The joy of sports, and how to bring it back

Roger G. writes:

If I were the emperor of sports, I would dismantle practically all the programs now existing—especially the abominations in our colleges and schools. I’d set up the programs for kids (i.e., 21 and below, from college on down) so that there was sufficient playing space and equipment for all who wanted to play—whether or not they could simultaneously chew gum and walk. And I’d divide the kids into teams small enough so that no one was cut or had to sit on the bench. And I’d have them practice practice practice and play play play—so that they could work, and suffer, and enjoy themselves, and get stronger, and learn. And I wouldn’t care how good they got, or who won or lost. And every kid who was willing to put in the effort could have a real athletic experience.

There is such joy in sports, they must come from God. Being on a team, training, and playing is so glorious. I hate to have anyone deprived of the experience, for not being “good enough.”

And I didn’t even play the fun positions. i was an offensive guard until i was 21, then a prop forward until I was 40. And a first baseman/catcher.

There’s no reason for the exclusion, hate, and terror that the adults bring in.

But the adults ruin it all. They run the sports for their own egos, not the kids’ benefit.

Child obesity. Child inactivity. Gee. I wonder why?

Gintas writes:

But what does Roger G. do with competitive boys, like I was? I wanted to win so badly. I started playing ping-pong with my best friend, and he was much better. When I finally beat him I was angry and accused him of letting me win; “you let me win! Why don’t you try harder? Let’s play again!” That was my way of trying to make sure I beat his best. Roger needs to let the boys be competitive, but he would need to keep the parents’ competitiveness out.

Roger is right about adult fanatical micromanagement and organization and competitiveness (and desire to pay for college with scholarships) ruining the games. So often children are pushed into organized sports and development programs, but they never learn, on their own, in unorganized fun play, to love the sport. That comes from playing sports, not working sports.

LA replies:

I also disagree with Roger about not caring who wins or loses. The desire to win is essential to sports. That doesn’t mean that winning should become everything, as with these parents I hear about. That’s some kind of disturbed phenomenon. It is, after all, sports, not war. But as long as you’r inside that contest, you want to win. That’s what it’s about, striving to defeat your opponent.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 05, 2009 05:31 PM | Send

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