“News is anything that makes a reader say, `Gee Whiz’! “
– Arthur MacEwen, American editor
You may have heard or read about the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) news story on the youth soccer league in Midlake, Ontario, Canada which has decided that they want to improve the experience of the children playing on its teams. In order to achieve this goal, the league’s administrators have decided to eliminate what they consider to be one of the more damaging aspects of sports; that being competition.
Helen Dabney-Coyle of Midlake’s Soccer Association explained the objective this way, “This year to address some of the negative effects of competition, we’ve actually removed the ball. And the kids are loving it.”
(I added the emphasis)
According to the story, Helen went on to say, “By removing the ball, it’s absolutely impossible to say ‘this team won’ and ‘this team lost’ or ‘this child is better at soccer than that child. We want our children to grow up learning that sport is not about competition, rather it’s about using your imagination. If you imagine you’re good at soccer, then, you are.”
Here in the U.S., several major media outlets including The Washington Times and USA Today picked up the ball-less soccer story, running it in their print and on-line editions.
There’s only one small fly in this particular ointment. Nothing about the story is true. It was originally broadcast on the CBC’s “This Is That ” program which, by the way, happens to be entirely satirical in nature.
Sadly, I don’t find it surprising that so many people were hoodwinked into believing that this story was true. After all we do live in a culture which, far too often, is guided by ill-advised, but politically correct philosophies.
As an example, some school systems have eliminated the use of the letter grade “F” because it might serve to label particular students as not performing up to minimal standards. No matter that those students are in fact not performing up to minimal standards! We just wouldn’t want their egos damaged by their having to face the truth regarding their own lack of effort nor to hold them responsible for making an attempt to improve their study habits.
In the world of youth sports, political correctness is responsible for the now common-place practice of awarding every child on every team a trophy at the end of each season regardless of how they or their team performed. Apparently, it’s now considered bad form to only recognize the hard work and achievement of those teams and individuals who actually put in the effort to excel.
From my perspective, those individuals who are wearing their rose-colored, politically correct glasses fail to understand the simple and age old truth that when events are structured so that everyone wins, in actual fact, everyone ends up losing.
The winners soon learn that their extra effort gained them nothing at all. While the losers learn that little or no effort is required to achieve the same level of reward and recognition as those who did put in the extra effort required to achieve.
Hear that loud slamming sound? That’s everyone being forced to the lowest common denominator at exactly the same time.
But enough about programming subsequent generations into being under achievers who expect to be rewarded for their (lack of) effort.
The really sad thing about this story is that main stream media in the U.S. picked it up and reported it as being factual and newsworthy.
There was a time when news stories weren’t published unless the facts contained within them could be thoroughly substantiated by at least two reliable and independent sources. In those days, journalists actually worked very hard to vet, or to confirm, the truth of their stories before they were reported as being factual. Apparently those heady days of journalistic accuracy and excellence are going, if they are not already gone, the same way as the “F” letter grade and the awarding of trophies only to actual winners.
Even if The Washington Times and USA Today had just taken the time to have an intern Google “Midlake, Ontario“, they would have learned that the place simply doesn’t exist. Good job Main Stream Media. I’d give you an “F” on this one if that grade still existed.
Edward R. Murrow most certainly is turning somersaults in his grave.