No you’re not and neither are your kids. The days of “everyone gets a ribbon” have got to end.
I loved Little League but my team was terrible. I was “drafted” by a team that had won the championship three years in a row. It was a dynasty. But all great dynasties come to an end; none quicker than the “Cameron Harris” three-time champs. In fact, in my years as an aloof right fielder, we ended up last in our division every season. But I’m ok and your loser children will be too.
My favorite parts of little league were the camaraderie, the competition, all that crap and bubble gum and snow cones. What other sport allows you to eat wads of sugary gum while you play it? After a loss, a snow cone, hot dog or whatever quickly quelled the sting of defeat because I was a kid. I don’t remember one game but I remember the sugar.
Basketball was no different. YMCA basketball teams were supposed to be chosen at random. If this was true, one guy (who incidentally is the current father-in-law of a very famous pro golfer) won the lottery every year. I, on the other hand, usually landed on the team with the one girl in the league and the handicapped kid, both of whom started over me. I was a pretty good fouler and rebounder so I did that. I played basketball anyway because it was fun. We didn’t win very often but I’m ok and your sorry children will be too.
The people I feel bad for are my parents because they had to watch that garbage. But I can’t imagine how torturous it would have been if the leagues didn’t keep score. If every year I got a ribbon for being terrible, how on earth could they have explained to me why I didn’t make the high school team? If I never lost, I would have been their most delusional asset.
Kim Jong-Un has never lost. He loves basketball like I do, but he is so good at it he never lost and scored in the triple-digits every game. His father was incredible at sports too. The first round of golf he ever played he scored 9 holes-in-ones. Wow! Too bad he was busy being the dictator of the most oppressive country in the world or he could have given the PGA Tour hell. The point is that this jerk-Un believes he is the best at everything he does because that is how he was raised. And this “everyone gets a ribbon” junk is modeled after the North Korean best seller “How to Raise a Dictator.”
Judge Smails really wasn’t too far off when he told Danny, “The world needs ditch diggers too.” That is certainly harsh but true. I have a phony-baloney college degree, but I can’t change a car tire. I think good mechanics or engineers are brilliant. I like science too. Astronomy, chemistry and biology fascinate me, but the reason I didn’t pursue a career in those fields is because my brain isn’t suited for it. You can’t bullshit your way through a math problem, I found that out, but I am afraid that today’s children won’t and it worries me.
The biggest lie parents tell their children is that they can do or be anything. I wanted to be a drummer like Ringo or play bass like Paul. Santa brought me a drum set and the dream began. The only problem was, I couldn’t play the drums. I recently moved back to Charleston after living is Las Vegas. People ask why and I tell them I went to be a bass player. I bought the guitar, got fat, then realized I had no talent.
Parents need to modify their advice: you can be what ever you put your mind to being, but if you stink at it try something else. I’m not saying that my parents shouldn’t have encouraged me to play basketball or the drums, I’m saying exactly the opposite. But they allowed me to discover my limitations on my own, by failing, and I’m much better off because of it.