Striving for Mediocrity

Those outside of the Ottawa area probably aren’t aware of the story  that has a lot of people here shaking their fists. It involves about the Gloucester Soccer Association.

The rules of this kids’ soccer league include a 5-point “mercy” regulation. This means that in any game, no team is allowed to be more than 5 points ahead of the other team. If some evil child, in the heat of demon competitiveness, goes ahead and scores a 6th goal his team automatically loses the game.

So now if one team is 5 points ahead, that team just kind of sits around the field playing poker and smoking cigars until the other team scores a few more goals.

It’s all about not damaging a child’s self-esteem by letting him be on a team that gets beaten by too many points, thereby making him feel like a loser. It’s much healthier to curtail the spirit and skill of good players because we don’t want them to get the impression that having talent in this country is going to get you anywhere.

I’m going to be brutal here and say that if your kid has no aptitude for soccer then he shouldn’t be on a league soccer team. If he’s no good  but likes soccer, he can play with friends or attend soccer camps or schools until he’s good enough to make a league team. If not, there are lots of other team sports to try and lots of other great ways to stay physically fit.

I don’t think we’re doing anyone any favours with this “equal opportunity” crap. Kids, generally are not that stupid. They know damn well when they suck at something. And, usually when they suck at something, they’re not all that interested in spending a lot of time doing it. They’d be better off spending their time doing something they enjoy and are good at, or at least have some hope of getting good at.

XUP Jr. tried dance for a year when she was younger because she thought it was a magical fairy-tale thing to do. But she inherited all my uncoordinated genes. So, while all the other little kids had no problems learning the simple steps and prancing gracefully across the stage, XUP Jr. was always stumbling along in the opposite direction of the rest of the gang. She was forever bumping into and knocking over scenery. She constantly lost control of her costumes and props. She flailed around like she was on fire. It wasn’t pretty.

I sat through all the recitals and tried to keep the video camera focused on her, though I never knew where she was going to veer off to next. And afterwards,  I’d say stuff like, “You looked very pretty with that tiara around your neck. Did you have fun?” And she’d say no, but she wanted to finish off the year. Then she suggested that maybe she could try piano lessons instead of dance next year.

I probably should have told her she was a spectacular dancer and not to give up. And then I should have complained to the dance school that they were making the dances too complicated and it was making my daughter feel bad. And then at the next recital, all the kids would have stood in a circle holding hands and swaying gently from side to side while Row, Row Row Your Boat played softly in the background.

But that’s not what happened. XUP Jr. turned her attention to learning to play piano and did it pretty well.  And FYI, her failure as a dancer has not resulted in psychotherapy and has not stopped her for one moment from enjoying her school dances.

Pretending kids are good at something and praising them to the skies when they know they’re not, I think will just confuse them and totally skew their judgment and sense of self.  Then you wind up with things like tone-deaf, deluded kids auditioning for American Idol and having their dreams shattered (finally) on national television by a snarky British guy.

And, it’s totally unfair to the kids who really are skilled. They may have natural talent and/or they may have worked hard to get good. Then they’re put on teams with kids who have little interest in being there and even less skill. The talented kids can’t play to their potential and have no way of developing their talent. Instead, they have to subdue their skills and pretend they’re just as useless as the unskilled kids.

And what does that teach them?

It’s better to be average. You don’t have as far to go to become part of the lowest common denominator to which we all seem to cater.

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54 responses to “Striving for Mediocrity

  1. Bleeding heart. Crunchy granola. Politically- Correct. Milque Toast. Whoever came up with these rules should GET A LIFE.

    What’s really sad, is that these aren’t little kids you’re talking about. The article refers to teens. One of the lads was SEVENTEEN.

    Next year this kid will be old enough to join the army and kill for his country, if ordered to do so. Yet the Soccer Police don’t think he or fellow players can handle the “stress” out of losing too badly.

    This is quite alarming, actually. Because it’s not just about soccer. This is just a snapshot of the bigger picture, reflecting the kind of values todays’ kids are being taught.

    We’re raising a generation of wussies, who won’t stand up to anything controversial, where everyone’s opinion is equally valid and there’s no right or wrong.

    We’re becoming a nation of Neville Chamberlains.

    God help us should a conflict like WWII ever happen again.

  2. That thing of not hurting anyone’s feelings by aiming to mediocrity… I hate it. Reminds me the “reasonable acommodations” discussion. Let’s get everyone uncomfortable soy the others can get comfortable and please!

    I played rugby for many years. We had a coach that decided to enlisted the team in the top division to play against all the top rugby clubs in the region. The first year we lost some games badly, for the next we had learned a lot and we were not that bad. He tought us that “Es mejor ser cola de león que cabeza de ratón!” Something like “You’ll prefer to be the worst of the best and not the best of the worst” or something like that

    So, Glocester guys… let your kids loose 10-0! I’m sure they’ll learn a valuable lesson!

    Have a great day XUP!

  3. Good one, XUP – I did a post about the subject as well.
    I was a coach in this league for about 8 years. There must be some new – and weird – blood on the Board these days, cuz a decision like this would never have been taken a few years back.
    A coach can do things prevent a team from running up the score too badly… move the slower kids to the striker and centre mid positions for example… but I would have NEVER told the players to NOT score!
    I played on hockey teams that regularly lost by 15 or 20 goals… I learned that sometimes you suck and you have to deal with it! Even as a child, I would have been insulted if the other team deliberately “let up” to avoid whupping our butts.
    Grrr….

  4. Mercy rules aren’t unheard of, but they usually mean stopping the game at some rather ridiculous point differential, rather than awarding a “win” to the losing team.

    My thought is that the volunteers running the soccer organization just didn’t think it through very well.

    It sounds more like a misguided attempt to employ a mercy rule than a sign of a societal malaise regarding raising wussy children.

  5. “Harrison Bergeron”. A short story by Vonnegut, wherein anyone with exceptional talent is limited Good athletes have to carry weights, beautiful people wear masks. Any talent that would set you apart from or ahead of the masses is limited so no one feels left behind.
    As is often the case when adults get involved in children’s games, someone has overlooked the satire and taken the message at face value.

  6. Learning to deal with disappointments is one of the most important lessons you can learn as a child. I think this rule is very misguided.

  7. I don’t know why people think kids should be protected from losing a game and/or dealing with disappointment. It’s a critical skill for them to develop. Instead, we’ve managed to raise a generation of people who feel a sense of entitlement they don’t deserve. In the real world, people just aren’t going to reward you simply for showing up.

  8. Generations of kids are already scarred by our culture’s insistence on telling them how great they are for doing menial things. There is a plague of 20 somethings who’s feelings get so very hurt if you don’t praise them for doing the jobs they were hired and are paid to do. Crap like this soccer rule are further going to ‘wuss-ify’ kids to the point where they’ll break down and cry until they get special treatment.

  9. I played on the Gloucester Soccer Hornets at ages 15-17.

    It was a competitive team. You had to try out for it and not everyone made it.

    And even if you did make the team, if you weren’t a good player, you often sat on the bench. (That’s what happened to me).

    What a horrible, traumatic experience that was. I’m scarred for life.

    Too bad they didn’t have sissy rules like like this back then. Maybe I might have gotten to play more.

  10. We coyotes have heard scattered tales of university students who, upon finding that they sucked at certain subjects unto flunking them, immediately lobbied their profs for “A”s. They felt they, ummm, deserved them. Seems they’d never scored anything less throughout their entire public school lives, ergo said profs were obviously in error.

    Apparently this can carry over into careers, where some – understandably, given the lack of solid contrary evidence in their lives to that point, feel that they should sit in the big-bucks chairs right away, because they, ummm, deserve it.

    Nuthin wrong with their self-esteem…

  11. Friar – I’m not sure you should blame granola or toast. Those are both nice things to eat (unless you’re Brett who protects his kids from non-meat products). I have to think that this rule is parent-driven though. Parents want their kids to play soccer, but don’t want them to be discouraged by never winning so they complain to the association and the association has to make up rules like this.

    Guillermo – Hola! Long time, no see. I guess I have to post more sports-related things. I agree. It’s important for kids to learn that they have to work hard to win or to get ahead – not that they should whine and complain until they get everything that the kids who work hard get.

    Trashy – Like I said to Friar, I doubt it was the Board who wanted this. It has to be parent-driven. I wouldn’t even want to play if I had to spend all my time sitting in the field playing poker and smoking cigars or if the other team was doing that while I listlessly kicked balls into the goal.

    Dave – You probably haven’t had kids in the last few years because if this were an isolated incident no one would care. It’s symptomatic however of an entire trend. Kids aren’t allowed to fail in school anymore. They can’t get failing grades on anything. Marks cannot be deducted for late papers. Like one of the columnists said, in track and field everyone who runs the race gets exactly the same ribbon – there are no first, second, third – no winners. We’re all so worried about making some kids feel bad that nobody gets to compete or excel anymore.

    Dave1949 – I thought you would enjoy this story. I reckon we’re priming a whole generation of public servants.

    Mary Lynn – On the other hand, I’ve also seen parents complaining that league sports are too elitist, that they exclude kids who aren’t very good; that everyone should be allowed to play and have fair time on the field and there shouldn’t be classifications, etc., etc. Someone (a lot of someones) must be in favour of this rule.

    Mo – Unless you work for the government or some other union organization. I see this sense of entitlement among a lot of adults, too. Sure, it’s hard to see your kids being defeated in a game, but whatever happened to the “it’s how you play the game” adage?

    Dr. Monkey – Even in my own child, who I’ve tried to disappoint regularly (for her own good –lol). It’s amazing how many summer job options are so far beneath her that they’re laughable. Because, you know, she has a grade 11 education and has worked 8 hours a week for 2 years in a child care that now she’s ready for a glamorous, high paying job where she will have plenty of time off to go to the beach this summer.

    Friar – Too bad indeed. Look how damaged you are today because of that nasty soccer league. I’m sure if you dissect all your problems carefully, you’ll be able to trace them all back to that soccer league. And then you can file a big law suit.

    Coyote – See! It’s working then. We’re raising kids with great self-esteem. I can’t wait until those confident kids take over and become our doctors and businessmen and politicians. What a happy, magical fairyland world it’s going to be!

  12. My daughter has played house league hockey for the last four years. Sometimes they lose and sometimes they win. That’s life. Kids are smart. Even if the score isn’t posted…or you only allow 5 points, a loss is a loss and they know it. This rule protects no one, only crushes talent and effort. The story here is ridiculous parents…and boy there are some nutbars when it comes to sports and their ‘deserving’ and ‘talented’ children.

  13. Some kids like sports they’re not very good at. I was never a very good figure skater. I’m too tall and not exactly graceful, but I loved to skate. I probably would have been a better hockey player (and made my father incredibly happy) but I liked figure skating so that’s what I did after school up until my final years of high school. I knew I sucked, but I guess I didn’t mind so much.

    Physically, I was more suited to basketball. Whenever our team would be winning by a lot, our coach would make it more challenging; we’d have to pass to every member of the team before trying to score, or we’d play different positions. Making us work harder for every point helped us improve our game and didn’t unnecessarily embarrass the other team. The winning teams usually don’t feel so great about a lopsided score either, this way we felt more like we earned it even if we were playing an inferior team.

  14. Hey!

    I gave my kids waffles with fresh strawberries for breakfast today 🙂

    (I skipped breakfast, had a bacon, egg, avocado and tomato salad for lunch. Delicious…)

    And I let my kids lose. Heck, sometimes I’ll play a game with them and whip them.

    But every so often, they win, on their own accord.

    And because they know that *they* did it themselves, they are quite proud.

  15. I think it’s is just insane…but I’m wondering if it hasn’t come about as a frustrated response to something else that happens in community league socceer – parents and coaches who are parents hand selecting the kids for elite teams.

    I watched this happen in Chelsea. Nature Girl is a good soccer player. She’s not a stellar player, but she gives her all and is absolutely fearless in goals, it’s a rare ball that gets past her because she will use her face to stop it if necessary.

    When she entered the league ages that “count” another mom and I sat on the sidelines together and she shared why she’d stopped coaching and never would again. There were two teams where the kids were all a head taller than all the other kids in the league. Their parents were coaches, and they were all, every single one of them, amazing players. These two teams would absolutely cream all the other teams.

    It was demoralizing, for the good players on other teams too. It got to the point where the kids would see who they were slated to play against and not want to play.

    According this other mom this is very common and if you aren’t involved behind the scenes to see these elite handpicked teams put together you’d just think all the other kids sucked. But all the other teams are younger, and if it was done fairlythose star athletes would be distributed through the league and would get the benefit of being rolemodels on their nice normal community league teams.

  16. Most sport organizations now have a two tiered system. House teams that are there for the experience of playing and where they do all sorts of things to try to make the competition equal for all and traveling or all star teams picked by talent where the object is excellence and winning.
    It is only when parents get too involved in the children’s games that you get this level of stupidity occurring.
    I know in the local optimist hockey house league they actually had to stop the game every 3 minutes and make coaches switch lines so that all the kids got to play the same amount. Left to their own devices the coaches insisted on trying to get an edge by playing the good players more than the others. That was in a league set up for participation rather than competition.

  17. MM – Ya, I’ve heard parents at work talking about their kids’ sports teams. It’s almost like they’re living some sort of personal dream through their kids. It has very little to do with what the kids want and seems all about the parents battling each other.

    Allison – There’s no reason why a kid can’t be involved in an activity he/she really likes even if he or she does suck at it. As long as they don’t require any special treatment or want everyone else to be brought to their level so they won’t feel bad about sucking.

    Brett – Well, that’s it. You’ve ruined your kids’ lives forever. I don’t think there’s anything anywhere that says skipping breakfast is a good idea, is there?

    Mudmama – I can see the value in creating an elite team as long as they have other elite teams to play. There’s no point in them playing a bunch of 5-year-olds. And it would suck equally to put a couple of really good players on a team of kids that couldn’t play well. I’ve never been involved in this level of sports but it doesn’t sound very well organized to me.

    Lebowski – Ya

    Dave1949 – I don’t know what this Gloucester organization is there are some 3,000 kids in it and they range from young to older teens. I don’t know why every child has to play soccer anyway. Soccer and hockey. If you tell people your kid isn’t in soccer they look at you strangely like you’ve told them you don’t feed your child. And then they scold you and tell you how important soccer is.

  18. I’m not sure if it is written down anywhere or not.

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to eat if you’re not hungry, because “they” say you should.

    I eat when I’m hungry.

    I wasn’t hungry.

    So I didn’t eat until lunch.

    “Society” and “common sense” tells me I *must* eat breakfast, and they also tell me I *must* eat bread, cereal and pasta to be “normal”.

    To hell with normal, I know what works for me.

    Besides, if you think about it, we’re probably more naturally adapted to not eating at the same rigid times each day.

    I look at it in the same way that fitness coaches tell you to “mix it up” periodically. If you do the same routines day in, day out, your body will never be challenged.

    I figure it wouldn’t kill most Canadians to miss a meal once in a while, just to see how the rest of the world lives.

    (I take it if I tell you I fast for 24-36 hours at a stretch several times a month, you’ll think I’m nuts. Well, you knew that already… so might as well confirm it!)

  19. This is why I don’t bother with most community leagues. Well, that, plus the one kid in the family right now–not one of mine, yet–isn’t at an age where leagues like this are an option. Wonder how long before some pro league ends up sued because one special snowflake didn’t get drafted?

    It’s just a game. A recreational game, at that. But, the game in and of itself is competitive. You dumb it down, and I’ll lay odds not one kid from this league will make it into pro soccer if they want to. Then, I’ll point and laugh at the parents. After they lose that lawsuit I mentioned above. Sheesh, I’m totally blind, living on disability, and should be benefitting from all that equal opportunity crap out there right now and even I wish these people would stuff it somewhere.

  20. I have little patience for parents who enter their children in competetive activities, then try to change the rules so that their kids don’t actually have to compete.

    The one that leaps to mind was the Public Speaking contest somewhere in the States where the parents of a deaf and dumb child wanted their child to be allowed to compete. The organization putting on the competition said that in public speaking… the “speaking” part was pretty key. Marks were given for voice, inflection, diction, pronunciation, etc… things that simply did not apply to American Sign Language. The parents were outraged. They said that all they wanted was for their child have the chance to do the same thing all the other children were doing.

    Well, not exactly. What these parents really wanted was for their child to do something completely different… and have everyone else PRETEND that it was the same thing!

    I think this pampering attitude… this fear of failure… is simply unhealthy.

  21. i’ve read a few posts about this issue and not one of them was in favour to it. and not one of the over 60 comments that i read were in favour of it either. i know that is a very small slice of the population, but i want to know who are the people that made of this asinine rule? seriously, WHAT where they thinking. i can’t people how some people think that breading mediocrity is a good thing. what terrible disrespect to our kids to think so little of them and what they are capable of dealing with. i’m sick and tired of this 20something generation that feel so entitled. all i can say to the board of the soccer league? get a spine!

  22. It’s going to be hard for those who were helped with their A’s and “winning” when they finally reach adulthood and find out that life is not fair and that they suck at something and no one is there to give them applause. Might as well learn that while growing up.

  23. Well for people striving for mediocrity, the irony is that is about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of. No mediocre stupid there.

  24. Stuff like this is really ridiculous. I played sports and competed in rodeos and horse shows the whole time I was growing up. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you don’t. And while it feels great to win, it’s important to lose sometimes so that you can learn & grow – both your skills and your emotions. Sheltering kids does nothing to make them successful adults, it shortchanges the kids and society. It’s malarkey like this that has led to a whole bunch of kids/adults that can’t hear that they didn’t get an A, or the job or that they’re not doing something well or that they don’t get to be the boss immediately.

    It’s kind of like when parents go yell at the teachers for giving their kid a bad grade or no grade because they didn’t turn something in or cheated. How does that kind of behavior end in anything but your kid thinking that they should get good grades just because. And when they’re an adult, how’s that going to play out? Mom will have to go yell at people that won’t hire you or give you a raise?

    Ridiculous.

  25. Brett – Ya, you’re such a rebel. I’m of two minds about the benefits of fasting. And/or not eating breakfast. Back in the days you’re talking about, having a slow metabolism was a desirable thing, so that you could go for longer periods without eating and conserved energy by building up fat stores. These days we don’t really want that. We want to quickly metabolize our food and reduce our stored fat. So grazing is the recommended method of doing that. Which makes sense. When you don’t eat for several hours your body goes into starvation mode and starts storing as much energy as possible in case no food is forthcoming. On the other hand, the proponents of fasts say we need to give our systems a rest and allow everything to clear out of our digestive tracts and detox. I don’t know if that makes as much sense to me.

    James – Ironic and sad that the people that should be benefiting from special considerations, aren’t while other people are making a big deal about dumb stuff like this.

    Daniel – I don’t think “deaf and dumb” is the acceptable terminology. That would be audist. Hearing impaired is also not acceptable. International Federation of the Hard of Hearing, the World Federation of the Deaf, NAD, and the Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf have declared that “deaf/hard-of-hearing” ARE acceptable. As an interesting aside, I understand the term “deaf mute” has a particular importance in Jewish law; deaf-mutes were not moral agents, according to Judaism, and therefore were unable to own real estate, act as witnesses, or be punished for any crime.
    Smothermother – I have to think it was some of the kids’ parents who insisted on this. Sports parents can be very aggressive when they think their brilliant little darlings aren’t getting a fair shake.

    Linda – Ya, I don’t understand how this is supposed to play out. In high school, the get no marks deducted for late papers and teachers are not allowed to give any kid a failing grade on anything. So next year they’re in university where it’s a whole other ball game. Shouldn’t part of what schools and team sports and other extra-curricular activities be doing is preparing kids for the next phase?

    Geewits – Huh?

    Kimberly – Like smothermother said, a whole bunch of people seem to be agreeing with this point of view, and yet it goes on everywhere. Why? There must be a whole bunch more people who disagree with this point of view and have made it their business to ensure kids are mollycoddled.

    OC – Your link has disappeared because I’m tired of you using my blog to shill your own. If you have a comment to make, make it and your name will automatically be a link to your blog should people be interested enough in your comment to follow up with a visit to your blog. All you’re doing week after week is parasiting off my blog posts, copying my topic for your own blog and pasting a link in the comments. I find this distasteful. Bloggers feeding off each other’s ideas is one thing – it’s a great way to inspire each other. But one blogger copying another blogger’s topic every day and then trying to shill his blog by pasting a link in the comments of the blogger he’s leaching off? Totally uncool, in my opinion.

  26. Is the league with this rule a house league or competitive?

    My girls are both in house league in the West Carleton Soccer Club, and have been for 4 years or so. They have no interest in playing for the competitive teams (Talons), and even if they did, I’m not sure either of them would make the team. They like to play, enjoy the social aspect of being around other kids, and the sheer joy of running around kicking a ball. The do like to win, but not to the point of crying when they lose — they’re pretty philosophical about it. All the coaches we’ve had have made a point to play all the girls and give them experience in all the different positions.

    This year, Rachel is playing up on Leah’s team, which means she’s younger than the rest. She’ll have to try harder to keep up with them, and in last Saturday’s game against Constance Bay, she was run right over by a much larger girl and knocked flying. She got up and dusted herself off and went back in. She knows that in order to be allowed to play above her age level, she can’t complain if the other girls are bigger or more skilled than she is.

    I’m not really sure where I’m going with this except to say that most kids are pretty smart and would rather lose honestly than be condescended to by limiting the better team’s scoring.

  27. I agree that this new rule is ridiculous. My oldest daughter played in a very recreational soccer group (I wouldn’t even call it a league) for three years from the ages of 5 to 7. She was about as good at soccer as your daughter was at dance. When she told me this spring that she didn’t want to play this year, I did breathe a small sigh of relief I must admit.

    But can I just say that for the really small kids, I do think that sometimes it’s in everyone’s best interest to stop counting the score at a certain point. The winning team would still win, but a ridiculous score doesn’t really make anyone feel great. But I emphasize this is for when they are really little only.

  28. Just cause I’m a bit of a prick at times it occurs to me if I was coaching a good team in this league I’d run the score up and then near the end of the game kick a few goals into my own net to get back under the 5 goal limit. I’m sure I’d be one of the most popular coaches around the league.

  29. Alison – Ya, that seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? I don’t understand the need for all this silliness. And I’m not sure about the Gloucester association. You can look up their website and figure out if they’re competitive or not, I’m kind of lost in this soccer world.

    Finola – Maybe because of the little kids, the league decided they had to make that rule across the board? Who knows. So would they just end the game when the score got too high or how do they stop it from getting any higher short of instructing the winning team to stop scoring goals? And when would the rules change to allow a team to score as many goals as they can and how would that be handled?

    Dave1949 – Someone else suggested that somewhere else. Since your team is so good though, wouldn’t your goalie block that shot, too? Or would he be instructed to let it pass? In which case we’re back to playing poker and smoking cigars anyway.

  30. I’m with Brett. Eat when you’re hungry. Sleep when you’re tired.

    It’s worked for the last 20,000 years. Why change things now?

  31. Tomato, to-mah-to.

    I used to graze.

    I used to eat lots of whole grains and low fat foods that the nutritionists tell me I am supposed to be eating, things that I metabolized quickly, just like you say.

    I was hungry all the time so I ate all the time and I was waaaay too heavy.

    Now that I don’t eat those things anymore, I’m over 60 pounds lighter, have more energy, am stronger, and when I’m hungry, I *know* that I am truly hungry.

    I eat high energy foods (e.g. fats and proteins) that are metabolized slowly so I can do this.

    When *you* don’t eat for several hours, *your* body – which is used to getting quick “fixes” of food that in many ways resemble crack cocaine – *your* body goes into fat storage mode.

    Mine does not.

    We’re all different, and that’s the problem with trying to say “this is how you should do something”, I guess.

    I tried it your way, and I didn’t like the results, so now I’m doing it my way 🙂

  32. Brett – …..yawn….ya…I know…60 pounds… no bread…bare feet…crack cocaine…you’re an uber-mensch 🙂

    Friar – Interesting…

  33. I’m going to guess that this rule was for house league and not competitive. House league is more about having fun. It is not fun when your team loses by more than 5 points because the convener for your group or the good team’s coach stacked his kid’s team so they could pummel every other team in their group. I don’t think this rule is necessary when kids are placed on the teams so that they are all about even. However, that is not always the case and at times like that, I think this rule is a good idea. House league is supposed to be about getting kids away from the tv and computer and getting them active. They won’t want to play soccer anymore if they are always on a team that gets killed.

  34. Just following up, but I think the way some leagues do it is that once the score reaches a certain number, let’s say 10-0, then the kids continue to play as usual and keep scoring goals, but the score would stay at 10-0, even if it was actually 20-0.

    Not ideal, I know, but I still think there is merit to this way. The Gloucester way is just pure silliness.

  35. i could NOT agree with you more on this post. i think it is ridiculous to move the bar down for kids on sports and grades.

    that’s the kind of stuff that makes us great people. to keep trying or give up and move on (like xup jr.).

    i think of it like messing with mother nature, and our job is to promote our kids in how they are supposed to become, which is not mini me’s that so many parents seem to do.

  36. This reminds me of the Winter Olympics and all the talk about how the Canadian women’s hockey team should have tried to win by fewer goals so as to not discourage the players on the losing teams. Even the losing players thought that was a stupid concept. It is insulting to lose to someone who had to dumb down their playing for you, and you learn less from players who aren’t playing their best.

  37. Brett – And they don’t listen to you…

    Jennifer – I’m not sure if it’s just a house league. Thanks for being the only one to defend this decision. I knew someone had to have some justification somewhere.I agree that if the teams are organized well enough a rule like this shouldn’t be necessary.

    Finola – In either case it seems to defeat the purpose of playing a sport. If you can’t play your hardest and see some sort of result – score, I wouldn’t even want to play. How would you like to train for a marathon and come in way at the front and then they tell you they’re not keeping time or ranking runners? Crazy

    Leah- I know. I’m all for giving kids a chance to explore their dreams and try different things and to improve themselves as much as possible if it’s something they really want to do. BUT they also need to learn that there are always going to be people better than them and worse than them at stuff. That’s what keeps them striving.

    Louise – Nice to see that this coddling will carry on through their adult lives as least so they never have to face any disappointments EVER.

  38. No, they don’t.

    But it doesn’t matter, because I’m wrong anyway.

    We don’t have an obesity issue in our society, you know, and it’s all because sheeple follow the Canada Food Guide and eat from the four food groups as they should, including several servings of whole grains every day. They also eat low fat food because we all know that fat is *evil*.

    Yep, good thing that we all eat enough bread, cereal and pasta, and avoid fat in our food, otherwise half of us would be obese.

  39. @Brett

    Didn’t you read XUP’s post and the comments from last week?

    Obesity is Ronald McDonald’s fault! 🙂

  40. Brett – I know. I KNOW! Canada’s Food Guide is actually advising to eat healthy fats now. I’m not sure very many people actually follow the CFG anyhow. It would probably be better than whatever random snarfing of food they do now. I’m no fan of the thing, as you know, but at least it provides some minimal amount of information on nutrition. I’m always astonished at how little people know about the things they stuff in their maw.

    Friar – Ya, eh? That Brett just refuses to accept reality.

  41. I thought this was an article they’d have in The Onion. A Mercy Regulation? For real? That’s got to be one of the silliest things I’ve heard all day.

    Kudos to you for being just the right amount of encouraging to XUP Jr, and kudos to her for realizing what her strength wasn’t, sticking it out to the end of her obligation and then trying something else!

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  43. First comment – I couldn’t agree more regarding the ridiculous rule. There are much better ways to handle an out-of-hand game than teaching kids not to compete.

    Second comment – I am going to do something that I have never done before (that I recall). I am going to outright insult someone I don’t know and have never met….

    As I read your post, all I could think was “What a douchebag. I hope this guy never goes anywhere near my kids.”

    Because a kid isn’t good at something they shouldn’t do it? Seriously? Bullsh*t.

    This is exactly why we have house league sports.

    (By the way, you folks who are getting yourselves all twisted up over this thing – Gloucester Dragons Recreational Soccer is house league.)

    The kids who are talented and competitive – those are the kids who go play on the rep teams. More power to them. My eight year old is a decent hockey player. Looks like he’ll probably play rep. Won’t be the best player on the team, won’t be the worst. There will be nights that he won’t get as much ice time as he thinks he should get. There will be nights that his team gets rocked. This is fine. As many have noted, that’s life. We learn, we grow, we move on and figure out how to compete.

    But what’s most important to me is that he loves hockey. If he sucked I’d have him playing House C, and he could be the worst kid on the team. But if he loved it and he wanted to play and keep at it, then I’d get up at 5am on too many Saturdays and drive his skinny behind to the rink. There are so many great lessons that come from participation in team sports (like learning how to fight through adversity), there is no way I’d take that away from him just because he didn’t have talent.

    When I was 10 I was one of the weaker players on my house league basketball team, but I loved playing. I knew I wasn’t very good, but I had a great time. My 8th grade team lost one game the whole year. I hardly played. But I loved the game and I kept practicing and working. My parents never came to a single game – guess it was too hard to hold the video camera still for those two minutes I got in at the end of the game.

    Then something interesting happened. I kept practicing, I grew, I lost a bunch of baby fat, developed strength and coordination. Amazing what can happen if you don’t give up and stick with something you love. By the 11th grade I was on the varsity basketball team, and a decent player if I say so myself. I know high school basketball isn’t important here, but where I grew up in Indiana it was kind of a big deal. Might be a lesson in there somewhere about perseverance.

    Your daughter didn’t enjoy dance and moved on to something that she did like. Good for her.

    But to suggest that kids shouldn’t play soccer if they aren’t talented – I will never accept that attitude graciously.

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  45. CP – It seems like everyone in the city, as well as everyone here thinks it’s silly and yet it continues to exist. Odd, eh?

    Geoff – I believe I also said that if they really loved the sport there were other options than to try and compete with people who are really skilled – especially if that means we have to thwart the talents of those kids so that the kids who have no talent won’t get their feelings hurt. Of course a kid should play if they love it that much. As I said – play and learn and maybe they’ll get good enough to compete and then they can play with the big boys. I was just saying that your kid’s right to play a sport he loves shouldn’t supercede my kid’s right to play and excel and get better at a sport he loves AND is really good at. Thanks for the comment.

  46. This is where I got hung up:

    “If he’s no good but likes soccer, he can play with friends or attend soccer camps or schools until he’s good enough to make a league team.”

    Glad to hear that we aren’t as far apart as I thought.

    But for everyone else who is freaking out – this is a house league group that started the whole uproar. These are the kids who do NOT play competitive. Bad rule – yes. The end of our way of life – no.

    Thanks for listening.

  47. Geoff – No problemo. It IS still a dumb rule – house league or not. There has to be a way of letting kids who are really good play against each other so they can really compete and hone their skills while kids who can’t play so well can play against other kids who don’t play well so they don’t get creamed all the time.

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