Should we be removing competitive sports from School Sports Days?

Hi guys,

Today is a bit of a rant, sorry, I have warned you though. I wanted to discuss the oddity that has now become of the modern-day school sports day.

What has happened to the good old-fashioned egg and spoon race format? Where are the sack races and my personal favourite the three-legged race? Gone apparently if today’s events at my kids lack lustre sports day is anything to go by. This probably is going to sound terrible, but as a spectator, us parents were all bored rigid. Instead of cheering our kids on as they took part in fun competitive races we stood bemused watching them all take part in activities such as throwing a ball round a circle. Even the kids couldn’t be bothered to participate towards the end, they were bored and started to mess about.

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We had a new headmistress join the school this year, and to be honest there have been a lot of changes within the school. This one though took all us parents completely by surprise as nothing was communicated to us about the changes to the sports day. Traditionally the school’s sports day was a good old-fashioned style competitive race format. Both the kids and parents loved it, it was a very noisy affair with all the kids happily cheering on their class mates. The winner was congratulated by their peers as if they had won a medal at the Olympics.

Sadly it seems more and more that certain aspects of life are being dumbed down for our kids, with any opportunity to remove the risk of failure and disappointment being removed. I think kids need to learn what it is like to fail, otherwise how are they going to cope when thrown out into the real world? Not everyone is going to get that dream job first time round, or be amazing at everything they attempt to put their hand to. When it came to learning to drive it took me three attempts before I passed. Having  been rubbish at sports day though I’d experienced failing on a regular basis, as an adult I can accept failure with good grace. I went back and tried again and again until I passed. Having experienced failure it just made the feeling of success more euphoric.

Even if I was rubbish at sports day it didn’t mean I enjoyed it any less, falling over leg tied to your best friend was part of the fun. It would be met with hysterical laughter and resolution to just crawl to line together.  I know not every kid is going to see the funny side of a situation, and get upset but unfortunately at some point in  we are all going to have to learn to deal with situations not going our way. With experience though we learn to shake off the disappointments and move on.

I know I would much rather sit and watch my kid try their best at the egg and spoon race and not necessarily winning than be subjected to the benign experience that was today’s sports day. I asked my kids if they enjoyed to and they both preferred the old format. Bizarrely for boys, they are both very good at the skipping race, and do actually place. In a flat sprint though they are usually not so good. That’s okay though we can’t be good at everything.

How did you feel about your own school sports day? If you have kids what sort of format do have where your children go to school? I’d love to here your thoughts on this?

One thought on “Should we be removing competitive sports from School Sports Days?”

  1. When I was at that school they attempted this (calling it something different other than sports day) instead and I was bored out of my brains! I much preferred ‘proper’ sports day and I was terrible at it! I never won anything but I loved cheering on my friends and it taught me to celebrate the achievements of others!


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