My daughter has recently started playing AFL. I’m quietly stoked – she’s a real girly girl and quite a sensitive soul, so anything that encourages her out of her comfort zone and into the challenges of team sports and working with others gets a massive tick in my book!
You know what doesn’t get my tick of approval? Points caps.
A controversial, mid-season rule change has been introduced in Victoria for junior matches in the Victoria’s Riddell District Football League.
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Since hearing about the change – which will see scores capped in games where one team is winning by a huge margin – I have spoken to a number of parents about it.
And I have struggled to find a single person who agrees with it!
“The margin is capped at 80 points in under-16s, 60 points in under-14s and 48 points in under-12s, which aligns to the length of time played in each of those age divisions,” says RDFL operations manager Steve Williams.
This makes no sense. Not in the slightest!
If a team loses a game by 40 or 50 or 60 points, they still know they’ve been thrashed. No ego damage is saved by capping the official scores – they’ve still lost by a whopping big margin.
So what is the benefit of points capping, then?
And how are kids going to learn? About real life? About competition? About losing? About resilience?
These are all really important lessons for kids to learn!
We don’t always win; learning how to cope with that disappointment, and processing those feelings of frustration without becoming a sore loser, is part of life.
It’s also really important to acknowledge when your competition has done an awesome job. Why are they beating you? How can you learn from them? What can you do different to improve?
Points capping to save kids from embarrassment seems misguided and let’s be real: we’re talking about teenagers, not 6-year-olds.
Furthermore, shielding kids from the “realities” of does them no favours, as far as I’m concerned. If anything, it does them a disservice – as competition, winning, losing and everything in between can serve up life lessons that build character and prepare us for the real world.