This is a huge topic. There are benefits to healthy competition. I
know many who are inspired by it--and push themselves to achieve more as a
result. Unforuntately it does have a dark side. By the very fact that one must
guage one's success on the defeat of another... Sports teams
aren't the only ones that teach the destructive nature of competition.
Every time a parent brags about his or her child's accomplishments, over
all the others, there's the value taught. Yet competition is a
part of our biology. The survival of the fittest. In politics, many businesses,
national defense it absolutely crucial to one's success.
Raybies: I think "healthy competition" is what's at issue here.
Yes, some kids are driven by it from an early age. However, what is being found
out is that many kids who are much more athletic later are being passed by for
the sake of an 8 or 9 year old who may be aggressive at that age, but is then
caught up to and passed by by bigger and stronger kids. Unorganized
competition, where kids can experiment and make their own rules, without having
adults always telling them how they should play and arguing over plays, will
always, in my opinion, be a better option until a child reaches puberty, where
hormones then will decide what type of player and how big a player that person
Healthy competition is important to development for adult life. Not everyone
who applies for a job gets it. Not everyone who applies to Universities gets
accepted. Not everyone who asks someone on a date is going to be told yes.
Learning to deal with disappointment in a safe environment is important in the
growing up process.
As said, the subject is huge. In my experience, it is never the competition
that is the problem, it is the coaches and parents putting unrealistic demands
and expectations on the kids, and the kids lack of understanding about what
success truly is.The reality is that competition is a major
motivator. The trick is to temper expectations, make them realistic. You
can't win every time nor always be the best. But you can always strive to
do your best, to help your team do its best, regardless of the score, and that
is where success lies. If our culture isn't teaching that, then we are
really losing touch with the real world.The fact that the article
never touches on that is a symptom of that culture, where if competing means
losing, then lets not compete, as losing is bad; and teamwork isn't even
part of the discussion. Truly a sad situation, that psychologists can't
A team spirit can be a good thing, working together to achieve a goal, but in
much of sport it's personal glory that is sought and encouraged. It's
wasn't so much The Chicago Bulls as Michael Jordan and "those other
guys". We want super heroes - "gods". It's all a
bit intense. Not everything in a child's life should have to be organized
by the school or even the parents, and being a good athlete should not get you
into a college if you are poor academically and a better student is shut out
thereby.Seeking vicarious glory from your local team or your child,
especially the latter, can be a sad business. Not all children excel at sports,
and pressuring a child into local srts stardom or winning glamor contests is all
a bit sick. I may be gratified but am not glorified or even improved honestly
by the superficial successes of my town or my child.I loved to play
at sports but it wasn't usually organized for me and I didn't require
Mom or Dad to be screaming dishonorably for the family "honor".