No Win Situation

at 12:35 AM

I'm fully aware that we live in the mecca of political correctness here in the Bay Area, but since when did it become politically incorrect to win?

Case in point: my 8-year-old son's soccer team last year didn't "count" the goals they scored. His youth basketball team didn't "count" the baskets they scored in their games either. The rationale, I was told, was to not call out the differences in talent and discourage those with lesser abilities from maintaining their enthusiasm and interest in the game.

Okay. I get it. Makes sense. But I had to question this line of thinking during a state-level gymnastics meet that my son participated in recently. Professional judges assessed each gymnast's performance and posted their scores after each event on an electronic scoreboard in the gym for all to see. At the end of the meet, when it is customary to recognize gymnasts for their all-around and individual event scores with awards, no such thing occurred. Instead, all were called before the audience and presented exactly the same medal. No distinction for individual scores or achievements. Each was recognized equally regardless of personal or team accomplishments.

Wait, why did we just judge and score the gymnasts if we weren't going to rank and recognize them? My son achieved personal bests in individual events as well as in his All-Around score, but he had no idea how he ranked against his peers.

Then, it hit me. We were witnessing another example of the political in-correctness of winning. I always thought sports were metaphors for life. Wins and losses help prepare you for life's ups and downs, and setting and accomplishing goals demonstrates the value of hard work and commitment. How do we expect our kids to grasp these concepts if we don't provide a context for how they perform versus their peers?

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Oh well. Maybe what I'm wishing for is a win-win scenario.  Wait, is that politically incorrect, too?

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With a Perspective, I'm Kevin Gianatiempo.

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