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Children Need to Play, Not Compete - Essay Example

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In her essay “Children Need to Play, Not Compete,” Jessica Statsky presents her views about organized games and the impacts they have on children in the age group of six to twelve. The author contends that these types of competitive sport activities have negative physical and psychological effects on children…
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Children Need to Play, Not Compete
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"Children Need to Play, Not Compete"

Contrary to most parents' notion that it is never too early for engaging their children in various competitive activities, the author believes that such activities should wait until the children become teenagers. Various media show how professional athletes live their lives and how much stress they go through everyday, and I agree with the author that young children most definitely do not need to experience all that so early on. Statsky states that competitive games do not give fair chance to all children and it is a fact that can be backed by different children across the globe. In such cases, the children who get selected in the games are victims of such activities and more than them it is those children who are not selected that suffer more in the process. This is so because the latter has to suffer humiliation on not making it to the team and be embarrassed when peers poke fun at his or her failure. I have had a similar experience in my childhood, when I did not make it to the swimming team. I have always loved to play in water and I used to swim okay, yet I was not selected in the school team. I thought I would make it next time, but the chance never came because unless someone quit the team, no one else could replace them. Since I was never given the chance to participate again, I lost my interest in swimming and the worst part was how this affected my self esteem. I lost confidence as my classmates made fun of me and being children they could not understand my feelings either. These types of experiences are quite common and unless the parents and teachers cooperate, a healthy sports environment cannot be created for the children to...
Moreover, the writer states that another reason why organized games are a negative influence on children is because zealous parents and coaches give more importance to winning and neglect the needs of the children. The author evidences that Little League Baseball and Peewee Football are games that promote competitiveness in the early stages of children's lives, thus prompting them to embrace a traumatic lifestyle. She cites various examples that show children being forced to participate in physical activities that they are scared of. She supports her arguments with research and survey that focus on what children involved in such sports actually want and this shows that they are more interested in enjoying the games rather than winning any. Lastly, she provides a solution to this problem, which is, changing the game rules a little so that they protect the interest of all children and further states that games that do not keep scores will be more beneficial for young players. Response: Jessica Statsky, in “Children Need to Play, Not Compete,” argues strongly against organized games that promote competitiveness among young children. Jessica Statsky, in “Children Need to Play, Not Compete,” argues strongly against organized games that promote competitiveness among young children. I agree with the position that the author holds on the impact of such sport activities, as these indeed contribute to "physical hazards and anxieties" among children (Statsky). For example, in dangerous games like tackle football, the children are susceptible to getting injuries that may hamper their physical growth, and furthermore, the fear of being injured will causes psychological distress in them. The author further tries to remind the readers that the real point behind organized games is for the children to enjoy themselves and be physically fit.
Contrary to most parents' notion that it is never too early for engaging their children in various competitive activities, the author believes that such activities should wait until the children become teenagers. Various media show how professional athletes live their lives and how much stress they go through everyday, and I agree with the author that young children most definitely do not need to experience all that so early on. Statsky states that competitive games do not give fair chance to all children and it is a fact that can be backed by different children across the globe. In such cases, the children who get selected in the games are victims of such activities and more than them it is those children who are not selected that suffer more in the process. This is so because the latter has to suffer humiliation on not making it to the team and be embarrassed when peers poke fun at his or her failure.
I have had a similar experience in my childhood, when I did not make it to the swimming team. I have always loved to play in water and I used to swim okay, yet I was not selected in the school team. I thought I would make it next time, but the chance never came because unless someone quit the team, no one else could replace them. Since I was never given the chance to participate again, I lost my interest in swimming and the worst part was how this affected my self esteem. I lost confidence as my classmates made fun of me and being children they could not understand my feelings either. These types of experiences are quite common and unless the parents and teachers cooperate, a healthy sports environment cannot be created for the children to grow in.
The author gives examples where competitiveness gets the better of adults and this happens because some parents as well as coaches want so badly that their players win no matter what. This maybe as a result of what happened when these adults were children themselves and they might have either been the best players or the worst. Some parents are competitive as they have always been winners, others are so because they could not win when they had the opportunity, and now they want to make up for that loss by placing their ward in every possible competition. This is wrong as they are not focusing on the interest of their children, which is the most important thing, because after all it is the children who are out in the field playing.
While the author has provided irrefutable arguments against allowing children to compete in organized games, which "impose adult standards" on them, she has not been able to come up with a lot of alternatives to the issue at hand (Statsky). I completely agree with her viewpoint that adults should focus on teaching children how to cooperate as well as focus on their performance as an individual. She evidences that various programs have been created, which give importance to the growth and interests of the children and she also asserts that not using scoreboards will benefit all the children. However, it is not possible to make changes unless the parents and coaches as well as teachers cooperate. Therefore, the present day adults need to focus on competitiveness in their own sphere instead of their children's, as such competitiveness brings nothing but negative impact on both the physical and mental upbringing of the child. Read More
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Children Need to Play, Not Compete by Jessica Statsky
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