This Pageant Family Really Blew It


boy_cryingMiss Meredith Sweetpea was sitting at a Little Miss and Mister pageant at the local county fair recently behind a family whose son was entered in the age 2-4 category. The family was intently watching, and of course, cheering on their young entry.

When the finalists names were announced, this boy was not among those on the list, and apart from the obvious disappointment any family feels when their own precious child is not deemed “most precious of all,” this family had a different reaction.

The father snatched up the two-year-old boy, stood up, and announced to the family (and all those around him) that he was leaving. He said, “Why should we sit here and watch other people’s children win?” And he encouraged the family to leave with him, right in the middle (and within sight) of the judging for the four finalists.

Of course, Miss Meredith Sweetpea was shocked. What happened to the spirit of competition? Do athletes stomp off the field when only one of them wins a relay, for example? No, they generally support the other players and congratulate the winner. It’s all in the name of “good sportsmanship.”

Let’s Support Good Sportsmanship

In good sportsmanship, the teammates, opponents, and officials treat each other with respect. They encourage and support each other as athletes, or in this case, contestants.

One of the brilliant things I witnessed when working with girls in the Miss America Pageant system was their ability to support, respect and honor each other throughout the pageant process. There may have been a few tears now and again when one was not chosen for a coveted title, but that girl always recovered and and offered a heartfelt and sincere congratulations to the winner.

Pageants are not the place to air your grievances or to create a scene when you or your child didn’t win. Their loss should have been accepted with grace and dignity. This family should have stayed to watch just who won, and offered their congratulations to the winning family. Who knows, they may have learned just why this child won and theirs didn’t so they could do better next year.

Children learn from their parents how to behave, so it worries me how this young child will grow up.

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