IF Everybody Wins, We All Lose!
It’s a beautiful Saturday evening in the middle of the summer and my family is out altogether playing a pleasant round of mini golf. It’s your typical suburban family scene; everyone was laughing and having fun, except for me. My blood was slowly starting to boil with every stroke that I fell farther off of the lead. As we approached the 17th hole, I quickly realized that time was running out to make a move for the win. The 17th was a make or break hole that I HAD to win! At 10 years old, winning this mini golf match was my life.
After a totally clutch first shot that puts me within 5 feet of the hole, my senses heighten as I realize that I have a chance to win. I look around to my other family members to stare them down in attempt to intimidate them but they didn’t seem to be taking this as serious as I was. Hmm?? Advantage me. I approach my ball and line up my shot for a birdie. Deep breath here, I make the shot…
Wide right, and a freak out ensues. I wacked my golf ball as hard as I could off the green and into the pond. Then I threw my club into the pond along with it. My golf game was over. And I knew that a hefty punishment was coming from my parents for these actions but I didn’t care. I came so close to winning only to screw it up at the end and lose. I needed to vent, I’ll deal with the punishment later.
Fast forward to now. I’ve learned how to deal with losing a little better in my old age, but the competitive nature still remains. So do you know what could have actually ruined that competitive nature that defines my personality now, early on in my life? If it didn’t exist! Losing may have hurt back then but it was the best thing for me. And with all of these ‘Everybody Plays, Everybody Wins’ leagues in today’s world, I fear that we are missing out on the advantages of competition. The adult world is NOTHING but competition so why are we teaching our children anything differently?
Would I have played sports as a kid if they didn't award winners and losers?
Let’s imagine; instead of awarding a winners and losers, no one was awarded anything. Essentially, everything is just ‘participated’ in. I know that you have heard of the elementary soccer leagues with the slogan on the back of the jerseys, "Everybody Plays, Everybody Wins". So now let’s extend that theme into our adult lives. Would that be better for our society?
A lot of people think that defining a loser after an activity is detrimental to a child’s development. But is it really? Do any therapists talk about their clients constantly complaining about losing that baseball game by 10 runs back as a youth as their defining problem? I don’t think so.
So would I have even wanted to play that mini golf game if a winner wasn’t awarded at the end? Even if it meant that I was the loser? Based on my reaction at that time you might think that I would have been a fan of the 'everyone's equal' system. But let’s take a closer look and theorize how the world would actually be if this were the case…
What would sports look like?
They wouldn’t even exist. I’m pretty certain that if they weren’t going to award a winner and a loser after the Super bowl that I wouldn’t be interested. Now imagine if all sports ended in a tie every game. Very quickly you can realize that there simply wouldn’t be a reason to watch. And without an audience, sports wouldn’t make the kind of money that they would need to survive. Without an income, bankruptcy would ensue and you can say goodbye to your favorite sports team. No competition = no sports.
What would business and the economy look like?
Socialism. That’s exactly what it would be, and our great capitalistic country wouldn’t even exist. Our technology would be centuries behind where we are now because no one would be competing to create anything new. So eliminate your television, the internet, your smart phone, maybe even your vehicles! None of these things would exist. Competition promotes ingenuity! Without ingenuity our economy wouldn’t be the same.
What would our lives be like?
Well without any sports to watch, no competing television or internet companies, and an equal amount of workload that I continuously owe my community (since we are now living in a socialist society) I can imagine that most of my days would be spent working some type of physical labor job. I would be working to serve my community in a way that would discourage me from ever going above the bare minimum of my requirements. The fear of losing and the satisfaction of winning are some of the most powerful forces that drive us as humans from within. If we take this away, our entire society would be less successful. So trade your smartphones in for a shovel and get to work!
Would it really be better?
The older that I get the more I am led to believe that I never would have even enjoyed sports if I didn’t achieve the satisfaction of winning. I never loved the sports that I played; I loved competing and everything that came along with winning.. And without the joys of success, I wouldn’t have ever grown to hate the demise of losing. Without both of these I wouldn’t have ever became the competitor that I am today, and neither would have society.
So the answer is simply no. Everybody plays, Everybody wins doesn't translate to real life. In business if I don't do my job, we lose as a company and people lose their jobs. It's that simple. So why would we ever teach our children anything differently? It's counterproductive. We are going to shelter our children from the scorn of losing but then expect them to be able to adjust and deal with it when the reality of the real world hits them in the face?! If you don’t think it’s fair to award winners and losers among children, then don’t expect our society to succeed when they grow up. Competition is a good thing, embrace it.