September 06, 2015

Socialism in sports: Scoreless games and trophies for all!

David MenziesMission Specialist

James Harrison, a no-nonsense linebacker with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was in the news recently, not because of any gridiron heroics but due to his parenting skills.

When Harrison picked up his sons from football camp, they excitedly showed him the shiny trophies that had been awarded to them --- for nothing in particular.

Harrison, a man of achievement and a loving father, feels that it's important to prepare his sons for the real world where sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose but you can't learn what it takes to succeed if you're given shiny trophies just for showing up.

He expressed his feelings by posting his thoughts on Facebook where he explained why he would be telling his kids they would have to give the trophies back.

His parenting style received mixed reviews but I think he's absolutely right and identifies the roots of the problem of a sense of entitlement that many carry with them today.

I say good for him for saying "no" to this perverse form of socialism in sports because the more we reward kids with meaningless worthless trinkets, the more we lose the opportunity to truly motivate them.

Those trophies and scoreless games have simply become symbols for the adults who are leading their children into the world completely unprepared for the realities of sports and life itself.


(Photo credit: Instagram/jhharrison92)


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commented 2015-09-13 02:17:10 -0400
How long before there is a rule or law banning bench warming or getting cut from the team?
commented 2015-09-09 09:52:32 -0400
Some great comments on here. Larry, the beginning of your story reminds me of the beginning of an Ayn Rand book, where she finally realizes she’s despised by others, not because she’s lousy, but because she’s BETTER than those around her. It’s this same fault line why Lefty’s despise the “Able-bodied Anglo Saxon White Male”. We won WWI, WWII, 800 yrs prior we beat back the Ottoman Empire, our Imperialism actually stuck, we launched the industrial revolution by mining coal and starting the first ever patent office (and we know how much they DESPISE the “inequality of a capitalist society”!). In other words, we keep winning, and they hate us for it!!! Those of us on the Right, go about our business, where those on the Left, are so obsessed with “managing society”, they live to infiltrate every crevice of power. They want to change the rules ‘cause they hate losing so BADLY. As Bill points out, it all ends in Communism. As Ben Franklin points out, in order to maintain democracy, every once in a while, we’ll have to declare a state of civil war, kill a whole mess of ppl and start over again. Ppl don’t realize that “doing the Benjy” is what Anders Brevic in Norway did, and it worked, as Norway has now stopped all immigration. But, is there a better way? To me, the broader question becomes, how do we stop it, avoid it, circumvent it, prevent it without having to “do the Benjy”. Ironically, did you ever notice that it’s the Lefty’s that seldom play sports, and if they do, they’re the lousy ones? So they want to cut out competition. They want to “level the playing field”. Someone should simply teach them, as Larry points out, how to lose with grace, and, they’re still an important part of the team. So in a way, organized sports becomes the epicentre of the battle between Capitalism and Communism. Now that we’re into full-on “reverse McCarthyism”, we realize that McCarthyism has to be a permanent, on-going policy – for ever n ever!!
commented 2015-09-08 09:31:27 -0400
This started in the 80’s in schools and we are starting to feel the results with some of our thirty somethings. This sort of thing plays havoc with the gene pool.

Competition is the real world, it gets us to excellence. This ‘socialism in sports’, breeds just that, socialism.
commented 2015-09-07 11:48:25 -0400
Larry Marchand You and your dad seem to be wonderful models for this important part of parenting. Your comments should be sent on to Sports Canada.
commented 2015-09-06 20:25:19 -0400
I learned the benefits of earning ribbons on sports day when I was in elementary.
Our school had a rule whereas soon as you got 3 ribbons on sports day you could go home ( sportsday was on the last day of school ).
The competition was fierce because summer vacation was so close and the sooner you got the ribbons the sooner you rid yourself of the dour civil union bums with the sports whistles and didn’t have to goosestep single file to next over regulated “sports event”.
commented 2015-09-06 17:33:09 -0400
This concept is being thrust upon youth sports from Sport Canada, which itself is influenced by the international sport community. There is a programme called Long-Term Player Development or Long-Term Athletic Development (LTPD/LTAD) that all youth sports are to follow. The programme specifies that scores and standings are not to be kept, or at least not to be emphasized, until until a certain age; I believe it is at the age of 12. If a sport group is getting financial support from Sport Canada, they must comply or risk losing all or part of that funding.
commented 2015-09-06 16:03:58 -0400
So I was talking to my daughter last week about a difficult time she had at work, when she was recently snubbed by a few co-workers. She is friendly and outgoing, really generous with her time, a lover of life, very high energy and genuinely likes people. What’s not to like, right? I think the problem is that she outperforms her co-workers. She is new in the position and is setting performance records, I mean really blowing the old records out of the water. She really is exceptionally good at what she does and not only outperforms her local coworkers, but steadily places in the top few nationally. I told her she needs to be patient and the group will get used to the new pecking order – - – I also told her this is why coaches and teachers need to hand out accolades to top performers, and stop handing out meaningless medals to those who don’t do quite so well.
Each of us have our strengths and weaknesses and, while it is important to set the bar to measure top performers and create standards for success, it is equally important to teach young people how to lose graciously. Those young people who snubbed my daughter did not understand there is no shame in their weaker performance, but rather they are an important part of the team. So I wonder if their teachers and coaches missed an opportunity to teach them how to lose with grace and poise, and then to recognize that its OK if they get behind the winner with support and admiration rather than sulking petty jealousy.
My own experience as a youngster was that at one point I was the best player on my hockey team, which felt great. At a point I graduated to a more talented pool and then I didn’t stand out so much – I was pretty good, but not the best. My dad had already taught me that it was OK to admire someone who was highly skilled, even if that meant he was better than I was, so I really admired the captain of the team and saw inspiration in his performance, while supporting him by being as strong a team member as I could.
In my adult life, I know what I’m good at, take pride in my achievements and still admire people who are better in some ways. The thing is, I learned how to lose with grace, in a way that didn’t undermine my self-confidence. Thanks to my dad, coaches and mentors along the way!
commented 2015-09-06 11:55:02 -0400
From Wikipedia:

The Communist Manifesto summarises Marx and Engels’ theories about the nature of society and politics, that in their own words, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”. It also briefly features their ideas for how the capitalist society of the time would eventually be replaced by socialism, and then finally communism.
commented 2015-09-06 11:31:39 -0400
There is no teaching of the standards of the challanges of everyday life in sports conducted in that way! I don’t believe in that system it doesn’t teach anything about principles and the value of work!
commented 2015-09-06 10:57:06 -0400
“Socialism in sports: Scoreless games and trophies for all!”
Kudos on an astute observation/revelation Dave. Your example is a graphic display of the dystopic outcome of errant ideologies which attempt to deconstruct the primal forces of human nature – Government as the great equalizer of all things, the man-made cataclysm against cosmic disorder which produces unequal outcomes. A constant struggle at order where nature has declared randomness. This is the core construct of fallible political ideologies which strive to contain human nature and nature itself. It is probably a mistake to label this “socialism” as it is “authoritarian idealism” which drives the politics of intervention.

The Human condition as in nature, has some that are faster, taller, stronger, smarter, more specialized or adapted to do certain things – this is genetic randomness/natural advantage that drives natural selection. This is abhorrent to the outcome-obsessed social engineer – nature must operate according to their preordained ideological template. Ex officio intervention must take place to prevent natural inequity and competition between men – and all species for that matter. Natural advantages/disadvantages must be eliminated to achieve equity of outcome – this is why it is always utopian interventionists who want to interfere in the natural evolutionary process of species extinction or economic failures.

The underlying mythos of the engineering fraternity must have a utopian model with which to gage engineering effectiveness. This is the ideal -the ideal society, the ideal man, the ideal environment etc. which have been properly engineered to accomplish predictable decreed outcome. When these social engineers of the brave new order of engineered conformity realize all their efforts to command the inequity in nature, society and human physiology are all for naught, they then go to phase 2 of accomplishing the utopian outcome.

Phase 2 outcome idealism is to eliminate competition for the ordained ideal, If there is an “ideal” by logical extension, there is an unwanted or “weed” ideal and inferior unengineered peoples who cling to it. These “weed” peoples and idealisms must be eliminated so the achievement of the utopian ideal can move forward unencumbered.

Then comes phase 3. That will be to directly intervene in evolution and construct the utopian man – create a Gollum of the utopian ideal – the “Ubermenschen”! It was at this stage mankind sacrificed millions of people rebelling from the last Don Quixote attempt at engineering the utopian man and society – we called it WWII and the war against the utopian 3rd Reich. It seems that bad ideas die hard because the same utopian engineering against natural inequity and competition is at work again in the halls of academia and politics.

Decadent western social engineering has not resorted to the absolutist solutions of the 3rd Reich (yet) but we can see the separate progressing stages of utopian engineering being accomplished through legislating, propaganda, cultural conditioning and pressure group intolerance. One of the left’s dangerous genetic flaws if a reflexive compulsion to resurrect failed or bad ideas. Forced equity of outcome is one of them.
commented 2015-09-06 10:31:41 -0400
Sport reflects life. There are winners and losers and ties; victory, defeat, injury, tragedy, it’s all there. A good preparation for the rest of life. If you don’t keep score there is no point, there is no challenge; just go kick the ball and wait for the time to click by. A complete disservice to the children and society.
commented 2015-09-06 08:59:50 -0400
winners and losers are a fact in every game.
why have a competition at all if no winner is declared ?
maybe every NHL team should get a Stanley Cup at the end of the season for their participation ?
commented 2015-09-06 08:21:22 -0400
Good, well-crafted essay by David Menzies. I like Mr. Menzies’s work, and hope he can post more in the future. )—David Murrell, Faculty of Arts, UNB at Fredericton, Fredericton, NB