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Let The Kids Play »

I just have to get this off my chest.  I have been President of our local soccer club for the last two years and have been involved actively with the club in other positions including coaching, managing etc.  During this period we have always had an U7 gala day.  We were the first club in our area to establish one for this age group.  Now our governing soccer association says that we should not be having these fun days as they are seen as being ‘competitive’ and we dont want children under the age of 10 being placed in a competitive situation.  Well, I have not heard so much rubbish in all my life!

These gala days are designed around the kids and their families.  We have about 20 teams that pay a nomination fee to be part of the day and this fee covers the cost of trophies and prizes for the teams.  Every team and player gets something.  Each team will play a minimum of about 5 games during the day culminating in semi finals and a final at the end of the day.  Families come along and bring their friend and grandparents and have lunch they set up tents and the kids run around having a great time.  Its hard work for the committee and a long day but it is great to see so many kids having a great time.

Well, now we have been advised that if we want to continue to have these sort of days, we will have to take all the competition out of it.  In other words no trophies because we can’t have a winner! no scoreboard set up to show everyone how their team is progressing on the day! and of course – NO FUN.

I thought they were joking at first but no, they weren’t.  I know I struggle to remember what I did yesterday at times but I do remember some things from my childhood and one of those things was racing other kids in the playground to the school fence and back.  I also remember playground games like handball and football where there was always a winner and a loser.  I know I have got my problems (well my family tells me that anyway) but I am darn sure I cant blame the playing of competitive games as a child for anything that may happen now.

Some of us are competitive by nature others are not.  Some people thrive on the challenge and the intensity of competition, others don’t.  Life is a competition.  We are faced with this on a daily basis.  I say let the kids play and show them that even though there is a winner at the end of the day,  they have all won something and had fun and spent the day with their families and friends.  In the current climate today, isn’t this more important?

I’d appreciate your thoughts – am I totally off the mark here?

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  1. 2 Comment(s)

  2. By L.T. on Jul 15, 2008 | Reply

    You’re off the mark (sorry)!

    1. It isn’t the players that can’t deal with the winning/losing, it’s the parents

    2. Why semi-finals & finals? You’ll see how much better the soccer is if the coaches don’t have the excuse of “we have to win to move on, so just kick it out!!!” Just guarantee each team x amount of games and be done with it. Seed them so they always play teams of equal ability, but the only people that need winning and losing to have fun are the ones driving the kids to the park…

  3. By RM on Jul 28, 2008 | Reply

    Nope, not off the mark at all. Kids have got to learn that sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t. It also is good for kids to have a goal to aim for – that trophy means a lot more if you know you earned it.

    This is not to say that it should be cut throat! As long at the PARENTS aren’t being rabid about who wins/loses, then the kids won’t be either. Make it friendly competition and everyone wins.

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