YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

PREP VOICES : Q: Is too much emphasis placed on winning at the high school level? : PRO: Just Knowing How to Play Is a Victory

March 23, 1994|MICHELLE PERRY | Esperanza Freshman

Emphasis should not be placed on winning, but rather on playing the game to the best of a person's ability, learning skills such as playing as a team, and enjoying the game.

As a freshman at Esperanza High School in Anaheim, I can think of a number of games that I have played in where the other team thought winning was so important they would use any and every means possible to achieve a victory, including dishonest tactics as well as excessively fouling their opponents.

Even in the regular physical education classes at school, when there is not an adult supervising or keeping score, students will tack on extra points to their own totals. When confronted, they argue they are correct and that you just were not keeping score properly.

Using dishonest tactics and cheating are not confined to only those players with less athletic skill. I have known excellent players who have resorted to cheating. Perhaps the poorer players need to win to make themselves feel better, while the good players need to win in order to retain their reputations as winners.

Although everyone likes to win, winning should not be the only reason a coach gives to his team for playing or the only reason that motivates a participant to play. Many are taught that winning is all-important, but if everyone concentrates on winning, athletes are often less likely to enjoy the actual playing of the game itself.

Almost everyone has been to a game where there was a parent in attendance who was obviously obsessed with winning. These rude spectators, who usually spend their time yelling at the referees, players, coaches or anyone else who might be in a position to prevent their child from winning, influence their children more than they might realize. If they are so obsessed with winning, why shouldn't their children be likewise?

At the high school level, students should concentrate on improving their playing techniques, especially if they are considering taking up the sport as a way to get into college or as a possible career. They should not be obsessed with obtaining more points or faster times than their opponents.

By playing on a team, a student can learn many things that will help him later in life: teamwork, setting and reaching goals, commitment and persistence. Future employers are not going to ask you on your job application if you or your team won a CIF Southern Section championship in high school. However, the skills and qualities you did develop during your playing days will prove very valuable.

Los Angeles Times Articles