Monday, April 29, 2013

Winning is not what you think!

Our society has a very warped sense of what winning really is.   We think we know...but it's totally wrong!!!!

I was talking to my friend Sherry yesterday about her daughter and her daughters issues with sports.  Her daughter starts gung ho and then peters out.  I was the same way growing up.  I wanted to try lots, but then I hit the brick wall (be it pain, boredom, etc etc etc) and quit.  I told my friend that she needs to focus on the victory being in that her daughter completes the season.  The victory is not in setting wonderful records or winning every game.  The victory is that she does it and COMPLETES it! 

 This conversation was fresh in my mind while my brother and I talked later in the afternoon.  We were talking about soccer.  He is coaching a young team (my 6 year old nephew is on that team). His beef with coaching the team is that the purpose of the age group that he is coaching is to get the kids out there and moving and to let them have fun.  He stresses out because some parents are hard core about winning.  These parents are running up and down the sidelines yelling at the kids and pushing the kids.  They are stealing the fun from the kids because the pressure to win has been elevated. Seriously, these kids are 6 years old!    My brothers words were 'we are creating a society of children, future adults that are hyped up on winning.'  We are teaching them that winning is the end all be all and nothing else matters.   Is this really what we want?

My brother and I talked about team sports and such.  I looked at him and said "I think that's why I'm liking running".   He looked at me and smiled and asked me to clarify (although I think he knew what I was going to say.)   I replied with. " Lets look at the Boston Marathon simply because that's all we hear about lately....they had what?  30,000 runners?"  He and my sister in law nodded in agreement to my rough (really rough) estimate.  I went on.  "I would wager a bet that there were only a handful of people that ran that that actually even thought that they had a snowballs chance in hell of winning that thing."   Less than 100 people probably were really only contenders to win.  (And I'm being very liberal, I bet it was even less than that).  Yet tens of thousands of other people ran it.  Why? Why would they run it if they knew they were not going to win?"   I of course paused dramatically at that point before I made my profound point.   "They did it because for them the victory was in finishing the race.  The victory was in possibly setting a personal record for running  marathon.  The victory was in the flush of success!"    THAT is what sportsmanship and winning is about. 

My brother quickly nodded his head. He looked at me and said "Most individual sports are like that.  Why do you think I ride a bicycle?  I win every time I climb a bigger hill in at a faster pace.  I win each and every timee I successfully finish."  My brother looked toward my niece who was sitting quietly listening to the conversation.  "Ali gets it.  While there are winners in gymnastics and she is striving to win and we do celebrate when she places, she is competing against herself.  She celebrates her 'best ever' scores.  She is competing against herself first and foremost!" 

That is what winning is about.  It's about competing with yourself.  Some days winning is simply getting out there and running or riding or whatever.  Some days it's about setting a personal best record.  Admittedly, some days it IS about taking first place in an event....but not always. Winning is SIMPLY doing it!

That all said.  I have been very quiet about posting goals and numbers and such.  I know round about where I want to be weight wise, but I'm not stressing about it. Yes, I would like to be there as soon as possible and I would LOVE to set goals to be a a certain weight by a certain time.  But I'm refusing to set goals like that...they only set us up to fail.  But I'm going to set a goal today.   Right now I'm running a 5k distance in bout 43 minutes (that was Saturdays run).  My goal for Mary 18th, which is the paws on the pavement 5k that I am registered for is the run that in under 40.  I don't care if it is one second shy of forty minutes, I want to be UNDER 40!   So I have to shave 3 minutes off my time in 3 weeks.  Can I do it????   Yikes!   That's my goal! 


Stained Glass Butterfly said...

I agree, beating someone else is not all that matters. Learning discipline, tracking progress, pushing for improvement, are important for children as well as us adults. It's sad when parents sap the fun out of sports and competition for kids.

Eesh said...

Well put MaryFran! Sometimes it's not all about winning but learning and growing as well.


Debby said...

AS the mother of 3 sons, there were a lot of sports played at our home. My youngest son was always on a winning team. That concerned me. Finally, he got on a team, that would lose and sometimes lose big. So I had to show him that losing wasn't that bad and that you actually learn more by losing than by winning all the time. He got it. While he still enjoyed a big old W in his column, he now understands the character building of a loss.

Gwen said...

Team sports suck, OTHER than teaching us about working together AS a team. My husband became Umpire in Chief of a girl's softball league, and within a week he got a voicemail and the only thing they said was 'the only good umpire is a dead umpire.' WTF!!!! As we grew our daughter's up on softball, and he was head the time the girls were in high school, he knew the only girls to recruit for the team where the girls who had non-psycho parents. I kid not. Life is too short to put up with that crap, let alone for our kids to put up with that crap. I became team scorekeeper so I could sit by myself behind the backstop away from all the gossiping, bitching parents. THAT SAID, kids need to learn how to be team members. It is SO important for their life journeys and careers. Truly.

timothy said...

i have no doubt you can do it! my goal was to finish mine in under an hour since i'm a walker, my best gym time was 55:07 and i did it in 54:32 so that was a victory! and as long as you're improving that's all that matters!

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