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"Fake Sportsmanship?"

"Fake Sportsmanship?"

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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The details are a little fuzzy at this point, but when I was in high school our softball team was bad. In the interest of full disclosure, you should know I pitched for the JV team for a couple of years (and I was REALLY bad), but this is about the varsity team. For ages and ages (like I said, my memory's foggy on the details, and this isn't the sort of thing one can Google), they were winless, until one day they finally won a game. It made news state-wide. Seriously. Even still, for all those losing years, there were still enough girls willing to play for the worst team, and take those losses week after week. There really is something to losing, repeated in a million platitudes (try "it builds character" and "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" on for size). Recently, a story about Jericho Scott, a 9 year old with a 40 mph fastball caught Neal's eye — not only because this kid is clearly exemplary, but because the league administrators banned him from the mound for being too good and killing the competition. Is this "everyone gets a trophy" "all kids are special treasures" gone crazy, or an out-of-the-ordinary example where an unusual ruling was necessary to level the playing field? Is losing bad for kids? What about Scott?

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