Ok, I know this title will have readers turning their nose up before we even begin. I know this is an unpopular opinion, as each person I’ve had this conversation with has disagreed wholeheartedly. The thing is though, I just don’t like sports day. In fact, I hate it. No, it’s not because I’m rubbish at sport, I’m actually pretty good. It’s also not because I’m unfit, I’m really not. I’m not a stranger to exercise, I think it’s a very important part of life and I do think sports should be celebrated in schools. I just can’t stand the forced competition of sports day.
I know, I know. I’m a total party pooper. I’m the parent that’s spoiling the fun for her kids. Just bare with me a minute though and picture this; a sports hall packed full of of three and 4 years olds, each bringing with them about 3 generations of ‘support’. The immediate race for a school bench on the front row, parents giving each other the side eye and immediately disliking the person who got there first. A room full of knackered toddlers and tired out teachers ready to make them compete against against each other, for the amusement of the parents who are probably still falling out over seats. If you think this sounds fun, you’re a better person than me.
Life isn’t always about competition –
I’m told that sports day is so important because it sets the bar for life. Children need to learn how to thrive and how to come out on top. They also need to learn disappointment and the fact that life can be a bit rubbish sometimes. I do agree that they need to experience all of this, I just don’t believe that a room full of screaming adults is the best place to start dishing out life lessons.
The thing that bothered me most about sports day at my daughter’s school, was the sheer lack of self-awareness displayed by the majority of adults in the room. It went from being ‘fun’, to being forced competition in a matter of seconds. Parents were literally shouting at their children to run faster and amazingly, were unable to hide their disappointment when they lost. Oh but if they won, well you’ve never seen a celebration like it. In my opinion, setting a very poor example for their impressionable offspring.
Like I said, I do think sports are a good thing and I think there are ways to enjoy them together. I just can’t grasp why, in 2018, we still force our children to compete against each other from such a tender age. I don’t see how it benefits them and frankly I think it brings out the worst in many parents.
The trouble is, that the kids seem to love sports day. They absolutely lap it up and leave with huge smiles across their faces. Mine included. So it would seem that I need to settle myself in for the next decade of forced competition sports days. It appears that I’m among the minority.