Right or Wrong? Does it really matter?

Category: 2013 Published: Sunday, 20 January 2013
Here is what I perceive to be a major problem in society and youth sports. The lack of desire and it is not ability, of a person to see the other person’s point of view. But, what I am most fascinated about is how much it is culturally driven. The importance of being right versus the importance of community, working together, sharing who we are, and embracing the differences in others, has now taken over and dominated our politics, our friendships, families, and sports.

 

Because if we were all the same wouldn’t it be pretty boring? Isn’t it our abnormalities that make us normal? Do we really think that we will, at some point, get everything right? Do we think the children will get it right all the time? What are the consequences if they don't? There are none unless you make them up for your own ego. I love the fact that my wife is different. She sees things differently. My children teach me every day about how they see the world differently. And let me be clear, I am so far behind the times, I think I’m in front. But the value of that process has been lost. We now feel that we need to be right and consequentially, YOU need to be WRONG!

 

As a coach I often would tell the story of how I went to recruit one player and ended up liking another player just as much if not more. We would go into a game saying that either we were,or the other team was better on paper. But isn’t that the reason we play the games? Don’t we want to find out if our hypothesis or assumption is correct? And cant that only be done by embracing the value of the journey? You can’t know who won or lost in the first few minutes of most games you play or coach. It’s a process, a journey that needs to unfold and you learn from that process and journey. But if you only care about winning and losing you don’t get to see or learn from the many benefits a game has to offer.

 

Yes, you can say we play to win and winning defines the process, and it really is how we keep score, and therefore it is so important to win. But does it really? You can make an argument that we are actually trying to prove ourselves by being right. That is our goal. Winning proves that we are right. So if we continue to win we actually believe that makes us superior in some way. But in the end only one team wins the last game of the year. And what do you hear from the coach of the losing team? “We got to get better!” In that simple statement he encapsulates everything we are trying to teach at Frozen Shorts and the book I wrote called: Stop The tsunami in Youth Sports. The coach is saying we have improve, and since the game is over, the coach must wait, yes patience is important, and plan a journey along with his team to get better both physically and mentally. And at some point, it can be argued, this is when the light goes on, the coach realizes that the more fun his team has the better chance they have of reaching their goal.

 

But let’s look at this paradigm more closely. The more you win, the more you believe that your way is the right way and you should stay on that course. But what is not spoken about is how important it becomes to your STATUS to be right because of all the wrong that have been done to you. Somehow, winning all these games starts to elevate your belief that it is important, very important to be right instead of learning. The the stress express makes a stop at your station You start to tie your identity to a youth sports team or game. That's why it is so important that the kids PLAY FOR FUN and YOU help facilitate that process.

 

Think now, really think how good you feel when you are not right. The Christmas gift you did not expect, but was sensational. The person you ran into that you weren’t expecting to meet. The upset victory you achieved when everyone stopped caring about winning and just went out and played. Or the time you went to the movie theater and couldn’t get into the movie you wanted and saw another movie, instead, and it was fantastic. In each one of these cases you shared the story with someone or many someone’s around you and you, and all felt good about it. Think of the enjoyment you get out of seeing an upset. Remember how fun it was to make a new friend. Think of how important it was to you to share the good feeling you had about something with others so that they could feel that good also.

 

 

 

Or, since I believe if what we do at Frozen Shorts is long term beneficial for our children in youth sports and LIFE, that it can and is beneficial for them to have that joy modeled by adults as important, in all areas of their lives, This transfer of the value in the journey and playing for fun is a crucial part of our existence and being. Think how great it was when your child came home with a great big smile because they had done something at school they didn’t think they would do well at, and it came out great.

 

You see compared to the body the mind has way more room for growth and almost an endless capacity for ideas and change. The capacity to comprehend this paradigm and the desire to enjoy and embrace that journey of balance and community , and its value, have been slowly and surely handicapped and eroded by specialization and the immediacy and perceived value or status of getting things right, right now, and the constant pressure to do so!

 

Again I ask you to think about mistakes you have made in your life and how in the long run, most of them, unless they were catastrophic in nature, helped you to see things more clearly, or at the very least, be more tolerant of others, and the true real value of community.

 

Most team games are lost not won by one team making more mistakes than the other throughout the course of the game. During the game adjustments are made by both teams to correct the mistakes that have been made. You as a fan sit in front of your television and coach. Many parents sit on the sidelines of their children game and criticize the coach and or players for the mistakes that are made.

 

Don’t you like to hear a story about a player who worked hard and overcame adversity? Or how about the enjoyment it brings you to tell the story of the underdog who rose up from seemingly unbeatable odds to become a success and a role model for those around him. How many times have you been to a game and seen the bench player, and I use that word reluctantly, rise up and make a shot and the joy that envelopes for those teammate s and fans watching.

Vj has just authored a book called Stop The Tsunami in Youth Sports. It is available through his website frozenshorts.com. You can follow him on twitter @VJJStanley, on face book artfrozenshorts, or email him for a speaking engagement or question at vj@frozenshorts,com

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