There are a lot of moments in my days, when the attitudes and behaviour of people (ie. society, not necessarily individuals) leaves me ranting away to the nearest wall. Every now and then, though, something happens that actually leaves me speechless.
Such is the case when I hear a parent say "I don't want my son/daughter playing sports. I think it puts undue pressure on them, and competition is unhealthy."
That's right. I usually stand there and find my jaw hanging open before I'm able to close it. And while I'm loathe to ever judge something that many would consider strictly "opinion" rather than fact - I'm going to make the exception here.
If you're one of those people - you're wrong. And this is a fact.
Yes, depending on the coach/mentor/teacher, the competition can become an unhealthy one, just like the pressure can become unhealthy as well - but this is the responsibility of the parent to manage, this isn't an inherent part of sport itself.
Your child needs to play, and that's all sports is until they're in their early teen years. They need to run, jump, catch, spin, hide and throw, and they should be doing it for at least an hour a day. They need to learn how to work as part of a team, they need to learn how to find the inner strength to stop a breakaway, or drop the game-winning free throw. They have to learn what it's like to blow the critical triple lutz, then get up and finish the program with dignity. They need to understand how to forgive their receiver for dropping the perfect pass, and they need to learn how to shake hands in either dignified victory or gracious defeat.
Children need sport. If you are one of the people who thinks it's unhealthy, you need to stop passing your baggage onto the kids.
Put 'em in the game, coach.