Teaching Our Children to be Good Sports

June 25, 2009

I don’t understand.

I know you’ve been around for longer than I have.  You have the really nice student base that I’m trying to build.  You have it all… your own studio, everyone in a team dress, an in at the local paper so they do features on you and your school, your own shoemaker and hairdresser for all I know.

You’d think you know better.

At our first feis, I told my kids to get to know their fellow competitors. “They are just as nervous as you, and they have worked just as hard!” I told them.  Introduce yourself, make small talk, make friends!  And you did… I was proud as I saw a game of patty-cake going on in the U8’s and facebooking going on in the older teens.  After the feis, I asked they made friends with everyone.  “oh yes” they said, so excited.  But so many added as an afterthought- “But there were some dancers that wouldn’t talk to us”.  They were invariably from your school.

Now this.

Yes, transfers happen. I’ve had them from you, so it’s only fair that you get them from me.  I can deal with “the Grass is Greener” disease that afflicts some Irish Dance parents.  But it’s really sad when the transfer student is talking with friends they’ve kept from our school and say “yeah, I love my new steps and the studio is really cool… but I don’t have any friends.  All the kids hate me because of the school I came from.”

Do you think they learned that on their own?

No, you have bred in them a disgust for any other school.  Kids are not naturally vindictive like that.  I think as humans we are more likely to see commonalities than immediately shut out.   They learn this behaviour.

From you.

So, please.  I know you have issues with my mere existence.   But please keep them to yourself.  Remember, it’s only the future of Irish Dance that you are affecting, and the kids you are teaching how to be adults.

One Response to “Teaching Our Children to be Good Sports”

  1. red said

    Wow, could I relate to this post! Long ago my dd told me that she wasn’t going to compete against the other girls but against herself at feiseanna. That strategy has worked out wonderfully. I cannot tell you the number of times that her competitors have tried to “psyche” her out. They get frustrated because she just smiles at them in her Cheshire Cat way and goes about her business. Some of them are in Opens, some have quit but to a girl they learned years ago that my dd wouldn’t respond to their pettiness & stopped trying. Mean moms breed mean girls, that’s the way of the world. Life is a great equalizer as the song says “sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug” My dd learned long ago to roll with the punches. Karma is an interesting phenomena so just let it happen because sure as the sun will rise tomorrow these mean girls and mean tc’s and mean mama’s will have their comeuppance I’ve seen it time and again.

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