How Can We Think About Children Confronting the Dark Side of Human Experience?

The science of the game hinges on the fact that the link between the skill of the players and the outcome of the game is neither fixed nor completely random. In this, the case mirrors human life in many important aspects. For example, the odds that a human being will live to be 80 years old are known at birth based upon gender, social class, time, and place. The odds are particularly good if you are a female born in the twenty-first century in a middle-class family living in affluent First World country and rather poor if you are a female born in a destitute family living in a village in Bangladesh or some other Third World country. But odds only apply to large numbers of multiple events and never completely account for outcome.

From a subjective human studies perspective, the soccer game (like each of our lives) is about each contestant’s specific experience and what it means to that individual. Some kids are more coordinated than others, but whether or not this translates into a goal or a winning game is not known in advance.

The other biographical dimension of the game lies in the fact that the significance of the playing and whether or not you win the game depends upon who you are as an individual. Thus, for a child with parents who seek their own gratification in their child’s athletic performance, for a child of low self-esteem or for one with intense emotional investment in being a winner, the stakes are high. For another child the result may be trivial in comparison with the pleasure of playing the game and being part of a team.


Human Experience World Country Dark Side Refugee Camp Empirical Reality 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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