We May Not Be Keeping Score, But We’re All Losing

Scoreless soccer games better for kids, Hamilton association says
Ontario Soccer Association asks all teams to stop keeping score as of 2014

It doesn’t matter how many times I hear a story like this one, it always bothers me.

I took part in a lot of sports when I was a kid. I swam, I wrestled, I ran, I played a bit of soccer, some floor hockey, goalball…I might be forgetting something, but you get the idea. And if I’m being honest, I was average or below average at all of them. But even though I wasn’t the best, I kept trying unless it was a sport I just couldn’t get into. And the reason I kept trying is because I wanted to win. I knew the whole time that I wasn’t the best and that I may never be, but I kept at it because I wanted to get better. Sure most of these people are better than me, but anything can happen. Every time I did something, I had hope. There was a goal I was trying to reach. and I mostly knew even at my young age that even if I never reached it, at least I did my best to make a run at it. Was it disappointing to fail? Yes, but failure isn’t always something to be afraid of. Sometimes failure is just the world telling you “better luck next time, kid.” It’s an incentive to keep plugging away at something you care about and to do your best to not feel that way again. Any competition I ever went into ended up being so much more than just sports or board and trivia games for me. They were life lessons. they taught me to deal with disappointment and to be proud of a job well done.

This not keeping score junk takes all of that away. If there’s no championship to aspire to, what’s the point? If there are no champions to aspire to be better than, where’s the need to try? and more importantly, where’s the preparation for the grownup world? I don’t know where these let’s not keep score people live, but everything I’ve experienced in life tells me that folks where I’m from do keep score…about everything. It also tells me that people fail. Sometimes you don’t get the job, or the girl, or the fancy car or the mansion on the hill. If we’re all about just getting out there and having fun because we’re all special and unique snowflakes one no better than any other, how is that kid turned adult going to react when he leaves the bubble and starts wondering why he doesn’t have nice things like the other guy?

Make as many excuses about how the game should be all about developing soccer skills as you want, but when I was growing up, that’s what practise was for. Any game needs to be a game. There should be a winner and a loser, just like in real life. If nobody loses, nobody is ever going to figure out what he’s capable of winning at, and that’s the most important skill of all.

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