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Poor Sport: A Father-Daughter Foot Race Leads to Sobbing

Teaching Addie not to be a Poor SportLosing isn’t always easy and it especially isn’t easy on kids. Addie’s struggled with losing well before she ever entered kindergarten. Many games of Candy Land have ended with Addie in tears.  he has struggled with the thought of losing at anything.

Little by little we worked with her on how to be a good sport at the end of games. Now Addie only cries at the end of games if she’s gone a long time without winning and it has taken a lot of work to get her to that point. I even demand that she give everyone a high five and a “good game.”

I wasn’t always the best sport when it came to losing either. My dad and I used to battle on our driveway as we played countless games of basketball. Sometimes those games got intense and heated and sometimes they didn’t end with us being all that happy with each other. In fact, one game ended with my dad having his first bloody nose in years. The bloody nose was delivered by my elbow as we fought for a rebound and he wasn’t happy about it.

I think that Addie’s a lot like me. She wants to win at everything even if it’s a meaningless foot race in our front living room and she proved that the other night.

Addie and Vivi were racing back and forth between our dining room to our living room. I watched as Vivi struggled to keep up with Addie, so I decided to challenge Addie to the same race. I also made a little wager that if I won she had to do the dishes that night and if she won I’d clean her room (considering the state of her room, I had more motivation to win than she did).

The first race ended with Addie stubbing her toe on the back of my heel halfway through the race. The second race, for double or nothing, ended with an Addie win and the third race ended with Addie quitting halfway through and sobbing in the corner of the living room. The kid couldn’t stand the thought of losing.

We had a nice discussion about how we aren’t going to win at everything we do. There will always be someone who is either better at the activity or who is having a better day. The important thing is to have fun while enjoying the competition. Hopefully she learned something from our talk so that she can enjoy competition in the future. Competition can be something she will enjoy her whole life if she can just realize that winning is fun, but it is not the most important part of the competition.

I always hate it when I play basketball with grown men and some of those grown men take the competition too seriously and let their tempers flare until I’m separating them from fighting as if they were children. When Addie’s grown, I want her to be the one who always keeps her cool and can’t help but show how happy she is that she gets the opportunity to participate in competitive games.

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