Sharon DeVellis: Inside Scoop


Why I Think There Should Be Scores In Sports

Teaching Our Kids Fundamental Life Skills

They aren’t going to keep track of winning and losing in soccer anymore.

I wasn’t going to tackle this topic because, well, what could I say that hadn’t already been said on both sides of the issue. But then life goes and dips into the irony bin of manure and throws it smack dab in my face.

The fact is when I first read about scores no longer being kept in soccer, my gut reaction was it was an idiotic decision, but once I read more about why it was being done, some of the points made sense to me. It’s to help teach the kids fundamental skills and give them the foundation to keep them in the game longer.

That’s a good thing, right?

The whole playing-to-win structure meant coaches were selecting players based on their ability—Hey you! You’re good, why not come and play for our team—and allowing the good players to play more often than the “not-so-advanced” players.

So they changed the whole system.

What doesn’t sit well with me is that if coaches were choosing their teams by selecting only the best players and/or playing the more advanced player on any given team, this is a flaw in the coaches and how they were being trained (and/or parents who were pushing to get their children on the best team), not the win/lose system. In the meantime, if we take away winning and losing, I think our kids are missing out on learning valuable life lessons.

This past weekend Speed Skating Son participated in his final speed skating meet of the year. It was, in some ways, a very successful weekend with him getting two new personal bests but in other ways disappointing because he fell in two races.

To say we had a miserable child on our hands is an understatement. He fought to hold back the tears but the emotion was written all over his face.

He was disappointed and I get it. To fall on the 14th lap of a 15-lap race sucks big time. BIG TIME. And to have to put that aside and congratulate your teammate after you had a crappy race is even harder. So hard that the first time it happens you may not be able to do it. Because dealing with disappointment and facing loss with a strength of character that allows you to congratulate the winner in a genuine way is learned—it doesn’t come naturally.

This is where I feel the kids may be losing out. It’s up to us as parents to give our children the tools to deal with losing and the emotions that come with it but how are we supposed to teach them if they don't encounter losing situations? There are only so many board games a parent can play.

I feel it's a slippery slope if we start taking away the competing to win aspect from sports. While I absolutely agree that the skill set will improve on the soccer field (they didn't make this decision lightly and there's research to back it up), I also feel it's harder to teach kids how to lose like winners (and win like winners) the older they get. Sports provide us with so many opportunities to teach our kids fundamental skills, not just on the field, but skills that will carry them through life, and I don't think we should take that away.

What do you think?