Sunday, June 15, 2014

Winning Is Over-Rated

I was walking Lola the dog.

Or as passersby like to ask, “Was she walking me?”

She began trying to haul me over when she saw another black standard poodle.

He was with his owner, not on a leash. When this dog saw us, he sat and looked back at the man. The man asked, “Can he say hello?” And when I said yes, he nodded to the dog and the dog walked to us.

But when he got up close to Lola, he growled at her. The dog, presumably taught this by his owner, didn’t like the way Lola was dancing around with excitement.

The owner asked me how old Lola is. (Answer: 8) His dog is 2.

“Oh,” he said, packing that syllable with as much disapproval as possible.

Clearly, Lola and I had just lost the dog-behaving competition.

But why did it have to be a competition at all?

I like that my kids play sports. But guess what I don’t like? The parents. I thought the school was kidding when it had parents sign an agreement that they would behave themselves. It didn’t work. You should hear what some parents yell from the stands. Horrible stuff screamed at children in public. And these parents are absolutely convinced that their child, if only they push them enough, is destined for the Olympics or the professional leagues. It’s bizarre and sad and horrible.

What’s worse is that same competition is well-entrenched in the classroom. I know one girl who just finished a high-school career of AP and honors classes. She hated her classmates, said that they’d be all over you if you made even the slightest error, telling you how stupid you are.

But those kids are just doing what they are being taught. Yuck.

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