Let’s All Cheer for Team Spirit

A and Z
Photo credit: Steve Baker/Flickr

Photo credit: Steve Baker/Flickr

Two, four, six, eight
Who do we appreciate?
The [opponents’ team name] !!


Anyone who’s played, or coached, or just watched youth sports has heard that cheer. The idea behind it is a good one: the winning team is thanking the opponents they just beat for having playing hard and done their best.

It’s also a subtle reminder to winning teams that how you win can be as important as whether you win. Insulting or humiliating your opponents simply isn’t acceptable, and neither is cheating or playing dirty. Being on a team that plays with integrity makes players feel good about themselves, helps bring them together, and builds team spirit.

That last part, building team spirit, is easier said than done.

A and ZWhen kids are very young, one of the primary goals of youth sports is to make whatever they’re involved in so much fun that they want to come back and do it again next year. Sure, people talk about winning, and the majority of coaches and parents support that goal by emphasizing sportsmanship, skill building, self-improvement, and teamwork. One of my favorite things about my daughters’ swim team is the emphasis on best times. There have been a number of instances when she’d ask me right after a race what place she’d come in, and I’ve had no idea. But I could always tell her whether she’d made a new best time.
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Keeping memories alive

Dear Mr. Dad: My father died when I was a teenager and now that I’m a dad myself, I find myself missing him more and more. Of course, my children never met him, but is there a way to include him in their lives, to keep his memory and the wonderful lessons he taught me, even though he’s not here anymore?

A: For many of us, our own parents can be a constant source of advice, and without that sounding board—even if we swore we’d never be the kind of parents they were—it’s easy to feel lost.

Your dad may be physically gone, but there are lots of ways to keep his memory alive. The best is to talk about him often with your children. If you have an important memento, display it in your house and tell your kids why it was special to Grandpa.
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