It appears that some people in the United States would ban or do away with any game or sport which chooses sides, and the outcome might determine a "winner" or "loser". They say that by removing such things from the children, we are protecting our children's psyches, and they will not be "hurt" because their team lost. A very interesting perspective. Let's project this "non-competitiveness" into the business environment, when our children are adults and out on their own. When another associate is promoted or given a raise, and they are not, how will they accept with the explanation that they are not competitive enough, or learn that just not showing up for work will not get them promoted? Noone is "entitled".
So much for sermonizing. Games and sports provide invaluable lessons in a child's development. From learning to play with other children on a team, to developing a personality that is gracious in both losing and winning. Games and sports teach rules and the need to observe and follow them. Learning the rules teachers children that there are consequences: three strikes and you're out, five fouls and you must sit on the bench, if you are hit by the ball in dodge ball you are out of the game. Games and sports imitate real life. We all have to live by the rules, whether we like to exit or not.
So, what else besides learning about rules and playing fair do games and sports provide our children? Something often overlooked is that in order to improve and succeed in the game or sport as well as in life, children have to learn how to practice. This means not just showing up to the formal team practices. They need to master the little things of the game or sport. What an ugly word "practice" has become. You often hear the complaint "I show up for practice twice a week, and now coach wants me to do more work out side of practice!" If the sport is basketball for instance, rarely does a coach have time during practice to work on foul shots, left handed layups, or ball handling skills. These are examples of fundamental aspects of the game or sport that need to be mastered in order to move to the next level. Practice is not a once in awhile activity. Repetition makes us into better players. Through life, we are constantly challenged to learn new methods and ways of doing things. Games and sports teach us to work on and master fundamental actions on our own and that to master a skill it needs to be repeated over and over again.
Is there anything else games and sports that can contribute to a child's development? Many children's organizations have removed "keeping score" from the younger age groups. After one of these games, ask any player from the two teams, who won? The players know and they will tell you fairly accurately what the final score was. Through one's life, there will be times when, despite one's best efforts, you lose. You are not promoted. Your are released from the job due to downsizing. Losing can be a devastating thing for people and players of all ages! It is what one does after the loss that determines the quality of the individual. By participating in games and sports, your children can learn life's lessons. After a loss, the world keeps turning, the sun still rises, and more importantly, they get to play again! Children can gain a perspective from games and sports, that since losing, there is a tomorrow, and they can have an impact on it.
Although not the final word or thought on this topic, the last item for this article is the joy and memories that games and sports provide children. The sense of camaraderie, developing new friendships, and striving for the next level. These stay with you long past your memory of the final scores. Working to improve your skills and abilities can be used every day of your life, why not start learning as early as possible?