Lose at all costs

Well, what a summer it's been, with London 2012 being a spectacular success in both paralympics and olympic events wowing the world, Andy Murray on the cusp of greatness, plenty of golf, cricket and even a presidential election (surely the biggest 'sport' in America) to get excited about and England's love affair with football on the wane as every other sport in the world seems to be better and more honourable and above all else teaching us that Britain can actually win something.  Anything!

It brings to mind something I read a long time ago about the British spirit of sportsmanship and fair play, and that it is the taking part that counts.  Now, even the government has pledged to introduce competitive sport at almost every level in schools, the mid-life crisis now apparently involves lycra and expensive bicycles rather than sports cars.  Everyone wants to win!

I am greatly encouraged by this because I enjoy sport very much and I want to see Britain on top of the world in sport, not only for my own entertainment, but also for my children.  Ahh, what a wonderful future awaits them.

There is one small problem however.

L is a creative kind of guy.  He loves nothing more than a new set of lego or some Fimo and to set his mind free to create something beautiful, thoughtful and spectacular.  As most 7-year old boys do though, he also loves computer games.  And this is where the problem lies.  A problem I am concerned about for the future.

You see, on his own, he is great, he loves playing on his DS, out iPhones, my iPad or the Wii, even the Nintendo 64 is enthusiastically received.  But throw in another competitor and the fun drains out like the water from a giant paddling pool after a big fat guy tries and fails to leap over the side.  Yes, he got £250 from 'You've been framed', but it would have taken a long time before he saw the funny side I am sure.  (And have you seen how expensive those giant pools are?!).  For L, this is often H, or myself.  As soon as things look like they are going awry, say 30 seconds into a race in Mario Kart and a giant chomp gets him, his frustration boils over rapidly.

This boy either has a will to win at all costs, or simply cannot accept any defeat.  Even the prospect of defeat triggers a tantrum within seconds.

So, I wonder what happens at school when playing football or tennis, or when he plays with his friends.  I have mentioned before about his desire to direct the action.  This will to win is more destructive.

So, I don't really know how to deal with it - whether to try and help him control his temper as he plays, heading off tantrums with positive comments, or whether to avoid it all together?  As the government's pledges come to reality, he will be encouraged to win.  He will be happy to win.  But what happens when he doesn't?

I don't know whether he will learn and get used to it - history over the past fw years suggests perhaps not - or whether he is destined to be labelled a sore loser by his schoolmates as he throws tantrums, racquets, footballs around the playground.

It's another thing to work on I think, but in the meantime there is one lesson to learn for anyone playing with L at anything.

Lose.  Lose at all costs!

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