Imagine you’re at your son’s first soccer game. You cheer him on, go go go, get the ball, kick the ball, etc., but you wonder why the team is acting quite sloppy on the field. Your son kicks the ball and it’s blocked, and then at another point the other team scores and wins the game at stoppage time. In soccer, or European football, of course the end of the game is stoppage time. The world cup games are played in halves, with each half being forty-five minutes long or so, no real quarter breaks. Youth soccer leagues take note.
Now imagine your son playing soccer again. What happens when your son scores the goal for the team who wins? How do you feel about that? WHen the first example is displayed, how do you feel when you find out the other team won? What do you as a parent do to teach your child to win, and to teach himm or her the benefits of losing a game or two? In the early 1990s, the values of winning and losing were important to children, and children competed more often just to see who was best, and there really was a “best” player or person on the field. This doesn’t apply to just soccer, it also applies to life itself. There is a difference between losing unfairly and losing a fair game. You wonder why athletics has gotten obsessed with antidoping measures as well.
Meet Donovan. He’s a CAnadian paralympic swimmer who’s had his share of wins and losses I assume. Donovan has to be tested for antidoping agencies to ensure his wins are clean, and believe me, it’s not fun. Because athletes are taught today that cheating is a value they can uphold, there are those athletes out there who cheat, and must vacate victories based on cheating. Marion Jones is a good example. But how can we instill this value in the youths today?
Children must first learn that it’s okay to lose a game as long as it’s a fair and equal opportunity on both sides. LEt’s imagine the soccer game. If you have a goalie break the rules about using his hands or whatever he’s not supposed to do, I’ll confess I forgot, you must say that the losers didn’t lose fairly. However, if the team’s offense wasn’t strong enough, we can fairly say that the opposing side won fair and square. There are always better people out there than the people themselves. There is a principle in the Tao Te Ching, the book of Taoism. The best warriors say they’re not the best fighters, and they’re humble enough so that they lose a battle every once in a while, but when they win, they don’t gloat. That’s another thing. I watched an intramural football game at FSU, not the regular games, but Brother Jason from the brotherhood of hope was a good example of why we should bless our opponents. He prayed for the opposing team, and said they deserved blessings and he prayed for a clean game. Brother Jason is a humble and modest man who converted to Catholicism and joined the brotherhood of Hope shortly after leaving Methodism. Of course, I knew him as a man who truly blessed the world with his presence, and if he were Taoist, he would have understood the best warrior quote well. At the game I watched, though FSU lost it, we still cheered on our opponents. We didn’t try beating them up and nobody had terrible thoughts about losing because it was all in good fun, though a bit competitive on the edges. Still, your child should learn to congratulate his/her opponents in all things: card games, soccer games, intramural and competitive sports, and other school functions and activities around the community. Then, when your child wins, or his/her team wins, congratulate them, but trust me, allow them to evaluate what they can do better. IF you’re a coach reading this, always remember that everybody loses at some point, but winners never quit. True winners are the ones who say and admit they did wrong.
I learned all this the hard way. Today’s kids oftentimes take losing too seriously. Three quarters of today’s teen suicide attempts are girls, and boys tend to complete suicide more. Why? Bullying is a big factor, but a child must learn how to detect bullies and stand up to them, including on the internet. Internet bullying is a huge problem for today’s youth. I didn’t grow up with selfies, likes, and other sorts of things. I plan on never posting pics of my kids on Facebook, never identifying the child by name as a young woman mother of one child decided to do. I’m going to follow her example and keep my child safe online, and one thing will have to go: pictures. IF my son is in a soccer game, I won’t be taking pics, and I will not allow any parent on the team to post pics of the team on social media. I’ll just say don’t tag me or my child on Facebook, not till he/she’s thirteen and can handle her or himself on social media. I want to be able to interact with parents on social media but I just don’t see the point in taking pictures of naked Baby X and dirty Baby Y and putting them up on Facebook for competitive purposes, which is what parents today do for their children. Millennial parents don’t get it at all. It’s sad, truly sad, what they do. THey expect their daughter to look pretty for selfies and win boys for her pics all the time, but such attention can lead to sexual assault, bullying, and suicide attempts for her. The boys are infrequently taught to send “dick pics” to girls, how to ask for nudes, etc., and high school has gotten so bad that certain things have to be banned in order to keep learning a priority. Smartphones and cell phones should be banned, but now kids are doing snapchats and other things. Remember the infamous Syracuse Snap? Anyone remember that? It depicted sexually violent acts against women and girls, smoking, and all that stuff. It was a page devoted to this kind of activity, and I don’t want my child winning the wanton cruel award of “sexiest hussy model alive.”
Not putting pictures on social media is just the beginning. My friend doesn’t identify her son on social media, but she is doing this for a reason. She will be moving to England, which has a tougher education system, but still, I think she’s making great choices for her child. It’s her world, she can’t let others mess it up. When her son is a teen, he will thank his mom for keeping him safe as a little boy at that point. Hopefully, this young man will also win, and win good things. He won’t solicit things from women, and think that women only do that stuff. High schools aren’t what they used to be, and teen suicide rates may skyrocket between now and then, but part of suicide attempts is not accepting temporary acts of defeat. Defeat in the long term though is unacceptable, and I have examples of that.
Not being able to ever work or get a job because of disability. Not being allowed to sit in the same rail car with the person you want to sit with because that person is black. Not being allowed to marry because your family doesn’t like him. All these things aren’t losing battles, they’re dangerous. If my friend sees her son happy with a woman who is black, she should congratulate him and support him, regardless of racial views of different people. My friend doesn’t think race should be a factor in marriages, if I know her well enough. For all we know, parents of Caucasians also have a dramatic rise in domestic violence, something thankfully I didn’t witness in later life, but my mom messed everything up when she and Dad went to court and manipulated a judge into defeating any things I wanted to do. The long term consequences of such a thing can be suicide for some, and why would I do that? I wouldn’t. However, there are many women and men with disabilities in this situation with no place to turn, no place to go but in the ground, forever to sleep eternal with the rest of the dead. These people need a voice, a hopeful message. You are not alone, do what you want, don’t let anything or anyone steal your fun. That’s what I’m doing now. And I’m winning at it, I’ve scored a goal or two against a family that doesn’t deserve a daughter. And they’ll have to lose when they die, realizing that they could ruin the lives of their grandchildren, a man their “daughter” loves, and the man’s family.