The mistake with the cheerleading issue -- as I see it and try to
understand it -- was made due to the actions of two leaders. First the
cheer coach, who was not involved with the selection process, however
advised the girls that they should have made it. All participants prior
to the tryouts accepted the process, however, when results of some were
not the results they thought they were entitled to, they question the
They first appealed to a coach who, instead of supporting the system
and teaching them to be gracious losers, intensified the problem, which
they told to their parents. It did not matter what the coach's opinion on
the situation was; she had no bearing on the outcome except to raise
expectations of those who did not make it. This action only seemed to
validate the parents' opinion of their daughters' entitlement to be on
The second leader, the principal, was also at fault. Instead of
teaching students and parents to accept and abide by the rules, he tried
to appease everyone. In all competition, there are winners and losers.
Everyone loves winners, however a gracious loser is a lost quality.
Leaders and parents who don't teach children how to handle adversity are
only setting them up for bigger disappointments in life when they have to
deal with reality in a real world.
Michael Jordan was cut as a sophomore from his high school team. That
only made him more determined to be the best.
[New England Patriots veteran quarterback] Drew Bledsoe was recently
quoted when he lost his starting job to Tom Brady and not grumbling about
it. "It's real simple. It's the way I was taught. It's the way I was
brought up. Handle yourself with dignity and self-respect regardless of
what the situation is. That's always the choice you have. You look at it
and do the right thing."
I only hope that parents and leaders today can still find these values
to be important, instead of winning at any cost.