I have been reading a lot lately about kids, competitive sports , and if you allow your children to play. There are good and bad things that come along with being involved in any kind of competitive sport. Three years ago we started coaching a 6 and under soccer team. when you are the coach, you have a lot more control over what is going on with your kids. Unfortunately, we can't coach all of our kids all of the time and you still don't have any control over who you might be playing against. Our children love sports and love to play sports. We only let them play soccer mainly because of the time involved to play a sport (for the whole family) and also because of the cost of playing sports. We like that playing sports teaches kids: rules of playing the game, skills needed to play the game, how to work together as a team, good sportsmanship, patience, and how to lose gracefully. We try to teach these things to all of the kids on our team, putting more emphasis on having fun and the progress they make then on whether or not we win the game. We always encourage our kids to be good sports and to be kind to others.
Problems can start to arise when you play teams that have more "competitive" coaches. Coaches we have no respect for the rules of the game or teaching their kids to be good sports. Coaches (and parents too) in which winning is everything. Last night while we were waiting for our turn to play we got to watch the end of another 6 and under game which the coach deliberately ignored the rules and played a goalie (not allowed in 6 and under soccer.) How can you teach your kids to take pride in how they played and their win when you cheat to win? There also was an instance last year where a coach was teaching 4,5,and 6 year olds to push kids and slide into them on purpose. When being called on this by another coach some very foul language ensued right in front of both teams of children and all of the spectators.
I really could go on with more examples, but I am sure you know what I mean, or have experienced some of it for yourself. The only thing we can do when dealing with the "bad" things that go on, is to teach our kids to continue to do what is right. We will follow the rules and be good sports no matter who we are playing. We need to be accountable for everything we are teaching our children. Not only to ourselves and the kids we are responsible for teaching, but also to God.