🕐 5 minute read
Most people hope to look back on their childhoods and reminisce about fun times. They remember great friendships, summer camps, impactful teachers, epic sporting events and all enjoyable experiences in between. Anything that brings back that warm feeling of nostalgia regarding the “good ol’ days” is worth the 5 minute day dream. But I think we can all agree (regardless of your generation) that “fun” has changed.
Fun has evolved from playing freely in the street, to playing in the back yard to now watching other people play from behind a screen. All fun from the latter generation seems silly to the former. But what if we told you that joy has never changed? More importantly, what if we told you your children were experiencing more fun, but less joy? Perhaps our definition of the word will clear up what we mean:
Fun is what you have when you are not invested in the outcome. You can play Candy Crush for fun, but at the end of the game you have accomplished very little. Stacking 5 strawberries in a row is not necessarily an achievement worth pinning on the refrigerator. Ultimately the dopamine rush is what makes this feel like a game worth playing.
Joy is what you feel when the investment of effort pays off in a reward. Athletes experience so much joy from the satisfaction of victory after hard work, that it is easy to recognize it’s value. So here is our recommendation to the parents of our athletes, and the athletes themselves.
Help us bring JOY back to SPORTS!
A key factor contributing to the loss of joy in athletics is a player’s protection from experiencing the “sting” of defeat. We’ve replaced the word “agony” with the word “sting” because it is far more representative of the truth.
Another nugget of truth, is that it is OK when there is only one “winner” in an athletic event. These are sports, you win some you lose some. But once winning becomes habitual and losing becomes learning, you will find your child spending less time having fun and more time seeking joy.