How Being a Good Loser is Easier Said Than Done


Have you ever played the game, Trouble? I’m the blue guys in the above photo. My 4 year old son is yellow. If you are familiar with this game you will know that I am getting destroyed in the match pictured. I couldn’t roll a 6 to save my life and he was swimming in 6’s and letting me know about it with an NFL style happy dance as they popped up.

Cute, right?

WRONG! As much as Daddy loves to play games with the kids, there is still that competitive fire that creeps in every now and then. That voice that calls out, “C’mon man! You used to be an elite athlete and now this kid is running all over you. Do something!” I’m not exactly sure what I was supposed to do in this instance, aside from yelling, “Look! Mickey Mouse!” while opening the dice container and placing it on a 6, but it was definitely a frustrating round.

Before this story gets out of control, I should point out that at no point did I let my son in on the fact that my head was exploding with the desire to pick up the game and throw it out in the snow, where I could then pretend that our snowman wanted to play with it. I’m not a monster, after all. The snowman, on the other hand…

I grew up as a competitive person and it has been the thing that has driven me for years. In sports, at work and even with blogging, my competitive nature is what pushes me to want to be better at everything I do and it’s not something I regret having. Now that I have kids, however, I need to work at finding the balance between competitiveness and fun. I wish it was something I could just turn off but it doesn’t seem to be working out that way. We played Mario Bros just last night and even though we were playing as teammates, my son’s need to get all the mushrooms, paired with his ability to stand directly in front of the television so I can’t see my guy, brought back memories of when I used to just smash my controller on the ground and then find something else to do until my parents bought me a new one.

Ironically enough, typing this post has given me a lot of perspective on the issue because, well, look how ridiculous it sounds while you read it back. It’s relatively easy to teach kids to be respectful and gracious when they lose at something but it’s not always easy to teach ourselves new ways of doing things. I’m working on it though and I’m definitely enjoying myself more and more as I suppress the need to win against my toddlers… It’s a good thing they can’t read our minds, that’s for sure.

Do you ever get the urge to flip the Monopoly board or turn off a game of MarioKart in mid stream? Please share your thoughts in the comments so I can feel better about myself.


6 replies
  1. Carter
    Carter says:

    FIFA 13 on PS3 is a guilty pleasure, and if I lose online to one of the pimple-faced college kids who play that game professionally (OK, maybe only semi-professionally), I feel like chucking the game controller through the TV screen. I won’t do it, of course, but I do have to fight that urge every now and then. I’ve seen the competitive juices flow with my 7 YO in real soccer, and during family board games, but so far he and his brother seem much more level-headed about it than I was at that age.

  2. daniel
    daniel says:

    It’s a tough balance to strike. It also depends on the kid. At times, the more competitive the kid is, the more it brings that out in you as a parent as well. Sometimes it is best to remember the wise words of C-3PO – “Let the Wookiee win.”

  3. Martina
    Martina says:

    I wouldn’t dare play MarioKart against my kids hah. You reminded me of a time my friend and I were playing Clue with my Dad. He accused us of cheating and flipped the board.

    I say they’re smarter than we give them credit so don’t just ‘let’ them win 🙂

  4. Justin-Writing Pad Dad
    Justin-Writing Pad Dad says:

    When I read the title to this post, I assumed you were talking about teaching your kid to be a good sport! Your line about using the snowman as an excuse for throwing the game out into the snow cracked me up! Since I live in Southern California, I won’t be able to steal that one!
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  5. jetts31
    jetts31 says:

    Sometimes I have to catch myself and ease back. I try not to let them win too obviously or I don’t go full tilt. Its a balance of them feeling good (and rubbing it in my face) that they won and understanding defeat. Then again, sometimes they just blow my doors off which my ego hates.


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