Nelson principals say parents need to understand that education and society has moved on from the days of their own schooling and children are much more anxious these days.
The comments come after a backlash from parents in relation to Nelson Bays Football’s decision to stop publishing results tables for junior players aged 6 to 12.
The move was an attempt by the organisation to take the emphasis of sport away from winning and losing and onto developing players.
Tasman Rugby Union also recently implemented a “mercy rule” that was designed to stop score blowouts.
Nelson mum Cushla Voss says she is disappointed that parents can’t encourage their children to compete.
“Life has a lot of wins and losses; the sports field is a great place to learn to deal with those.”
However, Hampden Street School principal Don Mclean says results are more about the parents than the kids.
“Who are the results for? Because some parents get awfully excited about results and tables.”
Don is in favour of NBF’s move, which the Nelson Weekly reported last week, saying that parents need to understand that times have changed.
He says due to the nature of modern society, children are a lot more anxious than they used to be. “We are dealing with different kids than we were a few years ago.”
“My junior football side recently had a string of losses, but we worked our way out of it and knowing they were at the bottom of the table probably wouldn’t have helped that.”
He says the development of skills and the ability to be part of a team should be of higher importance than the end result.
“The reality is that kids are leaving in droves because they feel like they aren’t as talented as the next kid and that they aren’t worthy of being there.”
Don says this latest decision may be the catalyst for some major changes in junior sport.
“We want kids to know; when they lose, they aren’t losers.”
Tahunanui School principal Barbara Bowen says one of her teachers is thinking about doing away with player awards as “no one player can win the game in a team sport”.
“The changes are in line with modern thinking and league tables and ‘awards’ are an old fashioned adult concept.
“When kids leave home, they show how much they value them by leaving all the cups and certificates behind and quite frankly who remembers who won the 2017 under 7’s football grade?”
She says parents can influence children’s attitudes to winning at all costs which in turn can lead to cheating.
Victory Primary principal Helen Taylor-Young agrees that times have definitely changed.
“We are all about inclusion and doing our best these days.”
However, parent Marc Tansey wasn’t convinced. “Winning isn’t important but teaching kids to deal with losing is.”
Gary McGregor, on social media, joked: “Do they still toss the coin to see which team kicks off? Or is that considered as someone losing as well?”