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Old 08-11-2006, 01:39 PM   #1
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Winning vs Compassion

This is a moral question of sorts (after all it's not a professional game, nothing really critical is at stake), but as the writer says it is also all about kids' sports and the attitude some adults have towards sports, and kids in sports, and kids in general. And what lessons kids should be learning about sports vs what they are learning from the adults involved-parents and coaches. Sounds to me as if Romney has the best attitude of all, given the last quote in the article. Ironically Romney is the real winner, isn't he? The coaches claim they didn't know (but his Mom says they did), and well that quote from one of them "this isn't the Special Olympics, he's not retarded"

The entire story is in the link, I have only posted parts of it.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...814/index.html


"This actually happened. Your job is to decide whether it should have.

In a nine- and 10-year-old PONY league championship game in Bountiful, Utah, the Yankees lead the Red Sox by one run. The Sox are up in the bottom of the last inning, two outs, a runner on third. At the plate is the Sox' best hitter, a kid named Jordan. On deck is the Sox' worst hitter, a kid named Romney. He's a scrawny cancer survivor who has to take human growth hormone and has a shunt in his brain.

So, you're the coach: Do you intentionally walk the star hitter so you can face the kid who can barely swing?

Wait! Before you answer.... This is a league where everybody gets to bat, there's a four-runs-per-inning max, and no stealing until the ball crosses the plate. On the other hand, the stands are packed and it is the title game.

So ... do you pitch to the star or do you lay it all on the kid who's been through hell already?

Yanks coach Bob Farley decided to walk the star. ..

...Me? I think what the Yanks did stinks. Strategy is fine against major leaguers, but not against a little kid with a tube in his head. Just good baseball strategy? This isn't the pros. This is: Everybody bats, one-hour games. That means it's about fun. Period.

What the Yankees' coaches did was make it about them, not the kids. It became their medal to pin on their pecs and show off at their barbecues. And if a fragile kid got stomped on the way, well, that's baseball. We see it all over the country -- the overcaffeinated coach who watches too much SportsCenter and needs to win far more than the kids, who will forget about it two Dove bars later. "
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Old 08-11-2006, 02:00 PM   #2
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when you're 10, you should be having fun. everyone. there are things more important than winning. and the kids know what's up. they know what message is being sent by the coaches. 10 year olds are far more perceptive and sensitive than most adults would like to admit.

in high school, that's a different story.
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Old 08-11-2006, 02:03 PM   #3
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Interesting situation, personally I agree I think it stinks.

Child's sports is a very touchy thing.

On one hand it really can get out of hand and really screw with kid's self confidence.

On the other hand we now have extremely over protective leagues where scores aren't even taken and everyone gets a trophy taking any real competition out of the sport.
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Old 08-11-2006, 02:10 PM   #4
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Life is competitive enough and disappointing enough and hurtful enough when you get older. I still believe kids should be allowed to be kids and be naive and carefree and have sports be just fun, for at least a little while. And learn that not everything is a competition, that compassion is truly a victory. That there really can be victories in losing. Some adults and some adults involved in kids' sports couldn't care less about all that, and it's not really about the kids for them ultimately-it's about the adults and their egos and their unresolved issues from their own childhoods.
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Old 08-11-2006, 02:17 PM   #5
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I'm of two minds about this.

On the one hand, I agree with Irvine, that young kids need to play and have free time to enjoy sports. How many of them hate phys ed precisely because they think they're bad at it or they're always the last one picked for a team? And that's really damaging longterm.

On the other hand, some kids are really athletic, it's probably their fate to be athletes and I think they should have access to competitive sports. Look, not everyone is good at everything. If you're great at tennis, you should have great coaches and a chance to compete because this may become your life's work. It's not fair that some kids aren't great at sports and don't want to compete - they don't have to, but others who do, maybe they should have that outlet. Not necessarily when they are 6 years old, but as they get a bit older than that.
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Old 08-11-2006, 02:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Life is competitive enough and disappointing enough and hurtful enough when you get older. I still believe kids should be allowed to be kids and be naive and carefree and have sports be just fun, for at least a little while. And learn that not everything is a competition, that compassion is truly a victory. That there really can be victories in losing. Some adults and some adults involved in kids' sports couldn't care less about all that, and it's not really about the kids for them ultimately-it's about the adults and their egos and their unresolved issues from their own childhoods.
I agree. I honestly think there should be a happy balance between the two cicumstances I stated above. Fun and competition, for competition can be very positive for a kid if coached and taught right.

I think the biggest problem is some of the parents that get involved.
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Old 08-11-2006, 02:19 PM   #7
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I dont understand why a non competitive baseball league has a "championship game" in the first place. It puts the coaches in a very awkward situation. On one hand you're telling them it's just about fun (This is a league where everybody gets to bat, there's a four-runs-per-inning max, and no stealing until the ball crosses the plate), yet on the other hand you're sending the teams out there to compete for a championship?

Seems very contradictory.
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Old 08-11-2006, 02:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chizip
I dont understand why a non competitive baseball league has a "championship game" in the first place. It puts the coaches in a very awkward situation. On one hand you're telling them it's just about fun (This is a league where everybody gets to bat, there's a four-runs-per-inning max, and no stealing until the ball crosses the plate), yet on the other hand you're sending the teams out there to compete for a championship?

Seems very contradictory.
Yeah I didn't even think about that.

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Old 08-11-2006, 02:36 PM   #9
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BVS points out one of the real challenges in youth sports - teaching competitiveness.

In soccer, "everyone has fun" is the goal at ages 4 through 7. As kids get older, scores are kept and kids begin to play to win. The shift occurs as the structure of the leagues change – from simple weekly games to games followed by playoffs and “championships”.

If they are at an age where they have league championships (as with the case above), then they are at an age where competition is a key element to the game.

I know what it is like to have young kids playing in highly competitive situations - and not getting the playing time they want. Rather than coddle them and tell them they deserve better, the anger over playing time is focused on working harder and more practice. The playing time is earned. On a team of 10 and 11 year olds, they can understand this and gain an appreciation of the competitive nature of sports.
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Old 08-11-2006, 02:45 PM   #10
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i don't object to competition at all -- when i was 10, i knew very well what i had to do if i wanted to win the 100 butterfly at the state championships. 10 year olds understand all this, and they know when they are being infantalized.

however, this does seem to me to be a bit of a strange case. to intentionally walk someone so that a child who has been ravaged by cancer can take the plate sends not a competitive message, but it sends a message that we win at all costs, that the weak are to be targeted, and that someone's status as a cancer patient deserves to be exploited. as a coach, i would never, ever have intentionally walked the better player.

it's like in the Karate Kid when Johnny sweeps Daniel's bad leg.



besides, i think intentional walks suck anyway, even in MLB.
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Old 08-11-2006, 03:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chizip
I dont understand why a non competitive baseball league has a "championship game" in the first place. It puts the coaches in a very awkward situation. On one hand you're telling them it's just about fun (This is a league where everybody gets to bat, there's a four-runs-per-inning max, and no stealing until the ball crosses the plate), yet on the other hand you're sending the teams out there to compete for a championship?

Seems very contradictory.
I completely agree.
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Old 08-11-2006, 04:43 PM   #12
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I think it's critical in youth sports to learn to both win and lose gracefully...enter compassion and good team sportsmanship and leadership. You CAN be competitive AND play fair.
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Old 08-11-2006, 05:13 PM   #13
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I don't actually know what to think about this. I guess I'm caught in the same conflict between competitiveness and enjoyment of the game... and since I know absolutely nothing about baseball I have no idea what actually happened at that game. I’m leaning towards saying that competitiveness should be introduced when the children are old enough to understand the value of winning and loosing gracefully.

Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
BVS points out one of the real challenges in youth sports - teaching competitiveness.

In soccer, "everyone has fun" is the goal at ages 4 through 7. As kids get older, scores are kept and kids begin to play to win. The shift occurs as the structure of the leagues change – from simple weekly games to games followed by playoffs and “championships”.

If they are at an age where they have league championships (as with the case above), then they are at an age where competition is a key element to the game.

I know what it is like to have young kids playing in highly competitive situations - and not getting the playing time they want. Rather than coddle them and tell them they deserve better, the anger over playing time is focused on working harder and more practice. The playing time is earned. On a team of 10 and 11 year olds, they can understand this and gain an appreciation of the competitive nature of sports.
I actually agree with a lot of this. At one of my local football/soccer clubs there’s a football academy that signs children up when they’re 11-12 years old. They train at the academy and go to school at the academy but it’s my impression that football is most important by far. I’ve heard of semi-professional contracts being signed by kids at 16. That is simply wrong.
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Old 08-12-2006, 08:46 AM   #14
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Given the number of children participating in organized sports, there is not much room for organized "fun" leagues anymore. Locally, soccer is fun until about age 7 or 8, then they start to get serious. By age 10, you are either committed to a competative role in the sport or you move on to a different sport.

And little kids are tougher than we give them credit. The 6 to 9 year olds cry when they are disqualified during a swim event, but they get over it and work on their technique.
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Old 08-12-2006, 09:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


And little kids are tougher than we give them credit. The 6 to 9 year olds cry when they are disqualified during a swim event, but they get over it and work on their technique.
Possibly true, but what is it really doing to their psyches and how do we know that? What long term impact will it have on them, if parents and coaches don't protect them enough and if the sports are abused in that way?

I saw on the news that the coach admitted he would have pitched to the star hitter if it was not a "championship" game. So what does that say? Something tells me the championship in this case is more about the coaches than it is about the kids. I personally think it is much more important to teach a 10 year old compassion, especially boys. Sure you can teach them compassion along with "winning", but at what cost when you involve a child like Romney? At what cost to him and to the other kids?

If 7, 8, or 10 year olds can't have sports just be about fun, what does that say about us?

I am reminded of that boy who got all the baskets in the school basketball game, I can't remember his name. I think he's autistic. Now that's a case of a coach doing the right thing, putting a kid like that in the game. Even if he didn't do well and they lost, it is still the right thing to do.

So many adults believe life is all about competition and winning at any and all costs, and what kinds of societal and personal problems does that cause?
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