Posted by: Kate | September 3, 2009

You Might Have No Life Skills

There  is a new ad campaign going on in BC right now. It is from Kidsport, an organization devoted to helping kids who otherwise couldn’t afford it to play organized sports.

I have no problem with that goal. For those  kids who wish to play hockey or soccer or lacrosse, and can’t afford to, it is a great organization. However, their various ad campaigns have bothered me over the last couple of years. They have run a TV ad about children ‘on the sidelines’ if they don’t play organized sport. Now, they are running radio ads that claim you won’t have life skills if you don’t play organized sports. You can listen to those ads here (scroll down the page).

I find these ads incredibly offensive. I did do some sports in my youth, although not traditional team sports. I have very well-adjusted, interesting, successful friends who never played sports in their youth. I also have a sibling who played many organized sports very very well, and let’s just say that sibling’s life skills are not good.

I do agree that having an outside interest, being involved in something, can improve a child’s life skills. But it can be many different things depending on the child and his or her sensibilities and interests, and I don’t see that it has to be team sports outside of school. This ad campaign seems to be saying that unless you play sports seriously, you will never amount to anything in your life. It is something I would expect to hear from a private sports club, or perhaps a cheap morning radio show. But from a charitable organization?

Our students in BC have recently been mandated to spend more time in physical education at school, which is great. And if, as a society, we were to turn off the screens more and just let our children play, their coordination, health and ‘team skills’ would develop naturally, just like so many of ours did.

If sports is the thing that your child loves, great. And I do believe in keeping your children active, in whatever way you and your child decides is right for your family. But to say that unless a child plays organized sports that child will grow up into a non-functioning adult is no better than the high school football jock shoving the drama student into a locker. It saddens me to hear that from a national organization. We should be teaching our children better than that.


  1. “No better than the jock shoving the drama student into a locker”…good insight. It’s so true. Playground bullying, validated by being brought into the adult sphere.

  2. bravo kate.

  3. I totally agree. Well said.

  4. yes, very well said! And I had no idea I had no life skills…….

  5. I agree 100% I never played an organized sport, and I assure you, I am quite skilled at life. I am all for active kids, but it doesn’t have to be a sport. Besides, often the kids are playing to fill some need of the parent. Have you seen some of those people? Scary.

  6. Okay, sorry for the language but WTF? This may be the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in a long time. I played sports all through high school and college but I don’t think that is what gave me the life skills I have today. In fact, I think that sports often breed an unhealthy competitiveness among children and young adults, feelings of inadequacy (being ‘benched’ for not being good enough), and except for those that really excel, has the potential to cause more harm than good.

    Off my soapbox…well written post!

  7. That is really sad. Some kids–and I was one of them–are not blessed with natural sports skills. It wasn’t until as an adult that I found ways to get exercise that were actually enjoyable to me and didn’t involve competition. Promoting team sports as the “real” way to get exercise is just wrong.

Welcome! I always like to hear what people think of a post, it often leads to a great discussion! I am now responding to comments and questions right in the comments themselves, so other people can follow the conversation.

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