There are many positives to soccer, and specifically youth soccer; foremost of which is it gets kids moving. Quite literally every person on the field is moving – hopefully running. Though I love baseball, it is terribly sedentary. No one “plays themself into shape” in baseball. You can do it in track, soccer, cycling, basketball and football, but certainly not in baseball.
However, my struggle with soccer, and specifically youth soccer, is the idea that it is okay to tie. Though I might concede that it is okay for young kids to play for the sake of playing – that keeping score does not matter. But eventually everyone needs to learn the lessons of life. One of the realities of the world is that winning and loosing matters. It always has. It always will.
Like everyone, I have been bombarded with World Cup updates, and I had to smile at the opening day results: a 1-1 tie followed by a nil-nil match. Priceless. Only soccer can produce world-wide passion yet not have anyone win. To some that is the beauty of the sport – it is okay to just not lose. That is great, and such folks make wonderful neighbors. However, if I am building a team that will compete in the real world of business, I want competitors. I want winners, or at least people who hate to lose.
You can work hard, practice, be ethical, noble, righteous and good, and yet there will be times you will lose – it is the nature of competition. However, you better be ready to win every time you compete. And that is why I cannot embrace a sport that ends in ties – it is fundamentally contrary to the very ideal of competition. I am a competitor and I believe in what that means – someone wins and someone loses. You play right, you play fair, you play hard, but you play to win…at least in the real world.