Posted: Monday, March 14, 2011
By Aunt Susan
Some soccer leagues have adopted
"The Mercy Rule"
This blog is additional comments to my other blog regarding “Should you have party games”. I heard on the news last night about “The Mercy Rule” that is in place for a recreational soccer league in Ottawa. If a team is winning by 5 goals, they will forfeit the game if they score another goal. This is to prevent total humiliation for the losing team. I do not like this rule. So basically, if a team is really, really good it means they’re going to lose unless they start playing really, really bad after a 5 goal lead. The crowd is screaming “Don’t score! Don’t score!”. And it’s telling the losing team that by being incompetent they could win. There’s something wrong with this picture. Competition keeps you on top of your game. It’s time for the losing team to step it up. Get better. If you embrace this Mercy Rule, don’t expect your child to ever advance to rep or become pro because that’s not how the best play. The best is rewarded when they win. This mercy rule might be O.K. for the younger children when they are just learning the skills. In fact the league may adopt a “no score” rule where they do not keep score. When a child is 4, the passion for the game may not be there. He might be sitting in the middle of the field poking at a bug. In a no-score league no one gets their knickers in a knot. (it’s usually the parents anyways). Maybe the parents motivation was to get Junior some exercise. After a few seasons of Junior sitting in the middle of the field looking at bugs, it’s time to try something else.
At around age 10, this “No-Score” only pacifies the parents who can’t handle seeing their child’s team lose. The children know full well what the score is, and who’s the better team.
When I was a youngster (about 8 years old)…many moons ago… each neighbourhood park had a team for “Punch Ball”. It’s played just like baseball but it’s a volleyball and when you’re “up to bat”, you hit the ball like you would if you were serving in a game of volleyball. We played against a team that totally slaughtered us. When they hit that ball, it went flying across the field! When we hit the ball, it barely got to the centre of the diamond. All I could think of, at the time, was “How do they hit like that?! How come we can’t hit like that?” Losing that game as bad as we did should have been a teaching opportunity for our coach. Let’s go back to our park and learn to hit like them. But we never did. We never improved our game. But this was suppose to be fun right? Well it’s no fun losing. Even if no one kept score, we all knew the truth. We lost every game that summer. You know what feeling is worse than losing? The feeling of having no hope. And as for that other team, I still remember their name, Moss Park. They won the championship.
Posted: Monday, March 07, 2011
By Aunt Susan
Children playing "Pin The Tail On The Donkey”
I personally feel a little fun competition at a party is O.K.. but some kids can’t handle losing. A game where there are winners and losers is too stressful for these kids. So much that they will refuse to participate. I have seen kids tremble when they sense someone else is going to win. It’s as if their whole self worth has just gone down the toilet. Because of this, I have chosen to down play the competitive aspect of party games so there are no obvious winners or losers. Only because in my business I am the one who is suppose to bring the happiness. I can’t have any unhappy guests. Some parents feel I should not change things because the games are fun and there’s always going to be some kid sulking over something. It’s always something. It’s true…there’s no pleasing those kids…(and some parents). However I would rather not set up a situation where these kids have the excuse to sulk…or cry… or have a complete melt down. That’s right…no more “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” No more “Musical Chairs”. No more “Bean Bag Toss” etc etc.. Some parents suggest I give everyone a prize no matter who wins. That would diminish the victory of the child who actually earned her prize. Perhaps the age of the children need to be taken into consideration when choosing games. The disappointment of losing requires maturity. But I have seen older children and teenagers become nervous wrecks at the thought of losing. Have you ever seen parents at a hockey game when their kid’s team is losing? Wow.
Girl enjoying a card matching game at a
princess tea party
Some schools have eliminated competitive activities to protect the self esteem of children. Are we breeding mediocrity here? Like they don’t think these kids will figure it out when they grow up and find out the world awards the best? Self esteem and confidence is built from accomplishments. A little at a time, reaching your goals and being proud of your achievements. Competition awards excellence. You earned it, you deserved it. Great! Congratulations! Instead of eliminating competitive activities they should have programs in place to build children’s self esteem. And what would these programs entail? How ‘bout service. Here is a piece of advice from the wise:
"Our sense of self-worth is also key to being able to appreciate the other factors of fulfillment. Interestingly, feeling compassion for others is the most reliable way to increase our own self-worth" Dalai Lama
Posted: Tuesday, March 01, 2011
by Aunt Susan
This girl was happy to be caught with the Poison Apple. She’ll do a performance worthy of an Oscar
My crew and I always shop talk after we do a party. Always looking to improve, we discuss the best and the worst of each party. Time and time again, the same things come up. The best part is always when the children let go of any inhibitions, believe and participate. The worst is the opposite. When children are skeptical, refuse to participate and sulk. Even have melt downs. We don’t know why some children are the way they are but we have seen them all.
We play a game call “Pass the Poison Apple”. When the music plays you pass the apple along to the next princess. When the music stops, the princess who is holding the apple must pretend to fall into a deep sleep just like Snow White. She is essentially out of the game. The game continues until there is a winner which is the one remaining Princess. I have seen girls excited and hoping to be caught with the apple. When they are, they perform such a dramatic swoon they deserve an Oscar. And then there are those who are so terrified of being caught with the apple that they refuse to play. Some get caught and refuse to go out. Guess which girls have more fun? Guess what type we prefer to entertain? However, we have to be ready to handle any situation. What happens if the sulky girl is the birthday girl? I guess she could say as the song goes “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to…cry if I want to…” As entertainers, we have to make this all better.
The birthday girl has to be happy. In fact, all the guests should be happy. Our job is to bring the happiness. And that’s what we are paid to do… bring the happiness and entertain….not baby-sit or discipline children. Any difficult behaviour should be handled by the parents. A birthday party is not exactly the best time and place to deal with behaviour issues. So do we cater to the sulky child’s wishes? You betcha! There’s a saying “The customer is always right”? There is no such thing as a bad audience…just bad entertainers. In the people pleasing business, not only are we entertainers, we also need to be psychologists. If you can figure out how to make your costumers happy you will have a successful business. At the end of the party, we get to go home. As for the parents…. those wonderful darlings are all yours.