I saw another gem of wisdom on social media that leads me to share a few thoughts about the world of kids sports and how things have changed. You are all used to my old man yelling at the clouds rants but this statement did hit very close to home for me and I’m sure for many other people of my advanced age.
We grew up in a world of no bike helmets, coaches who screamed and cussed and parents who almost always deferred to the wishes of the coaches who screamed and cussed. When you got cut from a team, your parents told you to work harder and try out again next year or choose another sport. And when your team finished fifth in the standings you looked on with envy at the teams that were winning the championships and bringing home the trophies.
Well we know that many things have changed over the years and one of the most profound is that we go to great lengths to protect our kids from almost any and all hardships. We protect them from feeling the angst of failure by changing the ground rules to insure that even when they do fail they still feel like winners. We created leagues where every player gets a trophy no matter where they finished. We have schools that have a “no cut” policy to insure that no one ever has to feel the disappointment of being told you are not good enough to play on this team. We get coaches fired and use our influence to get our kids on the field even though we know they are not the most deserving player because we can’t face the reality that our kid really might not be good enough. And when push comes to shove and we can’t get the coach to cave in to our wishes we start our own team or move our kid to another school to again insure that they get what they want.
When we were kids we had to face the music. When you rode your bike like an idiot and crashed you got hurt. When you were not one of the best players you got cut from the team and either chose to work a lot harder or play a different sport. When you touched the hot stove you got your hand burned, even though all the adults kept telling you not to do it.
In hindsight I have come to one very clear conclusion, we learned all the important lessons in life by failing and either working harder or changing direction. If we broke the rules and got thrown off the team or suspended from school or fired from a job we learned a valuable lesson, stupid hurts!