There Are WINNERS And LOSERS In Sports

I love sports for kids. There are so many life lessons to be learned: character, hard work, determination, teamwork, resilience, and so on.

However, one lesson many parents downplay is winning and losing.

There is the philosophy of “everyone is a winner“, and yes, that is great to help build children’s confidence and self esteem early on.

But, how realistic is it later?

You’re really setting your child up for failure and heartache by ignoring the fact that someone wins and someone DOES NOT win in sports. It’s not being mean, it’s just being realistic.

This became evident to me at one of Mo’s soccer games.

Mo’s Under 10 team was up 5-2. A kid from the other team committed a blatantly obvious handball near the goal. Myself and a few other parents said “handball” in unison.

The ref ignored it giving the kid an opportunity to get closer to the goal to take a shot (he never did, Mo stole the ball and sent it up field).

ANYWHO…the ref then turned to me and barked, “if you wanna coach, you need to go down there” (pointing towards Mo’s coach).

I not so kindly replied I wasn’t trying to coach, just acknowledging something everyone else seemed to see (even the kid who committed the handball stopped playing waiting for the whistle call). Then I suggested he worry less about me and watch the game so he won’t continue to miss calls. 🙂

As the game went on, it became evident that the ref was giving calls to the other team in an attempt to help them score more goals. Didn’t work. Mo’s team went on to score 2 more goals winning 7-2.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this happen. In previous experiences I’ve heard refs say they are trying to give the other team a chance to catch up and make it a closer game so they don’t feel so bad.

I have a problem with this reasoning:

1. You’re basically cheating for the other team to stroke their ego about losing. You’re compromising ethics/rules and trying to help them get ahead not by hard work and skill, but a handout.

2. You’re penalizing the team that’s ahead for playing hard, working together, and winning.

To me, if you don’t want your child’s feelings hurt about losing, don’t put him in competitive sports. They keep score for a reason and that determines who wins and loses the game.

Now, some of you might say, if Mo’s team lost 7-2 I’d feel differently. Incorrect, Mo’s team got smashed lost 9-0 a few weeks earlier. They weren’t given any calls, no Kumbaya on the field, no Referee Godmother gave out tissue.

They got an old fashion ass whipping.

And guess what, from that, Mo’s team went back to the drawing board…they bonded as a team over the loss, had 2 hour practices twice a week to hammer out inconsistencies, and most importantly, they learned character and humility.

Losing also teaches the importance of being a good winner. It’s hard to forget a tough loss but hopefully when you win, you remember how it feels to be on the other side.

Just as winning is part of the game, so is learning to lose.

As much as we’d like to live in a perfect world, everyone doesn’t win 1st place. DEAL WITH IT.

After his loss, Mo learned, you win some, you lose some, and sometimes you get your ass kicked. That shouldn’t define you.  It’s how you handle the loss that determines who you really are.

So Mr. Replacement Ref, don’t take it from me, take it from some of sports’ finest, it is ok to lose sometimes, THAT’S LIFE:

History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats. — B.C. Forbes

Our goal is not to win. It’s to play together and play hard. Then, winning takes care of itself. — Mike Krzyzewski

If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride and never quit, you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high, but so are the rewards. — Paul “Bear” Bryant

Champions keep playing until they get it right. – Billie Jean King

The only way to prove you’re a good sport is to lose. – Ernie Banks

It does not matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get up. – Vince Lombardi

It’s not up to anyone else to make me give my best. – Hakeem Olajuwon

I run on the road long before I dance under the lights. – Muhammad Ali

If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes. -John Wooden

When you want to win a game, you have to teach. When you lose a game, you have to learn. – Tom Landry

If you never lose, then you can never appreciate the victories. – Laura Twitchell

I’ve never known anybody to achieve anything without overcoming adversity. – Lou Holtz

Win or lose, do it fairly.– Knute Rockne



10 Comments on “There Are WINNERS And LOSERS In Sports”

  1. Danielle October 29, 2012 at 7:02 AM #

    you sound exactly like my husband.

  2. RhondaBear October 29, 2012 at 7:04 AM #

    I am Lol at you yelling at the refs. You are hardcore for soccer. But kids can be sensitive and it hurts to lose sometimes.

  3. AHotMama October 29, 2012 at 8:38 AM #

    I wasn’t yelling at him per se, I just made a sideline commentary and he blew it out of proportion. I respect the refs that give their time to call the games, but he was very rude & disrespectful to me, so…..

  4. Jenna October 29, 2012 at 1:39 PM #

    I think 10 is too young and they should have a mercy rule for blowouts. Around teenage years is good for kids to be able to deal with a loss especially a significantly big one.

    • aHotMama October 30, 2012 at 9:18 PM #

      In his age division they rank the players and teams. The top 8 of 24 teams continue to playoffs. The playoffs are win or go home and the last team standing is the division champ. Kids definitely learn how to win and lose at this age.

  5. Hotdaddy October 29, 2012 at 3:17 PM #

    You are a dream woman. Most moms say the opposite.

  6. Mommy October 29, 2012 at 4:08 PM #

    I just discovered your blog. I have 2 sons and a daughter. I will admit I have been not very enthusiastic about sports. I generally choose to go with my daughter for her activities, ballet, art and dodge my sons sports. You are inspiring me to give it more attention. Thank you

    • aHotMama October 30, 2012 at 9:18 PM #

      Thanks… give it a chance, your boys will appreciate your efforts when they get older 🙂 Plus, soccer moms ROCK!!!

  7. Chris Williams May 27, 2013 at 6:35 AM #

    Kids should learn as early as possible that you win & lose and when you lose you work on your weaknesses. I have 3 nieces (they are sisters 1 is 7 & the twins or 5) & they are always finding ways to compete with each other. They compete to see who can brush their teeth the fastest, but they make each other tougher & not want to quit until whoever lost first figures out how to win. I may or may not have influenced them to participate in “trash talking” but the older one got in trouble at school for telling a kid “you can’t see me” after stealing the ball from him then making a lay-up (on 8ft goal). He (the other kid) started crying & she laughed at him then goes on to tell her teacher that’s how she plays at home with her uncle. Toughen up your kids.

    • ahotmama May 27, 2013 at 9:07 AM #

      I think there’s a balance. In early years I’m all for fun and “everyone’s a winner” but at some point kids need to realize you win and you lose, especially when it comes to competitive sports. It sets someone up for disappointment and possibly years of therapy if they don’t realize this. lol

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