There’s no crying in Football! or should there be?

I had a great day today. Did one of the things I love doing most of the world. I went to the MCG with my Dad and my son (and cousin and 90,000 of my best friends) to watch an AFL game. I just love it. The atmosphere, the food, the shouting, the passion, the raw combative power and nature of the game.

I get pretty fired up at these games, I’m not my normal calm self, I kind of get involved. However I have had to calm/centre myself, now I have to be an example to my son. I do need to turn it down a few notches.

I found myself conflicted today however. Let me paint you the scene. The team I (and my son) support got absolutely thumped. We put up a bit of a fight, but in the end, we weren’t really good enough on the day. My son was shattered. It upset him greatly that we were losing, and tears started at an early stage.

This surprised me a bit, he hadn’t really done this before. My initial reaction was to calm him down. Remind him that losing happens, you have to take your turn and you need to be a good sport and that tears for not winning is not really acceptable. Then I thought a little more. Is this teaching him to accept losing? Should I be teaching this? It’s good to hate losing and to be single focused in achieving what you want. There has to be some level of competitiveness in you to be successful, and an acceptance of losing, well…. is it acceptable?

I was/am really conflicted. I’ve been told that to be more successful personally I need to be harder, (you’re too nice) have a bit more mongrel in me. OK losing happens. Should I be teaching that you have to like it? You should swallow it, grit your teeth, learn from it and come back better next time. But not like it, isn’t that accepting mediocrity?

Maybe this makes me a bad person or parent. I do believe that as a kid it isn’t if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game that counts, especially when you are learning skills, sports or at school, but do I believe that as an adult?

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Posted on May 2, 2010, in AFL, Carlton, competition, losing, sport. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I'm a firm believer in hating losing. While I do get the whole thing about “it's how you play the game”, I think that it should be a matter of learning to accept losing, but not liking it. That's why I don't (as a rule) ridicule players for shedding tears when they lose a Grand Final – I know how bad it feels even in a country league, and it always burns you to the core.

    To quote the immortal Captain Blood “whoever said that it's about how you play the game is an idiot. Sport involves winners and losers, and winning is all that matters”.

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