Lebanon, NH, USA
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Joe plays sport X. His friend asks him, Hey Joe, are you going to enter the X tournament next week?
No, he replies, I don't play competitively, I just play for fun.
Have you ever heard this snippet of a conversation before? I have heard it many times. The funny thing is, if you just heard the phrase, I just play for fun out of this context it would sound pretty obvious, because play activities are of course designed to be fun. Or are they? Does everyone find it fun to compete? Clearly the answer is no.
But it is not just the bigger, formal meets, races and tournaments people are avoiding. Many people avoid competitive sports altogether. Why? Are they lazy? Too busy to exercise? Don't like to be around other people? These may be the reasons for some people, but I think for many others the answer lies in the competitive nature of traditional sports.
In today's world, we spend most of our time competing. From an early age, we are told that only the best students get into the really good universities and that when we graduate, that only the best will land the job of their dreams. We use the phrase get ahead interchangeably with succeed. So when it comes time to play, it should not come as a surprise that many people choose not to participate in competitive sports. They simply need a break from the pressure and stress of competition. In their precious leisure time, they want to play with their friends as partners, not rivals.
Cooperative Sports allow you to play with other people and stay physically fit without spending your leisure time in competition. In sport, Pure Cooperation = Pure Fun!
In Cooperative Sports, each team can be made up of a diverse group of boys and girls, women and men of various levels of athletic ability. This makes it easy to form teams made up of the people that are available to play. Each team member contributes as much as they can, (which is always enough) as the team discovers its strengths and weaknesses and learns to use them to its advantage. There is no way you can lose! Each time a team plays, it tries to better its past scores. As long as the team as a whole is improving its athletic and/or cooperation skills, they will see some improvement from game to game. In sport, Pure Cooperation = Pure Flexibility!
Since having fun is the most important thing in Cooperative Sports, players will be encouraged to play lots of them. Specialization is the dominant theme of the working world, but variety is the spice of life! Each game provides different athletic and cooperative opportunities and challenges. The newer you are to a game, the greater your potential for improvement! In sport, Pure Cooperation = Pure Variety!
In sport as in business, education or in our homes, we need ways to measure our progress so we can better understand what works well and what does not. This is one of the best aspects of traditional sports: they provide an environment where we can strive for excellence. Cooperative Sports provide this feedback via scoring systems that measure your teams athletic and cooperative skills. The higher the score, the better your team did. When your team plays again, it tries to better its score, or at least stay above the average score for its last few games.
Scoring systems automatically enable competition, even if the teams involved are playing at different times or places. For example, relay race teams require good cooperation to excel. The reason this sport is competitive and not cooperative is the social environment in which is is played. Relay race teams certainly try to better their past records, but those times are also formally recorded, published and compared against their rivals. In the end, the team with the lowest lapsed time wins. When a team really wants to win in this environment, it will do best if it keeps its secrets of success to itself. This limits the development of our athletic and cooperation skills.
In Cooperative Sports, we compare our new scores to our own teams past scores. But importantly, we also combine our teams best score with the best scores of other teams to create a sport-wide best score average that everyone can work to improve together! When you get together with players from other teams, you have a real incentive to help them improve their game. Thus, we provide an environment of Pure Cooperation. In sports, Pure Cooperation = Pure Excellence!
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Lebanon, NH, USA
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Copyright © 1996, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2009 David Gaia Kano
3/17/2009 page version