Friday, February 22, 2008

Raising a Good Sport


As a preschooler, my older daughter, Phoebe, was lousy at losing. She’d get huffy and pouty when her dad uncovered more pairs playing the Dora the Explorer matching game (think Concentration, but matching Princess Dora or Swiper cards instead of the seven of clubs or ace of spades). Phoebe would quickly get frustrated trying to jump rope after seeing her friend Piper excel at it.

Yet they now must teach good sportsmanship in kindergarten along with reading and math. Suddenly Phoebe is Little Miss Magnanimous when it comes to games and sports. Case in point: Last weekend our whole family went to the playground. As we walked across a faded 100-meter-dash outline on the blacktop, Phoebe suddenly asked me if I wanted to race her. Me specifically, not her dad, Jack. As she headed toward the starting line, I whispered to Jack, “should I let her beat me?” He told me to just see how it went, implying she might legitimately beat me. (Ain’t gonna happen I thought—I’ve got a ton of 400s and 800s under this marathoner’s belt!)

Phoebe and I both got a good jump off the start, but I fired up the afterburners and cruised across the line several seconds ahead of her. After Phoebe finished, I looked down at her face, fearful tears would be welling or a frown appearing. But to my surprise—and my delight and pride—Phoebe broke into a huge grin, and exclaimed, “I wanted you to win, Momma! Now you can tell everybody you won a running race!”

-Sarah

7 comments:

Kate said...

Love the pink - all girls Phoebe's age seem to have a pink phase. ;-) A former colleague has an annual "race" against her son... he started beating her around age 7.

Lani said...

Congrats on winning a running race! That's awesome that your daughter is becoming such a good sport.

I've tagged you with the You Make My Day Award! Go to my blog (armytbonegirl.livejournal.com) for the logo and the rules.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing such an insightful and vivid example of a child's growth...Such details of life can often get forgotten, pushed aside with the busy nature of our days. I predict great things for Phoebe's future. I am proud to be her kindergarten teacher! Joanne

nicole said...

I had a similar experience with my son ( age 6) with playing Checkers. Should I let him win so he isn't upset? I finally decided to play normally, and teach him the moves he could have made. Turns out, he still had fun, and learned alot about strategy. He'll be beating me before long, I'm sure. As for the running, I still beat both my sons, and I'm proud of that. Some day they will beat me for sure!!!

Suzy said...

K, that was the sweetest thing EVER!!!

Leah said...

Sarah, that's hilarious! And adorable. My daughter's swim coach taught me to swim and has made it clear I'm not going to be faster than she is for much longer.

Jade Lady said...

I'm still working on the Dora concentration game...:-).

Good for Phoebe for being have such great sportsmanship!