Why Winning at Any Cost is the Wrong Message for Our Sons in Sports
Many parents have watched the psychological toll that highly competitive contact sports take on their sons. Coaches put immense amounts of performance pressure on young boys who are supposed to be involved in sports for fun. Pee-wee football should be fun. Middle school football should be fun. Hockey, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, baseball, track and field– whatever sport our boys are into, they should be having fun. Fun should not revolve around winning. Fun should not revolve around summoning deep amounts of ancestral, savage rage in order to out-perform other athletes. When our boys hear phrases like “Win at any cost,” “Losing is not an option,” and “Go, Fight, Kill!” they are getting the wrong message. The “participation award” culture has received much criticism for encouraging kids not to try their best because they will be awarded anyway. Awarding boys for aggressive, violent, rage-filled, hyper-focused behavior shouldn’t be rewarded either. As our boys bash their helmets and their protective gear, keep their eyes on the prize, and fight to win, they may be suffering emotional damage in the process. Sports are meant to refine, educate, and guide our boys.
The Good Men Project contributor Carol Bluestein writes about the Rage-Relax Syndrome boys can develop in competitive contact sports. Boys are taught to clue into whatever they need in order to be full of adrenaline pumping rage so they can perform at their peak with a moment’s notice. After using that energy for the purpose of the game, the flow has to be shut off quickly, so the boys can relax and return to their ‘normal’ state. Bluestein suggests that the ability to rage and relax transforms into a “Rage On Demand Syndrome” instead. “The competition mantra is inculcated deeply into our culture and into the everyday lives of men,” Bluestein writes. “Everything is a competition, and men compete to win, if it means removing, abusing, or discrediting whoever stands between the man and his objective.” The author explains that “Power establishes fear, which sustains power.”
We shouldn’t tell our boys who are in treatment for drug and alcohol addiction to recover “at any cost” or “Stay sober at any cost”. We know what the cost of addiction can be– fatal overdose. When our boys go to treatment, they are beginning a journey which will help them build a foundation of ethics, morals, and values, which means taking other people into consideration. Such an ego-centric competitive mindset undermines the important themes of community and brotherhood which live in the recovery worlds of our young boys.
During a residential treatment program with other young boys, your adolescent or teenage male has an opportunity to bond with young men on the same path to recovery. Our foundation building and life cleansing program helps young boys learn how to live their recovery in mind, body, and spirit. Offering academic support and family involvement, when you choose Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center, you’re choosing the best for your boy’s life. Start living your recovery today by calling: 662-598-4214