The lessons team sports teach kids are exponentially beneficial – physically, emotionally and psychologically. Michael Clarke, who is arguably one of Australia’s best batsman, knows all too well about the highs and lows of winning and losing. Under his captaincy, he led the Australian Cricket Team to victory on many occasions and was celebrated as a national hero. But after a series of losses, he handed in his resignation as captain in August this year. But that doesn’t mean he has thrown in the towel. Oh no. In fact, he’s learned a thing or two about the art of handling loss on a much grander scale, on an international level. So who better to teach children about key qualities such as sportsmanship and fair play than Clarkey?
In his role as ambassador for the MILO Valuable Player program – a national search for children between 6 and 12 for the Face of MILO, had a core message to hit home: Sport is not just about winning – while wins are great to celebrate, just as important as this is learning from losses, and demonstrating important values such as teamwork, sportsmanship, commitment, leadership and confidence – and how these skills are important life skills both on and off the field.
After an extensive search, the five Faces of MILO were hand-picked by Michael and flown to Sydney for the official announcement. There were five winners, three boys and two girls aged between seven and 12, who represent a range of sports including netball, soccer, cricket and Aussie Rules. Here, three winners of this round share their experiences on how sport helped hone in on these skills. And Michael Clarke reveals the skills sport, and in particular, team sports, taught him…
Q. What important lesson have you learnt from losing on field?
A. Michael Clarke: “That not performing or losing makes you cherish the good times even more! Losing in sport is a good life lesson – in life, you will always go through good times and tough times, and it’s how you deal and respond to these that matter. That’s why a program like MILO Valuable Player that focuses on values of teamwork, sportsmanship, positivity, confidence, leadership and commitment is an important way to teach kids that sport and consequently life is not always about winning. And rewarding fair play is the best way to do this.”
Q. What about losing off the field? What have you learnt from that?
A. Michael Clarke: “You learn to accept in sport that there can only be one winner and that this translates in life as well. As long as you do your best and apply yourself to everything you do you can keep your head up.”
Q. What have you learnt through teamwork?
Millie Black, 11, NSW MILO Valuable Player Winner: “Teamwork is really important because it’s easier to go further if you are all playing together and trying your hardest. My team mates are all my friends, which motivates me to do my best – whenever I am feeling down or not having a great game, my team always helps in getting me back up and motivating me and I do the same thing to my team mates when they’re feeling down too.”
Q. What does sportsmanship mean to you?
Jai Cahill, 10, WA MILO Valuable Player Winner: “Sportsmanship means always being a good sport, being polite and keeping your head held high, win or lose. I got nominated for the MILO Valuable Player Program because of my sportsmanship, because I always thank the umpires and the coaches, and I always shake everyone’s hands.”
Q. How has sport helped build your confidence?
Olivia Dowd, 12, SA, MILO Valuable Player Winner: “I’ve been playing netball for four years now, for two clubs and my school. When I first joined my clubs, I was very shy because I was new, but because I love netball so much I stuck to it which means I’ve made friends with everyone and feel more confident when I play. I also practise a lot and have improved my skills, which has also helped my confidence when I play!”
Q. What does being a leader mean to you?
Millie Black, 11, NSW MILO Valuable Player Winner: “Being a leader means always putting your team first and being loyal and positive to your team.”
Jai Cahill, 10, WA MILO Valuable Player Winner: “Setting a good example for your team mates and making sure everyone is okay.”
Olivia Dowd, 12, SA, MILO Valuable Player Winner: “Always motivating your team mates and staying positive, even if you are not winning.”
For more information or tips for kids and spot, visit MILO Valuable Player program.