I have a son who is studying PE/sports science in 6th form. He is sports mad and thoroughly enjoys what he learns in these lessons. He even finds the associated theory riveting. In the midst of all the trials the poor child is experiencing, this subject has been the one bright spot. We recently received a letter from the head commending his application and effort and saying that his hard work had been noted at the highest levels in the school. After a spate of negative letters, this was like finding a fresh spring!
The thing is, he seems to be the exception in the class.
When they have a practical lesson, he gives it his all - regardless of the sport being played. This is really driving the rest of the class nuts.
Honestly, B----, why do you have to take it so seriously?
Oh, lighten up!
Why do you have to make a competition out of everything?
It's not always a competition you know!
It's not about winning!
He gets the feeling that is considered mildly indecent to try to win. He was letting off steam about this recently and said two very insightful things:
- If it's not about winning, why do we keep score?
- If it not a competition, why don't we just get rid of the goalposts, the try line, the finish line?
- There may be other contenders for the heart of the love of your life
- There are bound to be other applicants for the job you want
- You can almost guarantee that there will be more applicants than spaces for the study programme you want to follow
- If you don't have goals, how will you assess your progress?
- If you don't break a sweat from time to time, how will you ever know what you're capable of?
Maybe it's too much of a stretch to lay the blame for this at the door of those dreadful 'sports days' where no spectators are allowed, no-one wins, no-one loses and a bunch of kids aimlessly drift from station to station around a circuit. But I'm willing to bet it doesn't help!
Now I'm not advocating that we encourage our kids to go out there and draw blood in order to win at all costs, but I would like to see them being encouraged to care, to try.