Posted on | March 19, 2012 | 1 Comment
A little rant.. if you’ll indulge me. My issue is this: the everyone’s-a-winner attitude some – in fact, a lot of – parents have with their kids. I can’t work out if it’s just a North American thing (I haven’t parented anywhere else, so it’s hard to know). I do suspect that in my native Britain it’s not so predominant.
And what I’m talking about are the kinds of scenes that played out at Munchkin’s soccer match at the weekend. Here was a team of 5-year-olds getting well and truly slaughtered, and it didn’t surprise me in the least. They followed the ball aimlessly, followed each other up and down the field, failed to run fast enough after the other team, and therefore left their goal area totally open. And whenever the coach asked who wanted to sit the next session out, lots of hands went up. The kids had little interest – unlike the parents.
There were cheers whenever one of our team got near the ball and, more importantly, cheers and attaboy/girl comments when they didn’t. “Good job!” they shouted after one child who had failed miserably in goal came off the field for a rest. (There were lots of rests; the game was split into 5-minute play times, and after each there would be a changeover in players and/or a water break.) Whenever the other team scored a goal – and I lost count at eight; ours scored zero – a huddle of parents from our team came out with comments like “You did awesome, guys! You’ll get ‘em next time!”
One woman screamed so high and loud on the sidelines I thought she might turn blue and fall over. She was urging her daughter to “turn it around!” (the ball, because some of the kids on our team didn’t even know which goal they were aiming at), “get the ball!” and “run!” It was irritating, but at least she seemed anxious for her child to succeed. The others treated their kids as demigods on the field, lathering them with praise that was, to be brutally honest, simply not deserved.
I know, I know. “They’re only five,” I hear you saying. But really. How is it healthy for a kid to walk off a field after doing a crap job, to be showered with praise? Mollycoddling? Indulgent? Just a bit.
I felt like screaming too, not to join in the unworthy praise, but to shout at Munchkin to stop with the clever little dance he does where he runs just fast enough to seem busy, but deliberately avoids any contact with the ball. I wanted to shout “Get a bloody move on! And the goal’s in that direction, by the way!” But once, a while ago, when Hubby shouted a few suggested moves/tactics to the team, he got told off by the coach. “That’s my job, ” he was told.
Any anyway, there was no point. I could tell Munchkin would rather have been digging a hole in our back garden, or turning some toilet roll tubes into a boat (and then trying it out in the bath). Big deal. I don’t care much for sports anyway. What I DO care about is parents pumping their kids up like that, giving them a false sense of accomplishment and pride.
Call me mean. Call me miserable. Call me British. I have a feeling I will never qualify as one of these “soccer moms”.