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Physical Education

Competing, Winning, Losing, and Preventing Childhood Obesity

Education News

On other occasions we’ve talked about the concepts of competition and winning in the context of Operation Pull Your Own Weight. But for the sake of clarity let me reiterate that we’re the polar opposite of the Superbowl, the World Series, the NBA Finals, The Masters, or Wimbledon, all of which produce one winner and a plethora of losers. In contrast, we’re staunch and unapologetic proponents of self-competition in which Johnny competes with Johnny (he competes with himself) on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

In other words when Johnny can honestly say, “I’m a little stronger this week than I was last week, I’m a little stronger this month than I was last month, and I’m a lot stronger this year than last year,” Johnny is automatically a slam dunk winner, regardless of what other kids do! Furthermore, if Johnny cultivates the habit of overcoming himself on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis through his developmental years, he’ll fulfill every ounce of his natural potential and have no problem competing conventionally once he becomes an adult.

Done Right, Everyone Wins

When the stage is set correctly, everyone comes out a winner. No one is threatened with humiliation or being labeled a loser. Done right, the kids aren’t focused on whether Johnny beats Rafael, or Julianne beats Katrina. Instead the entire class is put in a position where they legitimately encourage their peers and feel good when they succeed. After all, under these conditions they can all be winners and they avoid creating losers.

Now Let’s Talk About Losing             

However, we’ve yet to talk about or to define the concept of losing, which is what we’d like to do now. In the context of the self competition orientation, losing is failing to be able to honestly say “I’m stronger this week than I was last, I’m stronger this month than I was last, and I’m stronger this year than I was last.” Losing is failing to take advantage of the time and the opportunities you’ve been given to get stronger every week, month, and year. Losing is wasting your natural born talents, failing to fulfill your true potential, living life on a lower level, and it’s a natural byproduct of the conventional orientation to competition, winning, and losing.

Why Continue Subjecting Our Kids

In this light the question becomes, if the conventional orientation to competition naturally produces a few winners at the expense of many also-rans and/or losers, why do we continue subjecting our young and impressionable kids to this poisonous indoctrination when the cards are inevitably stacked against them? Why don’t we just eliminate it, especially in the early years?

Now then, if self competition naturally produces classes full (schools full, towns full, and states full) of winners who successfully circumvent all the frustration and alienation with which so many kids have been burdened over the years, why wouldn’t we adopt that model instead of the conventional model? Other than sheer tradition, what’s stopping us from making a productive change in this regard? The answer is, there’s nothing stopping us.