I’m the last person to get overly upset about the PC police. I’ve found that often when something is deemed “politically incorrect,” there is often a good reason. But even I think this is ridiculous. There are some changes being made to the rules of the Surrey Rugby union, part of the Rugby Football Union (RFU). The new rules state that kid’s mini rugby (which sounds like the most adorably violent sport ever) will no longer be able to play to win.

According to the rules, teams must also be “mixed ability” and be made weaker if they seem to be winning too easily. Oh yeah, and there must be “no overall winner.” WUT?What kind of messed up rugby rules are those? Obviously, since this IS rugby we’re talking about, people were furious. According to Simon Halliday, an ex-England International and board member at the Esher Rugby Club:

“We are appalled and have withdrawn from all Surrey rugby competition. In sport there are winners and losers. As long as you don’t demean the loser, it’s straightforward.”

This seems preposterous to me. I get that children’s sports often have scaled back rules to make it safer and easier for kids but to make winning and losing against the rules? Where is the sportsmanship in that? I get that “no score,” and “no winners” is a trend, but I think a huge lesson is lost when you start taking away the fundamentals of the game. Halliday is right, as long as the losing team isn’t humiliated or demeaned, then losing is just part of the sport.

Chris McGovern, the chairman of the Campaign for Real Education has the same opinion:

“This is a depressing confirmation of the stranglehold these misguided ideas have on our education system in the broadest sense, and it will betray generations of children.
“This is not in the interests of children. It will rob them of motivation and incentive, and does not prepare them for the real world.If you talk to five- or 10-year-olds they like competitive sport because children are naturally competitive.”

The RFU development director Steve Grainger made the point that the experience is supposed to be for the kids, and not driven by what the adults want, but come on? What kid doesn’t enjoy a little competition. We’re not talking the hunger games here, or even traditional rugby. This is mini rugby. The rules have already been made to fit young kids. Why take away the valuable lesson of winning and losing too?

Kids aren’t dumb. They will still be able to tell who is more skilled at the game and who isn’t. There will still be winners and losers, only without the structure of actual, decided winners to teach them humility and sportsmanship (along with a good coach who can guide them). I played various sports growing up. With the exception of volleyball, I was TERRIBLE at all of them. I lost constantly. But I learned to take defeat with grace and the few times I did win, I learned to do so with grace as well. Isn’t this the point of kid’s sports?