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You are watching: What to say when someone loses a game

PLEASANT GROVE — I used to reference the refs.

What else could I have said come my son standing with a group of his teammates, on the verge the tears, all wearing the same face — and the very same filthy blue soccer uniforms?

His team had just to be skunked, 27-0. In the rain.

Blaming the refs avoided an emotional nightmare; and instead of handling something real, everyone obtained hyped up for a half an hour and also it blew over.

Of rough circuit the team never acquired better, and my child learned come blame his difficulties on who else, however I didn’t have actually to attend to the emotion of losing.


Prodigal Dad: walk softly, and also carry a huge O-line

The Charles Atlas approach to world peace never ever rang true to me. However, together I gain older ns am normally filling out. Subconsciously, v my brand-new bulk, I had actually the idea that I'd left the bullies and the punks behind. Yet there is always another bully.

I am no advocating that we hand the end paperback duplicates of mark Twain’s The battle Prayer to the guys at the begin of the season in addition to their pads and also playbooks. But as a dad, I desire to instill a value or two once it concerns winning. And also since shedding is the various other complete half of sports, i had better teach a tiny something around it.

Placating, together an emotionally cork, doesn’t work. Speak something prefer “It was close” or “You’ll acquire ‘em next time” seems choose filler.

Trying to discover something nice come say at any type of cost, favor “Your cheerleaders looked tougher 보다 theirs did,” makes you look out of touch, and "moral victories" are when you didn’t stand a chance and also lost by much less than everyone assumed you would.

“Well, Johnny, together a group, friend and every one of your friends here are mediocre.” If I claimed that come the guys after the game, someone would revoke my dad card, and also deservedly so.

After eight years of boys football, most of what I understand is due to having done its polar opposite. Here"s what has operated for me, and also what hasn"t.

Before the list, ask you yourself if you have actually a connection of trust wherein you feel an excellent about providing your boy feedback. If you haven’t emerged that in her relationship, as a mother or a dad, then anything deep enough to do a difference may be too deep.

... Ask yourself if you have actually a connection of trust whereby you feel good about giving your young feedback. If you haven't emerged that ... Noþeles deep sufficient to make a distinction may be too deep.

Start by developing that relationship. The will assist you to recognize your boy well sufficient to know just how to help him deal with the loss.

For example, my kid needs fifty percent an hour to complain around everything, consisting of the angle of the loss sun. I don’t controversy or try to develop a learning atmosphere for that fifty percent an hour. It is his time.

(My time was venting come his mom for the three hours during the game around what ns would perform if i were the coach.)

I understand now the my son being able come vent is his means of dealing. As soon as he has had a possibility to obtain it off of his chest and also once he has had actually two dozen chicken nuggets v barbecue sauce and also a Gatorade, that evens out emotionally and sees an ext clearly.

When in doubt, go with food.

Then let the grieve, and be ok grieving through him. the feels bad, and so perform you. That OK to say it. And when that blurts out “that yes, really sucks,” quite than correct his verbiage or phone call him come look on the shining side, agree v him. Yes, that sucked.Don’t downplay the ns or say that the loss no matter. Of course it matters. And also if we downplay the importance of the loss, then logically we would have to downplay any kind of win through the same token. If a success matters, then so does a loss. That is what the is. Once you win, the feels great. When you lose, that feels lousy.Let him recognize you are proud that him, and also tell him why. walk he do something well? walk he save trying when he was down? go he offer someone a literal hand to assist them up from level on their back? walk he carefully find his game socks? there is always something to prayer him for. Keep it real. He’ll recognize when you space stretching.Do go over his good moments playing. let him know that the hole he produced the runner was precisely right, or that his to run of the pass pattern was excellent. If he blew a block and let his man through, recognize it as something the won’t want to perform again — let the learn.Do create little victories. If his team scored more this week 보다 last, if they organized the opponent to so numerous rushing yards, or if there to be no penalty — these are great things. Encourage him come take property of and also joy in the points he can control.Set smaller purposes with him: one much more sack 보다 last week, or one an ext block. My mam pays our son 10 bucks because that hitting the various other guy level on his rear, and I take into consideration that 10 bucks well spent.Don’t reprimand the coaches, or the man running the clock, or the refs for the matter. And don’t support others when they perform so. Blaming encourages a state of helplessness by providing all the strength to some arbitrary force: the refs, the coaches, the weather, old cleats, grass, artificial turf or what have actually you. Teach him the if he desires to win the game to win it decisively so that a “bad” call or two (or three) doesn’t matter in the lengthy run.Don’t phone call him that winning isn’t everything. He has been working more than 25 hrs a week because that months with a state championship in mind. That eats and also snores "team." If friend haven’t established a healthy attitude on winning/losing prior to this point, a speech in the valve won’t have a positive influence and may even create distance between you.Keep her comments, feelings and attitudes positive, and also his may come about as well. Great sportsmanship starts with the parents and also ends v the parents.

As for a downright, honest-to-goodness trivial team or talent? her son’s team may an extremely well be less than state championship material. However that is far better discussed once the feel of this moment has actually passed, throughout a drive home from church or when tossing the ball about in the yard. Climate you can comment on what the can acquire out of his team participation various other than a trophy.

Whatever girlfriend do, nothing tell the boys the they aren’t winners, because that one there, in the filthy blue uniform, is mine son. Of course he is a winner. My wife may give me 10 bucks for services rendered if you indicate otherwise.

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Main image: as soon as you"ve gained their attention, teach castle right. (Photo: Davison Cheney)



About the Author: Davison Cheney--------------------------------

Davison Cheney writes "The Prodigal Dad" collection every week on See his other musings in ~ Davison in ~*