And the rain stopped play – again!

Gawd!  Will it ever stop?  Once again, the rain has prevented my son’s school from holding its annual sports day. 

I was talking about it in our staff room today and one of the girls told us that she’d heard it said that children under six won’t be allowed to take part in competitive sports anymore because of the effect it has on them if they lose.  She was disgusted at this latest PC madness but I dunno.  Competitive sport is not always a positive experience for kids.  It can actually be quite traumatic.  Kids with existing low self-esteem can suffer a further plummeting of their confidence when they fail to keep up.  And not everyone is born to win.  Of course all children need to stay fit and healthy but they should encouraged to enjoy being active rather than come to dread every PE lesson or sports day because they are painfully self-conscious about their body image or they know they’re going to be ridiculed. 

Our school has never had the traditional sports day with the relay races, the egg and spoon races, the sprints and so on.  What they do instead is have an assortment of twelve mini obstacle courses positioned around the field.  They have twelve teams comprising of members of every school year and including every single pupil.   Each team completes an obstacle course and the team leader takes their score to the tally point.  Then each team moves along to the next course until all the teams have completed all the courses.  At the end, the scores are counted up to see how many points each team gained.

This style of school sports day promotes the team spirit/team effort ethos and is totally inclusive.  It gets rid of that “same old winners” syndrome whereby the same predictable star pupils win all the races, year after year leaving the little tubby ones or the shy, timid ones coming in huffing and puffing at the back and hating every minute of it. 

This formula does have a slight competitive edge which will satisfy the “Character Building” brigade.  The team with the most points at the end wins a little token prize and there are usually two runner-up prizes. 

So yeah, sure . . . a sensibly-managed level of competitiveness is good for kids but if we make the competitive aspect a positive experience for them and let them know it’s not all about winning, then I’m sure a healthy balance can be found.

Oh, and when I was a kid, sports day was NEVER cancelled, be it rain, hail or thunderstorm.  Pah!


2 responses to this post.

  1. I would advise physical exercise for all. Gymnastics is a good method to acquire self-assurance without having to compete with others for prizes.

    Those children with serious psychic problems may undertake gymnastics as the solution, its beneficial effects could be rapidly experienced.

    But physical exercise should always be in the Agenda of children. It is something inherent in our anatomy and contribute to a rightful formation of our psyche.

    Mens sana in corpore sano.


  2. Yes I agree Jose. Children are not physically active enough anymore. Gymnastics is an excellent form of excercise. It can be fast or it can be slow and stretchy. My favourite form of excercise is yoga but I love to walk – hill walking in particular. And I like to try to fit in a fast aerobic session to get rid of the tension.


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