Crying In Sports

Having 2 boys, I’m around a lot of other boys. I’ve heard numerous parents telling their sons not to cry on different occasions.





I have never been one of those parents.

I always encourage Mo and B to express their emotions, happy AND sad. Why should it just be acceptable to show joy?

Feeling sadness,pain, and triumph are a part of life too.

No point in holding it in, right?

I don’t like senseless crying to the point of annoyance, or selfish crying to get attention or your way.

However,  if you fall and hurt your knee, and wanna cry, then CRY. If something happens that affects or hurts you emotionally, then CRY. It’s pretty simple.

Recently this theory was put to a test regarding sports and crying.

Mo was playing soccer and for the 1st time in his budding athletic career, he lost a game.

After the game, he shook hands with the opposing team, then bypassed the team snack of Capri Sun and Doritos and sprinted straight to my car. I had no idea what was wrong with him. I thought maybe he had to pee or something.

When he got in the car, he burst into tears and kept saying he couldn’t believe he lost the game.

I was at a loss of words. Mo has always be ultra competitive, but hearing him whimper through sobs that he thought he would NEVER lose a game in his life took me by surprise.

He was devastated.

He didn’t wanna talk to his friends, eat, watch tv, play wii, or Club Penguin.

This was serious.

He just wanted to sit in his dark room and silently cry.

I let him.

When he was ready, we talked about how all my his favorite athletes lose: Michael Jordan, Brett Favre, Anthony Robles. It seemed to sink in a little when he asked if even Kobe Bryant lost. Yes, even the great Kobe has lost.

After a few days he was better and I realized that learning to lose was just as important as learning to win in sports.

But what about crying in sports?

recent study  found College football players who think it’s OK to cry, say, after losing a big game, have higher self-esteem than those tough-guy players who say tears are a no-no, a new study shows. The researchers also found that players who show physical affection toward their teammates are happier.

Overall, college football players who “are emotionally expressive are more likely to have a mental edge on and off the field,” said study researcher Jesse Steinfeldt.

Still think real men don’t cry, or crying is just for babies????

Some of the world’s greatest superstar athletes show otherwise. Click to see Marion Jones, Wayne Gretzky, Andre Agassi, Tim Tebow, Adam Morrison, Terrell Owens, Kevin Garnett, Michael Jordan, Mary Decker, and Nancy Kerrigan shed tears during some memorable athletic moments.

Cleveland Browns safety Abe Elam sums it up nicely:

“No matter what level you play on, there’s a lot of emotion because guys are giving their all,” Elam said. “Crying is OK; we’re all human. Some people cry out of frustration. Some cry out of disappointment or fear, and some cry because they’re happy. I know I got emotional when I played in my first NFL game because of everything I had been through to get here.”


16 Comments on “Crying In Sports”

  1. Stace October 5, 2011 at 12:13 PM #

    We always kid about the phrase from the movie A keague of their own. “Theres no crying in Baseball”. But the fact is thats what makes you better. The blood sweat and TEARS!

    • ahotmama October 6, 2011 at 9:15 AM #

      I agree! I feel like no matter how old he gets, he will always remember the time he cried about his 1st loss.

  2. Grandma Tee October 6, 2011 at 5:28 AM #

    Love the way you help the boys deal with their emotions. Mo is competive and competent. He is passionate about winning. Losing for the first time is difficult Mo. Wish I were there to cry with you.

    • ahotmama October 6, 2011 at 9:15 AM #

      I just want the boys to be able to understand and deal with their emotions. I never want them to hold it in or be afraid to speak up.

  3. Joe Daddy October 12, 2011 at 10:52 AM #

    Your boys are lucky to have you as a mom. Keep teaching them

  4. Sportsdad October 12, 2011 at 10:54 AM #

    Great write-up and references. Losing is a big part of the game. Your son crying is a great sign of a future serious athlete. Let him cry and don’t baby him when he does. It is a natural instinct of a champion when they lose.

  5. Mike S. April 30, 2013 at 4:47 PM #

    There is a big difference between crying and being disappointed, and throwing a tantrum when one loses. Clearly the response for specific age groups can run the gamut of levels. Kids model adult behavior, as well as have their own emotional and neuro-responses to such events. When kids model adults fixation on winning (which can involve anger, sarcasm, name calling, physical tantrums), this is different than feeling a sense of loss, or disappointment. It is often a rude awakening when kids reach a certain level in sports, and not everyone is a winner. As sports become more competitive and aggressive (as kids grow), it might register as a shock that a kid can’t win every time, be perfect in performance, and get a hit every time they bat. Although it ends up being a process (learning to lose as well), some kids continue to hold unrealistic expectations of winning all the time. More often than not, they have absorbed and learned that from the parents. A parent shouldn’t be surprised if their son or daughter is on the excessive side of the equation.


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