I have noticed some youth sports do not keep score; telling the kids every game ends in a tie. This is one of many examples on why we are breeding weak willed generations susceptible to being controlled. We are coddling our youth by such demonstrations of falsehood. In sports there should always be a clear cut winner or loser (NFL and BCS excluded but even that is flawed). This is as simple as black and white; no room for grey; you either win or lose. Children should strive for victory and graciously accept defeat, motivated to practice more, try harder, and strive for victory. If we deny them of this at a young age they may not be prepared for the inevitable reality of failure.

I just recently was in a debate about this very subject at my daughters softball game a few weeks ago. I made a comment how last year every game ended in a tie, and this year they kept score but were not using it as a motivational tool. Her response to me was “the score doesn’t matter they should just be having fun and learning,” against my better judgment I did not end the conversation.

I went on to outline the issues I brought up above. She engaged me for about two minutes then completely stopped talking to me. I figured one of two things happened; either I painted her into a box, or she hated what I was saying.

All three of my kids are active in sports; through these years of sports I have noticed their coaches are far too passive. They will allow their kids to underperform, not confronting their shityness. If my son is not aggressive enough or blows an assignment I want the coaches in his face pointing out where he fucked up each and every time. I want him to instruct him of the proper way until he gets it. I do not want my daughters’ coaches to allow her to pitch if she can’t catch the ball when the catcher throws it back to her. My youngest one is five and in tee-ball, but I still want them to be honest if he is underperforming for his age he deserves honesty and motivation to do better. I was coaching my daughters’ basketball; we reached the championship game and I benched her for two extra rotations.

Kids deserve honesty not coddling. They deserve to learn about winning and losing, success and failure. We should not be afraid to tell them how it is, without fearing we will somehow emotionally damage them. Our kids deserve better then this.

What do you think?

  1. corey bratt says:

    except for the profanities, i actually completely agree with your entire article, tim 🙂 kids have to learn that they will not always win. learning to be a gracious winner and a gracious loser are important qualities. a good example: last week three of my kids were in a bike race. i’m very competitive, and was trying to coax my 3-yr old daughter to pedal faster, but instead she was waving and smiling at the onlookers that cooed at her. then at the finish, she cried (literally bawled) that she didn’t win a prize. she was convinced she had won the race, not having noticed all the other racers ahead of her. i told her to try harder next time.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      I forgot something I thought of on the way to work; I want my kids do do well in school, sports, and being serious about their futures. I believe they should be gently pushed to be the best they can be at anything they do. I instill in my children that no matter what you do in life whether it be school, sports, or a cashier at McDonalds you do your best 110% of the time. If they fall short they are not scolded, they are motivated to do better the next time. I think this builds my children into strong, independent members of society.

  2. johanna says:

    There is a fine line between expecting the best from our kids and ruining their self esteem. As with everything else in life, it’s all about balance. I think kids need solid instruction, not criticism. Big difference. They KNOW when they don’t get it right. No need to point it out. They’re not stupid. Just teach, and model. They will eventually get it or they won’t. But if they don’t, let them go. Sport aren’t for everyone.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      I do not think you should ruin their self-esteem. They should be encouraged but also challenged to do the best they can do. It is important we point out what they do not do in order to show them how it is done. If we fill them with nothing but happy positives they will never live up to their full potential because they will think what they are doing is good enough. My daughter for example will settle for nothing less than staight A report cards, and when she falls short in one class she is hard on her self. I explain all A’s and one B is an awesome report card, and she should be happy. She responds with she wants to do her best. I never told her the only way she has succeded is if she receives straight A’s, she takes that from the lessons she was taught to always strive to be the best. I do not think there is anything wrong with that.

      As for coaching in sports it is important coaches and parents are honest with their kids. I do not think you need to be all negative, what I do feel is correct is the sandwhich concept say something good then something they could have done better then something good. This is what I use with my kids and their self-esteem is perfectly fine. In regards to the basketball game, she was not upset. She knew her basketballs skills were not very good and accepted that so her team could get the win. I think that shows a ton of charecter for a little girl.

  3. From time to time, you’ve been reviewing different verses of the Tao Te Ching. How do you think the post above fits in with Lao Tzu’s thought? Me thinks that, if you listen to Lao Tzu, you might change your tune a bit.

    • Tim Lundmark says:


      I am so far away of obtaining the ability to live the Tao. There are days I can and days I can’t, I wish I could just allow. It is one thing to break it down, but a whole different ballgame when I try to live it. I am very frustrated.

      • No one lives the Tao 24/7. We all stumble along our paths. Life itself is about frustration and how we each learn to deal with it. Show me any man or woman who doesn’t get frustrated and I’ll say that person isn’t living!

        That said, my point had to do with your attitude on this topic. Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu urge each of us to move through life like water. Both urge us to be competent, but not adversarial.

        Activities that stress winners and losers are those that seek to force the water in particular directions. To my way of thinking, this is the antithesis of their observations.

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