So your child is not a starter, Oh NO!

A blog comment today about how one youth football league’s players must all be starters lifted me on to my soap box and my mind is stirring about minimum play players, favoritism, and starting positions.   The Favoritism topic is the most read topic on my blog.  I have written only a few articles on the subject, but because the subject is not sport specific the articles are heavily read.  I am sure this blog post about starting will generate similar interest and comments / email.   I hope I do not offend anyone.  Forgive me if I do.

Can we all be starters?  I am sure if we want to lower the expectations of the team, game, league and sport, we can all be starters.  At what point does dumbing down a team, league, game or sport start hurting the long term development of the players, not only as athletes but competitors in a world market were Chinese children are being unfairly manipulated and mutated to compete against our children which are being softened by everyone gets a trophy and no one gets left behind programs.  We in the US continually lower the standards so everyone can pass or play.  When has been being not as good as someone else in a sport or topic been an error or crime not of that person but on the teacher, coach or boss.  Why is blame for poor performance continually redirected at someone other than the low performing person?  And should any blame be directed or redirected.  Maybe a person is not good at football but a Pele at Soccer.  Is not being good or the best at a subject or a starter a real problem to be address be society or governments?

I just posed this question on my Twitter account @CoachParker_org, “Because I am not a F1000 CEO, Sr VP, VP, or Director, a starter in business, should my mom call GE, Apple, MS and ask why I am not the starting CEO or Sr VP?”

I know that sounds so strange for a 47 year old man to ask that question, but the average age for a CEO in the US is around 55 years old.  In the 1970’s it was close to 60 years old.  So in terms of CEO experience I am at Pee Wee CEO age.  I do have 7 years experience as a Sr. Manager at EDS, now part of HP, as a strategic marketing manager preparing strategic marketing and business plans presented to the CEO and Executive Board, and I have 4 years experience as a CEO of a small sporting goods company.  I have played the business game as an eager utility manager, but my dream has always been to become a F1000 CEO or Sr VP or a NFL starting linebacker or fullback.  I know now through experience I will become neither, my performance at critical times did not warrant an invite to the Select teams with GE, MS, Apple or the Dallas Cowboys.  I am not complaining. I am just being realistic.

Ok, so my mother is still upset that I did not live up to my potential and become the CEO of Ford or Intel.  Maybe she should have realized when I was not accepted to Harvard but Texas A&M that my F1000 CEO talent maybe lacking.  She never did.  I am sure if the Ford Executive board was 10 yards away from her 3 to 4 days a week, she would let them know how great I was when I was at EDS and when I won my 2nd grade business project and that she still has the 1st place ribbon.  I am sure her heckles from the sidelines will influence Ford to hire me.  But I digress.

OK, so your child is not a starter either.  Well, is that the end of the world?  What is your child really good at?  Maybe you should determine 5 to 10 things that your child is interested in doing and find out if they are good at it any of them.  If they are NOT good at a few mark them off your list. Don’t allow your child to join a team if they are not good at the sport, it’s unfair for everyone involved.  If you want your child to try out a sport, enroll them in a camp before signing them up for a league team.  A week long camp will tell your child and you if they are able to become proficient at the sport or topic.

I’m not sure why parents have decided to let children try everything.  Help your child find their special niche based on their unique individual abilities not yours.  I recently found out my youngest son is a pretty good Soccer player maybe even better at Soccer than Football.  Yes, that hurts my feelings a bit, but I love watching him play Soccer.  He is really that good.  Maybe my football dreams got in his way for a few years.  We will soon see.

Would you push your child to play Chess everyday and attend Chess tournaments if they continually lost every match at the chess tournaments?  I know I eventually quit the Chess team after getting spanked at a few 6th grade tournaments.  My dad loves Chess, but I am not a tournament Chess player.  I can beat my friends but not “real” competition.  My dad was not as upset with me, because dad and I began playing Racquetball together.  We found a new interest and sport to enjoy.  Not Chess.

Parents, please do everyone coaching and teaching a favor.  If you know your child cannot sing, please do not sign them up for American Idol.