Here’s a rather sad story out of the Philadelphia suburb of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. It’s youth football season, and the Conshohocken Golden Bears were on a roll last Saturday. In their Keystone State youth football league game they were up 30-0 over their opponents and once again had the ball and were driving toward the endzone. An excited five-year-old player took the handoff and broke for the endzone. And that’s when everything went wrong. The team was penalized and is now facing a stiff fine from the league. The reason? They scored too many points. (CBS Philadelphia)
A youth football team dominated its competition over the weekend. So what could be wrong with that? Apparently, their win was too big and now they may end up having to pay a fine.
“Don’t play well. Just play OK.”
That’s the message that some parents feel is being expressed to their young football players…
“There’s a 31-point rule that every organization, every team has to abide by. We violated that rule,” said Mike Mikalonis, president of the Conshohocken Bears.
In the local CBS news clip below, you can see the coash racing along the sideline trying to convince the kid to not go into the endzone. But the young boy is far too excited to slow down.
This is just sad. Nobody likes to lose, and certainly not in a blowout, but what sort of lesson are we sending kids who choose to participate in competitive sports with a rule like this? Don’t do too well or you might hurt someone’s feelings? There are no blowout rules in college and professional sports. You play to win. Sometimes a coach will pull the first string if they’re way up just to avoid injuries and give some of the rookies some experience in real action, but it’s not a requirement.
That seemed to be the message a former member of the Philadelphia Eagles was sending on Twitter.
@YouthKeystone is trippin!
1. Kids need to learn how to deal with failure. Don’t want to get smashed? Play better.
2. Life doesn’t let up. When it rains it pours.
3. The other kids can’t give their all because there is a rule. “Work hard but not too hard” that’s stupid.
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) October 12, 2019
This mentality of “everybody gets a trophy” doesn’t do children any favors. They’re getting an education in school but they’re also being prepared for the real world when they graduate. And the fact is that everyone doesn’t always get a trophy. If you lose, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try harder next time. (My disastrous efforts in junior varsity football hammered that lesson home on a regular basis.)
Come on, guys. Let the kids play. And if somebody takes a bad loss, use that as an opportunity to educate them and prepare them for the realities of life.