Win or participate?
As a Christian school we often debate about what is the Christian view on sport. Is it cowardly to try to be inclusive and let all play, winning being a possible side line?
As a coach, is it okay to try to win?
What about the kids?
What about those who compete to win and are held back by those less dedicated or skilled? Is it fair to them to learn to lose, so that others will learn to compete, to be team members, to have fun?
If the Christian school teaches our students to lose, who will teach them to win? There are lots who will be willing to take on people who just want to win. Politics, terrorists, Al Davis...
How do you win with class? We can all paint on a smile, clap appropriately, say nice things, like, "Good effort", or "Nice try," but who teaches us to win with class, if all we ever do is lose?
Is it about competing, then? Just compete and see what happens? We obviously can't do anything about another team better prepared or better skilled. Do we just do our best then? Is it okay to add strategy that only leads to winning then(Intentional walks, traps, delay of game tactics, taking a knee)? If it is just about competing, then some of these things would have to be eliminated. Is there any point in talking strategy, making plays, practicing our own skills, if its just about participation?
Should winning be a goal? If we don't try to win, are we cheating our students out of the joy of seeing hard work pay off with favourable results? How do we demonstrate to our students that its okay to want to win, that its okay to feel bad when we don't, that sometimes we fail because others fail, that sometimes we succeed through no skill of our own? Sports. There are so many lessons.
As a coach, sometimes I feel pressure to win. Our school tries to focus on fewer sports in order to see better results (read that as win) in those areas. We even won two tournaments this year. A first since I've been at this school. That puts pressure on me to have them succeed. Often I feel like my lack of experience or know-how may lead to less favourable results than I would like. Should I feel that pressure? Should I be getting myself better skilled, paying big bucks and getting certified so that we can be even more successful?
I wonder if Christians have lost their desire to succeed. Are we content with being beaten? With coming last, but being nice about it? We start our own leagues and labels and movie companies, etc, but why? So we don't have to compete with bigger dollars, more creative, less scrupulous people? How do I teach my students to rise above if I don't want to myself??