My children have been participating in chess tournaments for a while now. When they enter one, we plan to stay for the entire event; we don’t bail 20 minutes early (before the awards) if they didn’t win one that day. MANY MANY parents do this! (“Oh, you didn’t win – let’s go.”) I’d put the parents who leave early if their kids didn’t win something into eHell, since it’s not sending the kids a good message. I’d consider it bad sportsmanship. Whether my kids win or lose, we stay until the end and applaud the winners. It’s not as fun for the winners if the crowd of 300 dwindles to 40 just before the awards. I understand that people are busy, but it’s only 20 more minutes, and these are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. events — 20 minutes isn’t _that_ much longer. It certainly doesn’t make my children feel badly to stay for the awards if they didn’t win; if anything, it encourages and excites them — “Someday that will be me!” They have come home after not winning and started working hard so they could win next time — and then they actually did win the next time, so it was a good life lesson all around.
The tournaments I am talking about are in our town, where everyone lives less then 30 minutes away from the site. But last year, our family went to a tournament in a city 90 minutes away, and yes, we still stayed to the end, even though my children didn’t win anything. I wouldn’t have felt like they had fully participated unless they had attended through to the end. Same goes for music competitions — we stay for the awards no matter who won (or didn’t). I just think it’s good form. And they DO get joy from applauding their friends. Many other parents seem to agree — we have a crowd of “regulars” who always stay to the end and cheer for each other’s kids — they all have their winning days and not-winning days, and they take it all in stride.
What do you all think?
(And these awards go 1st to 5th place, per grade level K-12, so about 60 awards are given out to 300 kids. It’s not like it’s just 1 award for 300 kids!) 1111-13