Football is about fraternity
Pope Benedict told us. And he is right. But it's not just that. If we're honest, it's also about competition. Big-time.
The current trend to attempt to remove all forms of rivalry and competition from the lives of our children is highly irresponsible and smacks of 'hippy gone wrong'.
The trend doesn't just apply to football, of course, although the Pope's latest missive inspired me to finally tackle the topic. Children nowadays are being taught – at schools, playgrounds, nursery clubs and everywhere – that competition is an evil thing.
We are all winners, children are blightly taught. Erm. No we are most certainly not. And if you're going to teach your kids that no matter what the standard of their performance – whether related to sport or academia - they're winners, well all I can say is that you're setting them up for a very bad fall indeed.
Reality is that life is based on competition. Charles Darwin didn't coin the term 'survival of the fittest' on a whim. He coined it because only the thicker-skinned of whichever species go far in life. The rest, if they're not on top of the food-chain, go extinct.
Humans don't go extinct (as yet) so they'll simply fall by the wayside to lead a mundane life – or a struggling existence if they're unlucky.
Of course, in no way am I advocating the kind of ruthless competition that overrides all common sense and civilised behaviour. The term 'healthy competition' might be a cliché, but it works well to illustrate my point.
When you have teachers and parents encouraging the idea that it's irrelevant how well or otherwise you do in a particular game, sport of subject, as long as you 'do your best', the message that children take is one: I don't really need to make much of an effort.
Which leads us neatly to the "anything goes" attitude which is bred of the "taking part is more important than winning" philosophy. Seriously, whoever came up with this last phrase deserves a good slapping.
Of course winning is important.
But no. Today we have school-kids getting gold stars, medals, awards and praise for having simply "taken part". Just wait until they implement this attitude at future job interviews, academic exams and the like.
No gold stars for guessing that they'll be rather teed off at all those who misled them into thinking a poor performance is okay too.
"There is no second place. There are only winners and losers."
I have no clue who came up with this one, but they definitely get the gold star from me.