A case for competition
I’ve always wanted to write an essay about the advantages of letting children play competitive sports. Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn this entry into a two-thousand word essay. Considered this a very condensed version of that.
Children don’t understand what it means to be competitive. It’s not about winning, and no, it’s not about losing. It’s about learning so many other things, lessons that will come in handy as they get older.
I do believe that it’s good to teach children to have some sort of competitive side. As you get older, you learn about all of the positive side effects that come with forcing yourself to work harder and be the best person you can be. In sports, you have the opportunity to instill that into your brain. It’s a good habit to get yourself in, and it only gets harder over time.
Like I said earlier, it’s not about winning or losing. In fact, I’d argue it’s about sportsmanship. It’s not easy for kids to win or lose gracefully, so athletics do a good job of introducing that aspect of life. Regardless of the outcome, there’s always going to be another day, and another game. Life parallels that in a lot of ways. You may not get the job you applied for or maybe get accepted to the college you dreamed of attending, but you can’t let that stop you from working hard.
One of the more underrated aspects of sports (although I’ll admit this isn’t the case in every sport) is learning what it means to work in a team dynamic. Whether it’s a school project or a big assignment for work, you’re often going to find yourself working in teams. Maybe it’s with people you like, and maybe it’s with people you can’t stand. If you play sports long enough, you eventually learn how to work around those issues. It’s your first opportunity to work together with a group of people you don’t know, in hopes of achieving a common goal.
If I’m ever lucky enough to have kids, I’d want them to have an opportunity to play sports, but only if they show some interest in it. You’ll occasionally find that some parents will force their kids to play sports, so that they can live vicariously through them. That’s neither healthy, nor fair to any child.
To me, the answer is simple. If your kids want to play sports, you should let them play ball.