Is winning everything?

What I Learned from a Particular Facebook post

The other day, I came across a Facebook post that NYC Talking editor, Angel Rodriguez, shared. It was a link to an article about a California high school girls basketball coach who’d been suspended for questionable sportsmanship. The coach’s team had beat the opposition 161-2. Angel had shared this article arguing against the suspension. He firmly believed that the coach had done nothing wrong – that sports are about winning.

My reactions

I’ll admit, when I first read through Angel’s own comments, I found myself nodding along. I shared his views. As a mother of three young daughters, I’ve always believed in teaching my kids to try their best.

However, something surprising happened. As I read further down, I actually began to change my stance.

Many of Angel’s friends were arguing in favour of the suspension – saying that in youth sports, the aim isn’t just to win but to play fairly, to be a good sportsman. That the coach could have taken the starters out in the first half, when it was already clear what the final outcome would be.

It would have been so easy for me to resist changing my viewpoint. For me to continue thinking, “How are children going to become resilient if they’re not confronted with failure?” It would have been easy for me to continue thinking, just like Angel does, that we shouldn’t need to go ‘soft’ on our kids.

But I’ve realized now that youth sports really are different to competitive sports. They’re played differently. They have different aims. They’re about teaching the future of tomorrow how to stay active, work amongst a team, have fun and be kind to each other. They’re not just about winning. They’re another means of instilling good values in our children.

From a mother’s viewpoint

I want my kids to know that there’s more to life than winning. That anything in life, whether it be a basketball game or a college degree – that the focus shouldn’t just be about the end result. That it’s important to enjoy yourself along the way. That you shouldn’t get so caught up in achieving the end goal, that you forget all about the journey.

Another great example of good sportsmanship

I came across an inspiring article today about a 17 year old high school runner from Ohio, Meghan Vogel. In 2012 she was about to finish last in her race, but as she approached the finish line, she noticed one of the other competitors had collapsed. Instead of rushing past to secure a better place, she picked up this girl. She carried her to the finish line.

Meghan finished last whilst the girl she was carrying, placed second last. A photo of this kind gesture went viral and touched many hearts around the world.

It’s examples like this that reflect us that there is more to life than winning. That being there for your fellow man is sometimes more important.

What I learned from that particular Facebook post

The important life lesson I learned from reading Angel’s post is that we, as human beings, are always learning. That we learn by being open-minded. We learn by seeing different points of view.

Nobody is perfect. Nobody knows all there is to know. There’s always an opportunity to grow as a person.

The wonderful thing about life is that you have the chance to immerse yourself in different experiences. To surround yourself with all different kinds of people. There’s a world out there for you to experience.

And if you make the conscious decision to open up your mind, you won’t just learn something new but you’ll become a better person in the process.

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