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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Peer Pressure – Soccer Style

It’s that time of year again when kids across the country gear up for soccer.  It’s an active sport which requires skill and practice to become better.  Although it’s a young person’s game the parents of these emerging athletes do sacrifice a lot of time and money to their child’s sport.  However, there is one practice I wholeheartedly disagree with, the standard practice of rewarding the players with a treat after a game.

It’s not so much the practice of rewarding with at treat, well that is part of it but that’s another story, it’s the peer pressure of the soccer parents in charge that mandate that all parents participate.  Mind you this is not something that is voted on, signed up for, or even discussed.  It’s expected.  Why? Because previous parents started to bring treats for all the players and then at some point decided it would be great to rotate this gesture among all the other parents thereby reducing the time and cost for those involved in the practice.  It all started innocently enough but then escalated into a form of obligation and passive aggressive behavior if you don’t comply. You could even say it has a bully element to it.   Imagine a few women conversing about the subject when one volunteers to bring a treat for the next game.  Another woman jumps in and says she’ll bring one for the game after that.  Now mind you I’m speaking from my own experience.  Perhaps other leagues are different.

As innocent as it all started I see a far deeper effect of this practice.  There is no joy in giving if you feel obligated, manipulated, bullied or pressure into it.  It’s no longer giving.  Instead, resentment builds up inside and now where there once was lover there is anger.

A better practice would be to allow those to bring a treat as the mood to give strikes them.  Sure you may have a double dose of treats or none at all at times but the people doing the giving would feel more love since it was given from their heart instead of out of obligation.

As for the children, giving them a treat every time they play a game, win or lose, only teaches them to be entitled. Is that what we really want to be teaching our children?

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