Ineffective Argument in Jessica Statsky's Essay, Children need to Play, Not Compete

Ineffective Argument in Jessica Statsky's Essay, Children need to Play, Not Compete

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Jessica Statsky, in her essay, “Children need to Play, Not Compete” attempts to refute the common belief that organized sports are good for children. She sees organized sports not as healthy pass-times for children, but as onerous tasks that children do not truly enjoy. She also notes that not only are organized sports not enjoyable for children, they may cause irreparable harm to the children, both emotionally and physically. In her thesis statement, Statsky states, “When overzealous parents and coaches impose adult standards on children's sports, the result can be activities that are neither satisfying nor beneficial to children” (627). While this statement is strong, her defense of it is weak.
One of the assumptions Statsky makes is that, “One readily understandable danger of overly competitive sports is that they entice children into physical actions that are bad for growing bodies” (627). This statement rests on the assumption that children would not perform any “physical actions that are bad for growing bodies” (Statsky 627) without organized competitive sports. This is simply untrue. Children jump from swings, climb trees, skateboard, “pop wheelies” and otherwise put themselves in physical peril with alarming regularity. Children’s free and unorganized play often results in broken bones and stitches, even for the most timid children.
Statsky also makes another faulty assumption, which is that competition is an adult imposition on the world of children’s play. She says in her article, “The primary goal of a professional athlete – winning – is not appropriate for children” (629). Children compete to win in the same way that adults do, and they do so on their own without any adult pressure. Common playground gam...

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...petitive sports can cause lasting harm and have no benefits for these children (Statsky 627), then examples of how childhood competition negatively affected individuals years after the fact would go a long way to proving her accusation. As Statsky's thesis rests on the assumption that adult imposition of competition and organization in children's sports makes the games neither satisfactory nor beneficial to the children, then lack of benefit must be shown along with lack of satisfaction. The existence of unsatisfied child athletes in organized sports is no indication that children are somehow unsuited to competition and team sports.

Works Cited

Statsky, Jessica. “Children Need to Play, Not Compete.” Reading Critically Writing Well: A Reader and Guide. Ed. Rise B. Axelrod, Charles R. Cooper, and Allison M. Warriner. 7th ed. Boston: Bedford, 2005. 627-631.

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