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A final comment that is important in this conversation relates to the scope of sports. Earlier in this blog there is mentioning of the benefits of sports. Clearly it has a positive impact on our body and our mind. Also, if done properly, sport can have an important social impact too. When I say done properly, I am referring to the instances where parents inject a sense of inappropriate competitiveness. Too much competitiveness, or better the win-at-all-costs mindset can corrupt the beauty of the games. Children can on occasions complain about losing, but they will be directed by our attitudes as adults. If a child is a sore loser, it would not help to have a father who becomes upset each time his team or his child’s team loses. It is our adult responsibility to instil a sense of healthy competition; one which recognises the effort one needs to do to accomplish success, but also which in turn realises that victory is not a given always. This in itself constitutes an important lesson of self improvement. Put simply, if you want to win, you have to work differently and perhaps better. Teach your child to be a person who holds sportsmanship values at heart. Teach your child to be a benevolent player, who aspires to win through skill and technique, not through raging and foul behaviour.

Sports can be beautiful. I close by sharing one of my own life experiences with sports. One of the greatest losses I ever felt was when the sport I was engaged in became less concerned with fun, but more concerned with winning. It is my hope that we can offer our children a beautiful future in sport.

Steve Libreri is a social worker and parent coach within Willingness. He offers parent coaching and social work sessions. He can be contacted on steve@willingness.com.mt.