Sportsmanship, what’s that?
If you follow any of my social media pages for this blog, then you’ll know I’m running the Paris Marathon in a few weeks’ time in loving memory of my friends daughter. I’m running to raise money for the Sepsis Trust UK and awareness about this hideous infection that kills so many people in the UK each year. You may also have realised I am not a natural runner – far from it.
I generally go out training once the children are in bed. But on a number of occasions I’m kissing them good night in my running kit and heading out the door. I find it sweet I’m met with ‘are you going chasing Mummy?’ from Miss Penny, she calls running ‘chasing’ because in her world she generally is chasing – her brother! But last week I had a conversation with the boy that wasn’t quite so sweet:
“Are you going to win the race Mummy?”
“Probably not love, it’s the Paris Marathon there are 57,000 people doing it”
“Why are you doing it then?” and before I had a chance to answer this: “You’re not going to lose are you???” (said with a worried face)
Somewhere along the line it seems we’ve dropped the parenting ball and forgotten to teach that age old saying “It’s not the winning that counts, it’s the taking part”. That, or our boy has spent too much time around his competitive Granny who’s twist on this saying during my childhood was “It’s not the winning that counts, but if you aren’t going to win why take part?”. It’s no secret to those that know her, my Mum is fiercely competitive – maybe it’s being a twin? – and maybe if I had more sporting ability I would be this competitive. In fact, I think I am this competitive and that’s why I don’t do sport. I’m crap and will lose, and I don’t like to lose, so therefore I don’t do it – the childhood advice stuck!
Regardless of how great winning is, this little chat has highlighted we need to work on nurturing a more rounded individual who supports peoples efforts as well as their achievements, winning isn’t everything – right?
As much as I’d love to blame my Mum and her competitive streak, I think we may have caused this problem. Since the arrival of his baby sister two years ago we’ve used competition as a tool to get him to do just about anything! It is most effective when he doesn’t want to do something, for example:
Me: “Ok bath time love”
Him: shouting/whaling “no, no, no I’m not having a bath, I hate the bath, I’m staying here”
Me: “Who’s going to get upstairs first?”‘
Him: rushing to the stairs “me, me, me, I’m going to be the winner”
Me: “Who’s going to be the first in the bath?”
Him: grappling with his t-shit “me, I’m getting in first”
Bob’s your Uncle, Fanny’s your Aunt, mission accomplished. Meanwhile his sister is blissfully unaware as yet what being the winner means and simply copies what he says. So it happy as a clam with second place, whilst chanting ‘I’m the winner too’. We’re in for a world of pain when she realises what being the winner means, and whats to be the winner too! So we’ve created this unsporting being for our own gain. He loves coming first – who doesn’t, some of us just never manage it – so how do we come back from here? How do we make him see it’s not all about being first?
I guess we start with him watching me come 56,678th in the Paris Marathon next weekend and being as excited as a winner!?
If you do fancy sponsoring me here is the link to my Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Emma-Burbidge-Lilly-Hopkins?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=fundraisingpage&utm_content=Emma-Burbidge-Lilly-Hopkins&utm_campaign=pfp-share
Any donation large or small will be so gratefully received and go to funding much needed resources for the Sepsis Trust UK. Thank you xxx