Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I don't believe in coddling

Has everyone heard about the girls' high school basketball team in TX that just won a 100-0 victory over some rival school? The story is here. The coach was fired after he made a statement about how he didn't support the apology issued by the winning school to the community and the losing school (an apology which, by the way, offered instead of the 100-0 win, to forfeit the game!?!? WTF?!). I raise my glass to that coach. Good for him. What was he supposed to do, tell his girls to start losing because they were winning by too much? They were supposed to quit playing? That's absurd. Is that what we want to teach our kids now - that you should go easy when you feel bad for someone - that winning is a bad thing? No, because it's not. They're playing a team sport. The point of playing sports games is to win, not to hold hands and sing cum-ba-yah. I think it would have been degrading to the losing team if the winning team had just given up on playing. It's wrong to let someone win because you feel bad for them, and it's equally wrong to play down to them for the same reason.

Kids are coddled now a days, and I hate it with a passion. When we were kids, someone won and someone lost; someone got picked last in gym class; some kids had no stickers next to their name on the multiplication tables leader board; some kids didn't make the team; some kids made the team and rode the bench; the monkey bars were 10 feet high over concrete, and we played king of the mountain on them - and someone always got to be king, while some never got to be because they just weren't tough enough. That's the way it went back then, and the way it should still go now. You're teaching your kids to be wusses by treating them this way. These kids were all respectable kids, and none of them needed the parental intervention that led to this coach being fired. The winners didn't gloat, and were completely upstanding about the fact that they kicked some ass. The losers were equally gracious, I think I read a quote somewhere from one of the players to the effect of "you win some, you lose some, and then you move on." Their coach said something similar, about how the girls that lost just picked up and moved on to the next game. Good for them, and I hereby issue a smack in the head to their parents, who whined and cried about the win being "shameful." Maybe if your kid (or maybe it's you) can't handle a good old fashioned ass-whooping on the basketball court, they shouldn't be involved in organized sports. Sign them up for piano lessons. Or art classes. But only if they're wicked good at it, and they are assured not to fail, because God forbid they learn something about life in the real world.

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