Magazine article Ebony

Winning Is Important

Magazine article Ebony

Winning Is Important

Article excerpt

I WANTED to jump into the conversation. But it was not my daughter, and it was not my place. After all, I had my hands full with my own offspring. Keeping one 7-year-old emotionally stable was a full-time job in and of itself. So I was in no position to give my two cents, in no position to try to tell another Brother how to console his child, who was distraught after coming in third place during an ice-skating competition

So I said nothing, just watched as he wiped his daughter's tears. This Brother comforted his daughter for the better part of 5 minutes until he finally convinced her that not only was winning not important, but that it wasn't even her fault that she lost. This Brother blamed the judges, blamed the skates, blamed the coach. Heck, he even blamed the ice for being too slippery. In fact, he did everything but suggest to his daughter that if she hadn't fallen three times during her routine that maybe she would have won.

In this short period of time, he (as good as his intentions may have been) had managed to take all of the competitiveness out of his daughter. She had obviously entered the competition with a killer mentality--convinced that she was the best, convinced that she was going to win, willing to settle for nothing less than being the best. But she left with her father, not only content with being third best, but convinced that there was nothing she could have done to win.

I know that it is often said that winning is not everything. And in certain circumstances that may indeed be the case. But what message are we sending when we wholeheartedly accept that philosophy? We in the Black community too often accept mediocrity, justify shortcomings. Sometimes we blame it on society; other times we fault anyone and anything but ourselves. We teach our children to strive to fit in, to be content with being average. …

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