Sunday, June 06, 2010

Advances in Sportsmanship and Self-Esteem?

From Canada's NATIONAL POST:
In yet another nod to the protection of fledgling self-esteem, a Canadian children’s soccer league in Ottawa has introduced a rule that says any team that wins a game by more than five points will lose by default. The league has 3,000 children enrolled ranging in age from four to 18 years old.

One father, Bruce Cappon, called the rule ludicrous: “I couldn’t find anywhere in the world, even in a communist country, where that rule is enforced.  Everybody wants a close game, nobody wants blowouts, but we don’t want to go by those farcical rules that they come up with. Heaven forbid when these kids get into the real world. They won’t be prepared to deal with the competition out there.”
HT: J-Walk Blog


At 6/06/2010 7:57 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Oh whatever you do, don't be successful, that is just unfair to the unsuccessful folk.

This is nuts. What's next, we make marathon runners wear lead weights if they beat competition by too wide a margin? I know the soccer players are kids, but this is wrong. Have a mercy rule, it gets the point across that the losing team stinks without letting things get out of hand.

At 6/06/2010 9:01 AM, Anonymous Kevin said...

Sorry but I disagree with you on this one (but agree with you 98% of the time otherwise).

Such a rule prevents a-hole coaches from piling on and running up the score and encourages playing kids in new positions and not humiliating an open.

Our league in NY area has similar rule - should not win by more than six goals and it works well.

At 6/06/2010 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, right. Have a championship season by being mediocre rather than from hard work, good coaching, excelling.

In a nutshell, says all you need to know about what's wrong with socialism.

At 6/06/2010 9:56 AM, Anonymous morganovich said...


there's a fantastic short story by vonnegut called harrison bergeron that was intended as farce about mandating equality, but is looking less and less far fetched by the day.

only a few pages long. ought to be required reading.

At 6/06/2010 10:18 AM, Anonymous morganovich said...


i can see ending a game if the goal differential gets too high (like a TKO in boxing or a technical pin in wrestling), but if a team loses for scoring another goal, that's just perverse.

what are you supposed to do if your kids are up by 4? tell them that they are not under any circumstances to kick the ball at the opposing goal? what are they supposed to do out on the field? run around and play keep away from the other team? all sit down and let the other team score so they can play again?

At 6/06/2010 10:19 AM, Anonymous Lyle said...

Some sports for kids declare the game over if the score margin exceeds a set level. This works better. Essentially it says that if you are behind say 5 goals in soccer for example you are unlikely to win and continuing the game is fruitless. This makes more sense and is a merciful way to accomplish the same purpose.

At 6/06/2010 11:01 AM, Blogger Paul Banbury said...

So THAT Canadian mentality explains why RIM's Blackberry Products are always late to market and reflect decade old tech!

At 6/06/2010 11:15 AM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

There is a simple way to dampen blow-out games: The team that is behind gets to add another player until the score difference is lessened (varies). This is done by several leagues in the Puget Sound area.

BTW, how about joining or starting a competing league where the rules are different?

At 6/06/2010 12:06 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6/06/2010 12:28 PM, Anonymous US said...

Here's what I'm thinking ('department of unintended consequenses'):

My team starts with the ball. The first guy touching the ball kicks it back down to his own goalkeeper. If the ball doesn't go in by itself the goalkeeper makes sure it gets the rest of the way. My team is down 1 point. Repeat 4 times. You've won the game. The other team never even touched the ball.

The rule is insane.

At 6/06/2010 12:36 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich, thanks for the link. I remember reading this many years ago, and finding it hysterically funny. Now, I'm no longer laughing. It's too close to reality. Let's "level the playing field".

The idea of losing if you are too successful is a terrible idea, and sends kids a wrong headed message. If you don't want them to try hard and do their very best, they shouldn't be allowed to play in competitive sports.

Kevin said:

"Such a rule prevents a-hole coaches from piling on and running up the score..."

There is no glory in winning by a blowout. Kids learn little from winning easily. Perhaps ending the game after a certain differential, as others here have recommended, would be better.

"...and encourages playing kids in new positions and not humiliating an open."

This is what practice is for. During a game, a coach can choose to play kids in new positions anytime they feel the team is comfortably ahead, without a bizarre rule. In fact, I would consider this the mark of a good coach.

Perhaps, after their delicate little psyches have healed a bit, the kids on a losing team will think to themselves:

"Hmmmm! Maybe THIS is why coach makes us practice so hard, and do our best, so this terrible thing doesn't happen."

"Our league in NY area has similar rule - should not win by more than six goals and it works well."

Other than keeping scores at all times within six goals of each other, what positive result does it have? If you,re that concerned about equality of outcome, why not just play without keeping score?

At 6/06/2010 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Standard mercy rules simply end the game immediately if the score gets too lopsided. Ottawa's current mercy rule is stupid: the game continues but goals stop being counted.

This new rule is a seriously bad idea. It is much more humiliating to have the opposing team play keepaway so they don't score more goals than it is to lose 10-0.

At 6/06/2010 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the best games are the ones where one team is down, say, 10-0 and the other team comes back to win. Something to consider. Everyone loves the underdog. But if the underdog isn't allowed the opportunity to comeback, that's pretty sad in itself.

At 6/06/2010 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they should trade in their shorts for skirts. I'm sure that if we continue down this path we'll get their eventually.

At 6/06/2010 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are the kids going to feel better winning a default? Do they become so deluded that they forget they were beaten on the field of play and won by a regulation?

I lost a lot of games over the years in the sports I played. Some were probably mini blow outs, yet I can't remember the losses. Losing in sports as a kid is only a big deal to the paternalistic elitists who think they know best how life should be.

How did fake self esteem ever get to be such a popular idea?

At 6/07/2010 7:29 AM, Anonymous geoih said...

More unintended consequences: A team that gets too far ahead just stands on the sidelines as the other team scores against a team that isn't even playing.

That should make them feel better about themselves.

At 6/07/2010 8:34 AM, Blogger Mehul Goyal said...

I can almost see these kids become the managers of tomorrow, "Congratulations! You're the employee of the month. Here's your termination notice."

Isn't it time Atlas Shrugged?


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