On Monday, August 11, WPIAL Fall sports begin. That is the first day for all Fall sports try outs. I know this because although I am retired, I am still coaching the North Allegheny Varsity Boys' Golf Team. Thinking about and working on the try out process for the golf team reminds me of the times that I tried various sports in high school, which I did not like nor did I do well. I tried swimming, but got "swimmer's ear", and I could not hear for two months. I also was not allowed in the water, which was fine by me. In fact, I am still a terrible swimmer. My senior year, girls' basketball was offered. The coach was a screamer and mean, and my parents never raised their voices, so basketball/his coaching style was not for me. I loved playing baseball as a young girl, and since all the kids in my neighborhood were boys until I got much older, I was included in every game. I was shocked to find out that in the 1960's girls were not welcomed in little league- it was for boys only. (I guess I was ahead of my time.) I could not be a cheerleader, as I never learned to do a split (ouch), and I never mastered all the twirls required to be a majorette, so it was Academics and high school clubs for me.(I took up golf after high school, but golf was for boys only until the late 70's, and I graduated in 1970.)
In times past, every student did not receive a trophy just for participation. Clear cut winners and losers were announced, and no one went home with a consolation trophy. In today;s society, parents are worried about hurting a child's self-esteem if he/she does not "win". I disagree with the "everyone wins" theory. I had many disappointments, both as a child and as an adult, and I can remember my mother saying that in life, you never win all of the time. She said that the small disappointments I had in my younger years would help me to grow and to accept the letdowns which would inevitably happen as I got older. She was right. Childhood lessons became adult lessons. I found out that sometimes, even if I happened to be the best candidate, someone else got the job. Learning that lesson did not ruin my self-esteem; instead, it made me more aware that life is not always fair, just like Audrey taught me when I was a little girl. I still believe it to be a valuable lesson.
I think today's parents, although trying to protect their children, are actually setting them up for a painful adulthood. In my opinion, learning the lesson that everyone is not a winner early in life is far superior to having a shelf full of meaningless trophies and finding out that in reality, everyone does not win every time, nor does one win just by participating.
Learning this lesson early on worked for me. How about you? I welcome comments or suggestions.
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