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Itís How You Play the Game: The Fate of Western Civilization and Grade-School Soccer
PajamsMedia ^ | 11/7/2010 | Barry Rubin

Posted on 11/07/2010 5:48:53 AM PST by HangnJudge

It‘s something of a stretch to compare a soccer game among eleven-year-old boys with the fate of the democratic world, but I’ve always managed to see big issues in small things.

My son is playing on a local soccer team which has lost every one of its games, often by humiliating scores. The coach is a nice guy, but seems an archetype of contemporary thinking: he tells the kids not to care about whether they win, puts players at any positions they want, and doesn’t listen to their suggestions.

He never criticizes a player or suggests how a player could do better. My son, bless him, once remarked to me: “How are you going to play better if nobody tells you what you’re doing wrong?” The coach just tells them how well they are playing. Even after an 8-0 defeat, he told them they’d played a great game.

And of course, the league gives trophies to everyone, whether their team finishes in first or last place.

I’d even seen an American television documentary about boys and sports which justified this approach, explaining that coaches were doing something terrible by deriding failure, urging competitiveness, and demanding victory. So were the kids really happier to be “relieved” of the strain of trying to win, “liberated” from feeling bad at the inequality of athletic talent?


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: competition; soccer
Soccer match as a Microcosm of Life


1 posted on 11/07/2010 5:48:58 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: HangnJudge

I coached Youth Soccer for 5 years, so I say this with a little experience. There is something fundamentally wrong with a sport that routinely ends up in a tie. As a coach, soccer parents are by far the most liberal types I’ve dealt with as a group. That includes football, wrestling, baseball, softball, and volleyball parents.

Look at a community’s youth athletics programs, and you will be able to tell the ideological makeup of the community by what sports are at the top of the list in participation and support.

Just my 2 cents.


2 posted on 11/07/2010 6:04:18 AM PST by Turbo Pig (...to close with and destroy the enemy...)
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To: Turbo Pig
I've both played and coached soccer at multiple levels

I was once on a team that was 0-12
Lost one game by 19-0
Scores 2 goals the entire year

From that I learned not so much fair play, as Perseverance

But winning was a lot more fun and engaging

3 posted on 11/07/2010 6:14:02 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: HangnJudge

I always loved watching my daughter play soccer. She’s typically been coached by people who don’t always have a lot of experience with the game beyond basic rules (and this includes me—I served for a year as volunteer coach). Still, every coach she ever had seemed to try their best to help these kids improve, have fun, and maybe pursue the sport further as they got older.

In my daughter’s case, over the 7 years she played, she was sometimes on teams that won nearly all their games, and on teams that nearly lost them all. As a coach in a situation like the latter, you need to be constantly encouraging in order to keep the kids interested and motivated. Everyone, in my experience, understood that winning was the goal—but it wasn’t “everything.”


4 posted on 11/07/2010 6:16:45 AM PST by sand lake bar
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To: HangnJudge
Good Post.

My voting station is a local elementary school and, while standing in an unusually long midterm election line, I had the opportunity to read the stuff on their walls. There were a multitude of signs, each with a highlighted inspirational word and a definition to go along.

One sign said “With the proper ATTITUDE, anyone can win.” It's adjacent neighbor said “Anyone can WIN if the rules apply equally.” These seemed somewhat contradictory. When rules are equal, winners win and losers lose. Only when rules are unequally applied can everyone win. And then, what's the point?

I also saw that “LOYALTY means keeping ones commitments.” I always considered that to be more to do with integrity.

I refrained from comment at the time, but it is rather a sad thing that our schools are so badly run.

5 posted on 11/07/2010 6:17:50 AM PST by wgflyer (Liberalism is to society what HIV is to the immune system.)
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To: HangnJudge

I’ve maintained since the last Israel/Lebanon/Gaza dust-up (and seen demonstrated in Iraq, and Afghanistan) that the ‘Civilized’ Western Nations want to conduct warfare by T-Ball rules - “no winner, no loser, and nobody gets hurt”....

Unfortunately, our adversaries have never even *heard* of T-Ball....


6 posted on 11/07/2010 6:21:43 AM PST by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
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To: HangnJudge

I live on Long Island where you either have 8 year olds playing for “nurturing” teams or you have them on leagues where the parents are like animals taking the athletic maneuvers of their children way too seriously. I agree that it gets kind of ridiculous to have teams that want to win, but do not give them the tools to do so. However, neither do these teams have try outs, which enables just about any kid to join. If you have that kind of dynamic , then how can a coach refer to a standard? My sons were involved in soccer, little league and football. They were very good athletes and were frustrated at times with the boys who were not. This was certainly true when they were elementary school age and the majority of boys are pampered. I always felt this was so because parents today like many parents of all generations, tend to live vicariously through their children. Surely this was the case at the schools my children attended. These were predominantly high achieving public schools in a certain Long Island Jewish neighborhood. These kids were on every team and were cheered on encouragingly by fathers who in their youth most likely were not even asked to haul water for the athletic Irish kids on the team. So now that they hold the cards in their districts, their children are not going to go through the same disappointment as they did. For these kids all this coddling is ultimately meaningless, sportswise, because once they enter the 9th grade the team sports are over. The risk of injury is too great, I was told, to threaten future surgeons.If they play a sport at all, it is tennis. I know it sounds silly, and maybe it is because I am a mother and not a father, but I thought it was kind to have all kinds of kids on the team when they were little. When my sons were in high school, their team was not coddled, and I recall the coach doing a lot of yelling. I don’t know. They say the British Empire was created by the public (private) school boys who were cricket players in their youth. They took it very seriously.


7 posted on 11/07/2010 6:22:33 AM PST by sueuprising
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To: wgflyer

—With the proper ATTITUDE, anyone can win.
Stand up, make a difference, engage

—Anyone can WIN if the rules apply equally.
Anyone can Win at something, if you apply those gifts within you

—LOYALTY means keeping ones commitments.
If this one requires defining, they are already in trouble...


8 posted on 11/07/2010 6:29:04 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: sueuprising

My Mother played women’s field hockey in the late 30’s
I understand she was quite aggressive at this

I can not remember, ever, being encouraged
not to do the absolute best you could to win
within the context of “The Rules”


9 posted on 11/07/2010 6:34:57 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: HangnJudge

If you don’t like soccer, just come out and say so...why post a useless article that could apply to any sport nowadays.

All 3 of my kids play soccer, and the athleticism and stamina they’ve achieved through this sport is fantastic. Whether they play baseball or football, they can run circles around non-soccer playing kids.


10 posted on 11/07/2010 6:43:25 AM PST by parmamenian
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To: Turbo Pig
There is something fundamentally wrong with a sport that routinely ends up in a tie.

Funny, I think exactly the opposite. It's too easy to ruin a sport by introducing all sorts of absurd machinations in order to avoid a tie outcome.

It really hasn't been that long since tie outcomes were an intergral part of the process, across most sports.

11 posted on 11/07/2010 6:46:13 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: parmamenian
I grew up on Soccer as our families primary sport...
And have always loved playing it, while my body still permitted
Given a choice, I'd much rather kick around the ball than throw it

The article points out the foibles of Coaching
not to compete as best one can
The principles apply to all sports, and life in general

12 posted on 11/07/2010 6:53:32 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: HangnJudge

I am 60+ and still play “football” on Sundays. I can assure you that my team has few liberals on it, though assessing someone’s political philosophy based upon a sport is absurd.

I coached both my boys. My expectations were you have fun, you try your hardest, you persevere, you show good sportsmanship and teamwork, you think and you learn. Coaches who do not add value by selecting the right positions for their players and suggesting ways individuals can improve, will quickly find that the fun goes out of the game, people stop trying, teamwork disappears and nobody learns about life or the game.

On the other hand, the notion of organizing team sports for 8 and 9 year olds strikes me as exceedingly odd. They can and do manage quite nicely on their own.


13 posted on 11/07/2010 7:01:14 AM PST by bjc (Check the data!!)
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To: 1rudeboy

I didn’t read the article as soccer per se as the only sport ending in a tie, but referring to the current culture within youth sports that all games are a tie.

I’ve also coach numerous sports for my elementary aged children and can attest that the organizations do not allow formal scorekeeping until a certain age or certain level and thus all games end in a tie. However, the kids definitely keep score and definitely know who won. The difficulty as a coach is to try and keep a straight face when the kids tell you the exact score so as not to look like the aggressive coach in the league:)


14 posted on 11/07/2010 7:01:21 AM PST by ebersole
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To: HangnJudge

15 posted on 11/07/2010 7:03:36 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: HangnJudge

With this kind of indoctrination a kid could very well grow up to be a democrat senator or even president. At the very least they can become teachers or college profs.


16 posted on 11/07/2010 7:31:25 AM PST by Iron Munro (Buy Ammo, Food and TP - You cannot consume what no one has produced.)
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To: Uncle Ike

Soccer was invented by the British to pacify the natives. They didn’t want the third world playing violent team sports because it would teach them useful battlefield skills. Soccer teaches how to throw down arms and run for their life.


17 posted on 11/07/2010 8:37:04 AM PST by Reeses
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To: parmamenian

Agree.

This article is made up BS. These kinds of teams are fine when the kid is five, six or even seven years old but if a club of a coach tries to take this past age ten, everyone quits.


18 posted on 11/07/2010 8:57:15 AM PST by MontaniSemperLiberi (Moutaineers are Always Free)
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To: Reeses
Soccer was invented by the British to pacify the natives.

Soccer teaches
Tactics, Strategy, Logistics
Training and Endurance
Fortitude, Initiative, Team Building

Sounds like great training for a future army

Back to my coffee

19 posted on 11/07/2010 8:59:24 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: Reeses

That’s funny.

Seriously though, there are those who say that the German three person passing game is a holdover from Rommel’s tank tactics.


20 posted on 11/07/2010 9:02:06 AM PST by MontaniSemperLiberi (Moutaineers are Always Free)
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To: parmamenian; MontaniSemperLiberi; Reeses
The Comment Logs on the Article were also worth perusing...

BTW - MontaniSemperLiberi
our family is 8 generations West Virginia
Pre and Post Civil War / War Between the States

Currently in Tennesse
The Volunteer State

21 posted on 11/07/2010 9:17:11 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: HangnJudge

Played soccer under the same rec league requirements. Not sure why a team cannot be competitive when taking everybody. Yes, you need a coach that can evaluate talent and assign people to the correct positions, but that’s part of the job of the coach.

In three years we lost 4 times, once in the championships, and won twice in a row.


22 posted on 11/07/2010 10:04:57 AM PST by BenKenobi
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To: 1rudeboy
It's too easy to ruin a sport by introducing all sorts of absurd machinations in order to avoid a tie outcome.

I am not going to argue with you there. The current NFL rules are a good example, IMO. Notice that I said "routinely", though. A tie outcome, in and of itself, is not a bad thing.

23 posted on 11/07/2010 12:28:10 PM PST by Turbo Pig (...to close with and destroy the enemy...)
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To: HangnJudge
So many conservatives praising the benefits of the official sport of our future one world government.

That says it all.

24 posted on 11/09/2010 7:05:48 PM PST by who_would_fardels_bear (These fragments I have shored against my ruins)
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