One of my daughters is almost 12 now. She is active in gymnastics and has been on and off for many years.
When she was much smaller, I would say five or six years ago, she was in a gymnastics “show”. It was basically a prelude to real competitions, where the children do simple techniques in front of an audience – moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas.
At the end of that show every child was allowed to step atop the podium and receive a first place medal. This could be a Madison thing to make kids feel good (we are just a bit liberal here from what I have heard) but I have no idea if they do this elsewhere.
I told my wife at that time the following:
“This sets up unrealistic expectations for the future. Most of those kids sucked and they still got a first place photo and medal, and have a great feeling. The kids that worked harder were screwed.”
Fast forward to today. My daughter made nationals for gymnastics, fortunately hosted here in Madison. She only had to beat one other kid to qualify to the national meet. She has been getting absolutely dusted this week in every event by kids from all around the nation. Of course we are dealing with a very browbeaten kid.
I told her that I didn’t feel sorry for her. I said that she clearly needs to work harder and doesn’t deserve to be the champion if she doesn’t have the skills. I also told her that it was great that she was able to qualify for nationals and have the privilege to compete – many kids didn’t stick with it.
I think that this will be good for her in the future.
It is my personal opinion that children are far too coddled. Maybe I am an asshole of a father. I don’t think I am.