Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sore losers

Lisa has a couple of girls in her soccer league that are real brats. They gloat when their team wins; they scowl, kick things and blame team-mates with their team loses. Their parents sometimes try to reign in their behaviour, but more often than not, these kids’ attitudes are chalked up to “intense personalities” or “fiercely competitive”. You probably know how I would cure these brats, but I’ll tell you anyway: I would not let them play. It would start with pulling them from one game, but if they kept it up, they would be pulled from the season.

I think all kids want to win. Each of my kids has cried because they have not won a board game or a round of checkers. The first time it happens, they get a talk about being a sore loser. The second time it happens, we stop including that kid in the game. It doesn’t take much to train them to be good sports.

It’s a valuable life lesson that not everyone learns. I’ve had encounters with the following grown-up sore losers just in the last year:

*A medical professional in his mid-40’s vying for retail space on campus who low-balled his rent offer and was not granted the space. He thought it was unfair that I didn’t inform him that his offer was lower than the winning bid so he could adjust his offer. There was yelling involved (by him – I’m not a yeller).

*A job candidate in his mid-20’s who was turned down for the position. I spent about 10 minutes with him by phone talking about his interview and offering tips and advice for future interviews. That night (when he knew I wouldn’t be in the office to answer the phone) he left me a voicemail message telling me that I had made a misinformed decision, one that I would surely regret. He added that I shouldn’t come begging him to take the job when my candidate of choice failed to pan out. No problem.

*A furniture salesperson in her early 50’s who has been given over $200,000 of business from me in the past 3 years, but missed the mark and was not awarded a recent contract worth about $45,000. She criticized the competition’s product, questioned my ability to recognize quality merchandise and implied that I owed her something because of all of the work she had done for me in the past.

Not surprisingly, I treat these adult poor sports the same way I treat the kids: they don’t get to play anymore. The next time there is available retail space, medical guy will not be invited to bid. Job candidate guy will never work anywhere near me. And the furniture lady? I called the company’s owner and asked for a different rep… she will not get another cent of commission from me. Their parents really should have beat them at checkers more often.

9 comments:

Not Your Aunt B said...

No kidding. I like your approach. It's amazing how people think that is a good excuse for themselves or their children. Am totally going to steal your tip and maybe I'll use it on some of the moms I know!

Pickles and Dimes said...

I love that you called the company and asked for another rep - perfect. Some people's sense of entitlement needs to be given a reality check.

ccr in MA said...

I just have to say, I could not agree with you more. Amen!

Jess said...

This is amazing. Too bad nobody ever taught them that this wasn't OK. How scary that adult people think this sort of behavior is acceptable and will get them what they want.

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

Excellent, I have to say that I hadn't given much thought to this, but I am going to make it a concious part of my parenting. Yea you!
Hope life is treating you well, take care!

Astarte said...

I think it's appalling that so many adults seem to think that they are entitled to everything in the universe, and to dump on whomever is available when they don't get their way. Pathetic. I, too, don't allow my kids to act like that, and no matter how old they get, if I heard that they were acting like that, I'd STILL scold them. Sheesh.

Tess said...

Totally agree, and I'm completely over people using the "strong personality" defense for bad behavior.

Bette Creek said...

Whooohoo!! You go girl!! H - is a one of those personalities that had to have a talking to last year and earlier this season, and boy did she stop as soon as she realized I was going to yank her from her soccer season. Not another smart comment has been heard since. :)

Nowheymama said...

Excellent.