Sportsmanship When Losing


It was the day of Ella’s “big tournament.” She was very excited and had been talking about it all week. She woke up earlier than usual and was dressed in her uniform before anyone else in the house was awake.

This is the first year Ella has played soccer. She’s 7 now, but small and delicate in stature. All season long she’s been the best ball chaser but has stopped short of kicking the ball. But that day.. that “big tournament” day and she was hoping to change that.

Ella’s team, the Queen Bee’s was facing off against the Shooting Stars. This game would determine the division Championship.

It was a tight game. The score was 1-1 with just 2 minutes left in the game when the Queen Bees kicked the ball into their own goal. Whoops. Hearts were beating fast; parents were calling out encouragement. “It’s okay!” “You can still do it!”

20 seconds left. The Queen Bees score again. This time into the opposing team’s goal, and the score is tied up again. The game goes into a Shoot-Out, and the Shooting Stars win.

What do you do as a parent when your child’s team loses a competition? You praise them for their efforts and sportsmanship. You express how proud of them you are for all they accomplished.

Brian and Melissa (mom and dad) also reminded Owen (8-year-old brother), that’s how “losing” is handled.

Ella walked off the field with a smile on her face. Her team had lost, but she had kicked the ball once. Her first time. Mom, Dad, and Brother all showered her with praise and encouragement.

As the family walked to the car, Owen and Ella walked ahead of Mom and Dad. They could overhear Owen doing exactly what they had encouraged him to do.

Owen: Great job, Ella. You tried really hard……… So how do you feel being on the losing team?

You’ve got to understand that there is no one, except maybe Mommy and Daddy (and Grandma and Grandpa) who are greater protectors of Ella than Owen is. He wasn’t being mean. He was concerned about her well-being.

He’s only 8. There’s still time for him to learn how to ask questions using better words.

And Ella? She’s only 7. There will be more soccer seasons for her and more time to chase…. and perhaps kick that ball again.

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