If you click on the link ‘Self-Esteem’ above this sentence you’ll find an article about young America’s craving self-esteem boosts more than money or sex.
It’s a good article, but I think it tried too hard to quantify why this phenomenon is happening. I would wager to guess it’s the blossoming of the first generation who played little league sports without keeping score, the generation who were rewarded for trying instead of only getting recognition for winning.
I was raised by a former enlisted Marine Corps Major as a father, not to mention in high school he was an all-star baseball player and tri state center on the Frontier Falcons football team. I’ve seen the newspaper clipping. Fact. My father taught me from a very young age that anything worth having is worth working for and this work will, more often than not, be very hard.
I was a basketball player from the age of 6 to 16 and a soccer player for the same period. I was scrawny and had a horrible image of myself. I had heart, but never led the team in anything when I played basketball, I was there, I hustled, I made some baskets and I enjoyed myself. I was comfortable playing shooting guard and maybe not getting the ball every play. I was purely a supporting player.
My father was not an understanding coach…he was a winning coach borne out of former winning player…his life experiences allowed him to see legitimate potential in me and the rest of my team and he was going to pull it out of us if it killed him. He’d tasted victory and yeah, we ran suicides more often at the start of the season than we touched a basketball…but we had stamina and heart. Thanks to my father I learned at very young age that suffering as a team forges something, a family mentality- a pack mentality. A-you-mess-with-one-you-mess-with-all mentality. This is a lesson that has served me well in my time in the Corps. Some of my best memories were borne from sharing austere and miserable conditions with my brothers in arms.
Image for a minute – My father as our coach allowing us to progress as young atheletes in an individualistic way…only concerned about our own play time or points or times we touch the ball. We would never suffer, we would be pandered all the way into adulthood thinking we were owed play time, points and as many ball touches as possible. Unfortunately that’s the direction our children and even younger siblings are being pushed these days. Because most of our parents knew the value of discomfort and working hard to accomplish great things. Most of us didn’t apply those lessons, most ran away from the pain and struggle; what’s worse is our kids are being raised in bubbles without raised voices or knuckle-thumps for being retarded.
When I played soccer I was mainly on defense and did a pretty good job…soccer was way more up my alley than basketball. I was afforded the chance to play goalie one season. To paint the uninspiring picture that was quasi-pubesent me would start with being short: 5′ ish. Being small: 100 lbs. and having next to zero muscle. I thought being a goalie was for a bigger kid. But with some WORK I became a spider-monkey in the posts. I was everywhere. The journey to get there was bloody and often times painful, but I eventually goalied my way to a championship team where the whole season saw us undefeated and I was only scored on 3 times all season.
Imagine how my developement would’ve changed if we hadn’t kept score or had a measure for improvement? If I received the same amount of praise for participating as I did when we ran a soccer season in high school.
When I was coming up scoring with a hot chick, having a job and earning a paycheck equaled having a car and a girl. When you work hard and earn those things who cares how people view you or how many kudos you get? We’ve lost sight of the beauty of sweating to earn something. We’ve traded sweat and blood for high-fives and a thanks for playing.
We’re a weaker and smaller minded society for allowing participation to eclipse actually working hard to be good at something…our standards have dropped.
Thanks for showing up America, you’re all – all-stars.