Recently Angus had a basketball game that didn't go so well. Da Man is coaching her and it is her first season with players who had never played before either. So it is a newbie third grade team. They played a team that had been playing since kindergarten. It was a massacre. The final score must have been 45 to 12 or something painful like that. During halftime, the scorekeepers in an act of mercy wiped the scorecard clean and kept tally privately instead. It was in the second half that Angus and her teammates got a little bit livelier and scored 12 points. The scorekeepers put the 12 up but kept the other teams score at 0, which surprised me and ended up confusing our players.
The coach for the other team, a really lovely and gracious coach, kept calling out to her players to let our team take shots. Plus overall, I thought her players showed excellent good sportsmanship. I applaud coaches like her, and Da Man, - they are few and far between.
But the reason for the story is afterward, Angus came over and said "Did you see Mom? We got 12 and the other team didn't get any points in that second half!"
I corrected her and told her that the other team had actually scored also, but the scorekeepers hadn't added it to the scoreboard. Angus was disappointed.
Another mother overheard me and admonished me. "You shouldn't have told her that. Let her believe that they did well."
I was a bit surprised. "But they did do well. And I'm not going to lie to her."
"You're a bit too harsh," the other mother said. "I would have just let her believe it so she still feels good about it. Now you've made her depressed."
I made a non-committal response and left but I thought about this for a long time. Did I do wrong? Should I have let Angus continue to believe that they had dominated the other team and kept them to 0 points when in fact the other team had outscored them again in both halves?
My gut screams no. First because it is dishonest. But secondly, because I believe this is a form of coddling that I just can't agree to. It's like giving awards to every team that plays, even if they didn't win. Personally, I think it is bull, but I can live with it. I'm of the old fashioned viewpoint that if you win, you get an award, and if you lose you get a hug and you go out to buy ice cream as a consolation prize. I applaud effort and I believe it is important to encourage effort, but don't reward it because then I feel you are just pushing for mediocrity. A sense of "well I tried and that's good enough." Yes and No. Try, and keep trying, and maybe one day you will succeed. And when you succeed, you'll be rewarded. That's life. To teach our kids any differently is to set them up for enumerable heartache.
But maybe I'm wrong. I'd love to hear other people's opinion.