Good game, high-5; Good game, high-5; Good game, high-5; Good game, high-5…
At 8 years old, being a good sport was about hiding your disappointment when you lost and not bragging too much when you won. It was exhibited in a line of little girls delivering hand-slaps and “good games” before running to the coolers behind the bench to claim grape sodas.
As I got older, sportsmanship became about more than losing a game without throwing a temper tantrum. It became about handling yourself, on and off the field, with style and dignity no matter what the outcome.
Now I’m a parent with a super-competitive child and sportsmanship has never been more important.
My oldest has always been highly competitive. He needs to win. He must be first. Otherwise he can get very frustrated. He has always been this way. In pre-school he used to bolt down as much food as he could and then say he was full, even though he had half his lunch left, so that he could be first to the washing up station.
This is terribly ironic considering that from the minute we decided to have children my husband and I were determined to raise our children to be non-competitive good sports.
None of this “Second place is the first loser,” or “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing,” mentality for us. We emphasized fun over winning, asking him “Did you have fun?” before we asked anything else.
Yet, here we are with a 10 year old who will do anything to win – including cheat – and cries like his heart is broken when he loses.
Nature vs. Nurture. The struggle is real, y’all.