I've seen a lot of tennis matches live where kids play and they end up crying when they lose. Heard it too from my coaches' stories. I used to think, "Oh they're just kids being kids. You know, crybabies."
Of course. How could I not think that way? These kids that went and played at a tournament and cried when they lost ranged from age 8 to 12; you could probably find the 6 year-olds as well in their midst. And if kids around this age cry, my understanding is because they are kids--kids could cry because of every little thing. Like falling, for example. They cry not because of pain but because of the shock or the embarrassment. Or they cry when their mom deny their request for a Barbie doll.
So, when I saw them crying as they swallowed their defeat from the opponent, my mind went to this reasoning: they cry because they're kids. But I think I might've been wrong about it.
Recently I read Rafael Nadal's autobiography, titled very simply as "Rafa", and found out he used to cry too as a little boy when he suffered a defeat. One day he was crying so bad after losing a match, and in the book it was explained why. He cried because it was painful to lose. It was really painful for him to lose. And he just didn't like that feeling and that he didn't wanna feel it ever again. That's why he cried.
It never occurred to me that kids could cry because for them it really is an emotional pain when they lose. And I think these cases happen to the competitive bunch--these super competitive folks have difficulty accepting defeat.
Such perspective never crossed my mind because I have never cried after losing a match or a competition, even at the youngest of age. I remember my parents signed me up to a drawing competition, or a math competition, or a karate tournament and I lost. But I didn't cry. Never.
As I grew older, I participated along with my teammates on sports tournaments such as basketball or futsal, and we sometimes lost too, but I never cried. I never cried not because at this point I had grown older, but because I knew right away, and probably have always known, that my opponent at the time was better than me. That's why they won and I, or we, lost. Simple as that.
When I lost, I straight out admit that my opponent had a better game than me. And I'm talking about their experience, mileage, hard work, practice, desire--not talent--that surpassed mine which translated into them winning. So what's the reason to cry?
Things would be different though, if I ever feel I've given my all, gone for broke, and I wanted the win so bad but still couldn't get it. That's when I'll cry probably.
But that's how I, a person with laid-back personality and a fair view in life, process things. Obviously, these kids that cry after losses process it differently due to their competitive nature. And it's probably good for them--not the crying, but ultimately, the competitiveness. Why? Because, as I learn more and more about the history and characteristics of champions, I notice that these champions share one similarity: competitiveness. They just do not like losing; they probably hate it more than they love winning.
So, following this logic, if your kids cry after losses, maybe it's due to their competitive nature. And if they are competitive, congratulations, they already have one trait that the champions have.