Dear Editor: We won't be a great nation until schools in this country promote and develop more cooperative activities in schools. Can you imagine the brainpower it takes to develop a game to work together for a common goal that's fun to play and competitive?

So many of the contact sports our precious children play today use skills like tackling, pushing, blocking, outrunning, intimidating, yelling or punching each other. Our kids have to pad up, put helmets on and wear face masks and mouth guards. What are we teaching our kids? It sounds more like training for the military or combat instead of more valuable skills we need in America of cooperation and working for a common goal.

Competition is a vital part of a child's life skills. It's a vital part of the American way of life. Long live competition! No, not every kid will get a medal for just participating. But lets take the brutality and overemphasis of "Us vs. Them" out of the picture.

Cooperative sports develop interpersonal skills, are goal-oriented and promote the well being and skills of every player. Imagine a game where unathletic kids can participate and contribute their creativity or math skills to a game. We would see a much more balanced level of participation from all members of the school body. We could see not just the best athletes in schools but all types working together. Think "The Goonies!"

I have to wonder whose needs are being met in contact sports? Certainly the industry that surrounds the sports make tons of money off of parents. Is the child always being considered? Is the sports budget at school in balance with the science programs or history classes?

A more cooperative approach to activities for children could be so much more fun to watch. The possibilities are endless and unique.

It's disturbing to watch the chants, jeers and cheers of contact sports. We've heard so many stories of parents getting too worked up at their kids games or practices.

Imagine the back pages of the newspapers with cooperative sports. It just might change the world.

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Mary Peterson-Smith

Richland Center

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