Thursday, September 02, 2010

Captains Courageous or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Shared Leadership

I used to have a t-shirt with the expression "politically incorrect and damned proud of it". I usually got some kind of comment on it whenever I wore it. Truth be told I'm not politically incorrect and am in fact sensitive to people's feelings, ethnicity, religion, social standing etc. I am however not overly politically correct and have NO tolerance for the the PC police are doing to society. This will have to be one of those multi-part, sporadic blogs as the issue is so wide reaching. The thing that has spark my ire today is parents and kids sports. No, I'm not talking about the over aggressive parent who lives through his kids sporting career. Nope, that's a blog for another day. I'm talking about the parents who believe coaches should walk around on egg shells in dealing with their kids as it may damage their self esteem. Me, I'm not buying it

There was a story of a local high school this week where they have eschewed the concept of team captains chosen by their peers to "shared leadership". Look, we all know, by and large, in high school sports the captain concept is bullshit and who cares. But the deeper point is that, according to the most experienced coach involved, the athletic director was besieged with angry parents after captains were announced at the end of the year banquet screaming about why their kid wasn't picked as a captain. As she felt she was swimming upstream in a losing battle she simply gave in and and decided everyone is a captain. It's so typical. I wish this was an isolated incident but it's not

Sports for children is what it's always been, a microcosm of real life. On the positive side it teaches teamwork, problem solving, and achieving goals as well as getting healthy exercise.On the negative side they can face favoritism, low self-esteem, and grave disappointment. In other words the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Sounds an awful lot like...real life. But see, for some people this isn't good enough. The live with an everyone is a winner philosophy. We can't mess with our youngster's delicate psyches. We need to pump up their self esteem. So let's stop keeping score! Let's not have a winner or loser and every game is an exhibition game! Everyone plays the same amount of time no matter the talent or ability! Captain? We don't need no stinkin' captain! Everyone's a captain!! Can you see what I'm saying (mixed metaphor??)?

So you don't do sports. Fine. Your kid has a part time job and he works twice as hard as the other kids doing the same job. Should his boss treat them all equally? "I'd like to pay you more but I don't want to reward you and make your co-workers think they suck at life". Or how about in school. Let's eliminate class valedictorian, honor roll, class officers, give every kid a scholarship to whatever school they want and all but eliminate any form of grading that might bruise someone's ego. Gotta treat everyone the same! What's that? Most of this, other then the scholarship thing, is already happening to a degree? Ugh...

Bottom line. Sports can be fun and they can suck. Like life. Some people will excel better then others. Like life. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes the game will get called for rain. Like life. Honestly where do these people come from? Every day of your life is a competition. You fight your whole life for betterment. There is no way to make a better life for yourself and your family without stepping on a few toes along the way. I'm sorry but it is not an even Steven world. Someone is always winning and some always losing. There will always be leaders and followers. Nothing is given to you in life and you have to fight, struggle and claw your way through it. Like sports. Sometimes someone less worthy get's ahead for the wrong reasons. Like sports. And often you need to endure the agony of defeat to savor the sweet thrill of victory. like sports

So, let's go people. If your kid's want to play sports, let them play and stay the hell out of it. If they don't want to play, that's fine too. But get away from this namby pamby everyone wins, we're all equals, don't keep score, my kid deserves better bullshit. Let them experience all this for themselves as believe me you crying to the dean of students or the CEO of their company about being "fair" just won't cut it

No comments: