The Every-Kid-Gets-a-Trophy Mentality

There are a few things you probably wouldn’t want someone to call you behind your back.

I never thought “competitive” was one of them until I played in a scrimmage match of soccer tonight.

It was the last night of soccer practice and the coach thought it would be fun for the parents to play against the kids in a game of soccer. As usual, I was the only girl on the field…well, the only mom in this case.


I raced up and down the field, teased my son, and helped boys up when they took a tumble. And, I definitely did my best to score as many goals as possible.

The boys were speedy, tenacious and giggling the whole time. They loved playing against the parents and probably played the strongest I had ever seen them play.

I left the field all smiles and enjoyed froyo with my family before going home to settle in for the night.

After getting home and starting in our routine, my husband laughed and told me “you were awfully competitive with those boys out there tonight.”

I brushed him off and then he added “all the dads were laughing every time you would sprint down the field with the ball. We were going easy on them; they’re 5.”

I felt humiliated.


I mean, believe me, I was not bowling kids over or determined to win the game. I just thought we were playing a real game with the kids. Why wouldn’t we run as hard as we could after them? Why wouldn’t we carefully try to block the ball or even steal it from them? Are those not the skills they need to learn in soccer to be competitors in the game?


Honestly, the idea of being mocked for being “competitive” initially hurt, but then the words I tell my son before every game came to mind: give it your all today.

In a society where everyone gets a trophy (the boys all get theirs at their final game this Saturday), I wonder why were constantly trying to spare feelings and not push our kiddos. There’s always a balance and the important part is to always keep the game fun, but what happened to teaching them self-discipline? To work harder and focus more after they lose a game?

Maybe I’m “competitive,” but I know my son will always remember me as the only mom on the field who was running right next to him, challenging him and picking him up at the end of the scrimmage to celebrate when his team earned their victory.

And that’s how it should be.


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