I’m going to proclaim something that might seem a little brash. Here in Vancouver the only team that should be playing to win are the Whitecaps! It’s true, and it’s something that I’ve been wanting to get off my chest for a few weeks now.
The Vancouver Whitecaps are the only true professional team in our city, and therefore are the only team that has a responsibility to the fans, sponsors, and executives, where success should be purely result base driven. It’s pretty simply, if the team fails to perform things need to change.
Yes it’s always nice if your local professional club plays a beautiful brand of footy. We could talk about playing style till we’re blue in the face. But, at the end of the day, if your team wins everyone leaves happy.
The Whitecaps are the only team that should be playing to win because they are at the top of the proverbial pyramid in our city. Everyone else should be either playing to develop to a level where they are technically, physically, and mentally strong enough to get a chance at playing in the first team, or playing for all the other pleasures sport can provide.
What about our local Premier Men’s and Women’s leagues? They should be playing to win right?
I don’t want this blog to become an argument about winning versus losing, or the physiological ramifications of the latter. Everyone knows that losing sucks. What I would rather suggest is that even at the highest levels in our local leagues players should really be playing because they think it’s fun. Playing because of the comradery and what a team environment provides. Playing simply for the exercise and health benefits. Playing for the beers after the match. What I’m trying to say here is that playing only to win shouldn’t be an end in itself. Players should be playing for reasons other than simply winning a meaningless game in a non-professional league.
Let me dive into this further, citing from first hand experiences, when I played during my University days. I played University soccer at a school whose model of play was to basically kick it up to a big striker, win the knock downs, spray it out wide, then whip in a cross. It was an ugly brand of footy, picture a Big Sam team without quite the technical proficiency. Long story short, we played to win, and win we did. My team was winning all these games, but I wasn’t having fun at all. My soccer experience became engineered into something more like a math equation. So I left the team and didn’t play out my final year at the school.
What about our local youth level leagues? Surely in the High Performance league teams should be playing to win?
Again, I have to argue that kids should be playing to get something more out of sport. Learning values, becoming better people, and having fun are so much more important. There’s so much more to sport than winning. Yes, we all know that winning makes you feel good and that losing stinks. But there’s a huge difference between winning the right way, versus winning the wrong way. There’s also a huge difference between losing the right way, versus losing the wrong way.
With Play Better rewarding kids or adults for something other than scoring goals will provide a new kind of win. As a result, players will leave the field with their heads up regardless of the scoreline. Ultimately this will keep players in sports at all levels, because it keeps things fun.
If you want to discuss any of this further feel free to fire me off a message. Otherwise I’ll see you at the next Whitecaps match, hopefully they’ll get a win.
Go. Play Better