There is so much competition in sports these days and the pressure to excel is so immense that coaches and players sometimes resort to desperate measures to win. These desperate measures are often guised as gamesmanship or game acumen but really these are just shortcuts to success.
There is a very fine line between cheating and clever game skills. But how do you know one from the other? Most people simply put ‘rules’ as the benchmark. So if a game rule is broken it’s cheating and is a game rule is not broken, it’s just smart game skills. But if we look at the problem a little more closely, it’s really not just about the game rules; it’s about sports virtues. And in the pressure to win when we let our kids take advantage of the game and cheat or bend the rules to suit themselves, aren’t we giving the wrong life lessons to our children?
Isn’t ‘sports’ all about winning?
The purpose of a game is to win. But the purpose of sports is not just winning. We encourage our children to participate in sports because of the attached benefits in terms of a bright future, college admission assurance etc. and also for the life skills that come along with sports. Children learn sportsman spirit, winning attitude, art of losing gracefully and so much more through sports. Playing sports builds character and teaches core values that are important in sports and beyond. You wouldn’t teach your child to cheat in life or take advantage of a person’s weaknesses to succeed.
So yes winning is important, but what’s more important is that the lessons your children learn in sports will stay with them for life. Those lessons will become the character of your child. So your child must know that winning by fair means is important.
Seamless communication, cooperation, bonding beyond the game, attitude beyond the field, motivated coach and parents and not just the players, these are a few things that go a long way to ensure the team wins, not just matches but seasons.
- Forging your child’s age for getting an edge over smaller children is not fair.
- Taking performance-enhancing drugs is not fair.
- Manipulating your opponents is not fair.
- Bending the rules or taking advantage of the rules to gain success is not fair.
- Injuring an opponent is not fair.
- Unethical behavior in life is unethical behavior in sports also.
But at the same time there are certain techniques that coaches would ideally pass on to their teams that can be termed as the crux of their experience, the game techniques that make a team win. How ethical these techniques are or not, is a call parents and coaches would need to take together. The question is how much are you willing to compromise for your child’s victory in a game? Parents would have to take their own call. After all your child’s future is at stake.