how hard, or how little, you worked for it.

All this makes me feel sad and apprehensive about the future. What will happen when the day comes that our Firemen are satisfied to have put out some of the fire, our Police are happy to stop some of the crime, our Doctors are satisfied with curing some of our illnesses or our military is happy with winning some of a war. Because, my friends, that is the inevitable outcome of this politically correct thinking.

America will no longer be the greatest country on earth. In fact, being the greatest will no longer even be desirable. Think I’m kidding? Even now our own leaders have to be shamed into admitting there is such a thing as ‘American Exceptionalism’. They act like it is bragging and that it is a bad thing that other countries in Europe and around the world are jealous of us.

If we let our schools and educators continue to ‘protect’ our youth from the shame of losing, we will end up a country that doesn’t know the value of winning. It’s just that simple -and it makes me sad.

Live Long and Prosper....

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