Thursday, June 27, 2019
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Mr. Kuyper,

Thank you for expressing your thoughts in today’s Southwest Valley Republic, pertaining to parents and children’s behavior who do not come in first, or win their competition.  Experiencing success and failure is an important and necessary life-lesson for children and young adults.  Sports and other forms of competition offer the young person who is in the process of developing a healthy mind set and perspective on life several very valuable lessons.  Specifically:

•               In reality, one cannot win at everything.

•               Failing to win does not reflect poorly on the person, just the outcome.

•               Life is not fair and one should not be personally disturbed when outcomes differ from expectations.

•               Not winning or being the best is not a reflection on a person’s intent, character or desire.

•               Mature/balanced individuals need to develop mechanisms to cope with disappointment and/or frustration.

•               If you’ve truly done your best, that is all that is expected, no matter the competitive outcome.

That brings up the issue of whose responsibility it is to inculcate these lessons of competition and life?  Clearly, and mainly, the parents and family members are responsible and accountable, i.e., the young competitor’s post-competition ability to handle loss or second-best in ways that are not self-destructive, aggressive or emotionally devastating is how parents efforts should be measured.  I believe “gracefully” aptly describes both winners’ and losers’ behavior post competition.

Secondly, adults who have been entrusted to guide, teach and support the young folks who are engaged in a competitive endeavor also must accept responsibility and be somewhat accountable for the performance of team members’ post-competition conduct when they fail to “win.”  Success in this area requires coaches and mentors to effectively teach “graceful” behavior just like they teach the fundamentals associated with competition.

Thanks again and I suggest revisiting the issue from time to time in your columns.



Hi Tom,

I am a 78-year-old retired male, Spouse, Dad, Grandpa, Great Grandpa AND Proud American, who like most of us my age, grew up the hard way.

We learned success & disappointments the “Old Fashioned Way – We Earned It”! Your article today, in the Arizona Republic,

“Valuable lessons learned even when you don’t win a trophy”, was so well written & insightful, the only comment I can make is:

Well done – I only wish the article was on the front page, as required reading by every parent, student & teacher in every classroom.

Jim Crupi


Hi Tom,

I just finished your article and wanted to get up and cheer several times throughout while reading it. I couldn’t agree more with you on giving every child a trophy or ribbon, regardless of performance.

My children always learned more about life when they lost than when they won. The parents who protect their children from every hard lesson in life ends up with children who think they are owed a living just for showing up. If you talk to a business owner, you will find how difficult it is to hire anyone in their 20′s because they don’t want to work and get angry when they’re disciplined or let go for not doing their job.  Mom & dad always made their life so easy & without consequences, it’s a rude awakening to the real world and makes their adult life that much harder. So, if you look at it that way, those parents aren’t really helping their child but hindering their child’s growing into a mature adult.

I realize I’m preaching to the choir so I won’t go on. Great article! And thanks for having the courage to voice your opinion.

Niki Simonson



Good afternoon Tom,

Great job with Sunday’s article in PO!!! As usual, you are right on the money!!!

One point that also they miss in the “everyone wins” scenario is that there is no motivation from losing. Losing or a previous sub-par performance has probably been as motivating a factor in some of the best sports performances ever in any sport. Coming out of a tough situation and then getting that “back to work” motivation has been a key for years. That willingness to work harder than ever to get to the top. Can’t get there if you are always rewarded on ground level.

I love the articles!!!!!!


Tim P. Verge

Head Swim Coach

Shippensburg University



Although, I rarely read the paper, I did so today and found your article to be extremely interesting and right on the mark.

I have been a Boys & Girls Club professional for over 30 years and I wish to commend you on writing upon a subject that has been for some time a real problem area…kids, winners or loser’s makes no difference, it’s a part of growing up!

Let’s face it, even we adults, still win some and lose some!

I hope that the parents who need to read your article will, and those that already ‘get it’ will continue their child rearing with this understanding!

Have a great day!

Bob Liming | Director of Development

Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley


Thank you for the awesome responses!  I love to hear your thoughts, wisdom and insight!  Keep the comments coming!


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