There’s been a lot of debate recently as to whether schools should scrap Sports Day or not and I’m firmly in the camp of no they should not!
Instilling healthy competition in kids from a young age is vital and formative, in my opinion. It teaches children the important lesson of participation and equally pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, not to mention the benefits of exercise too.
Most importantly, Sports Day teaches children that they can’t always win at everything they take part in which is tough but crucial- and I say this as a former 4 year old who asked her tennis instructor how long it would take her to play at Wimbledon!
A recovering perfectionist (!) I know first-hand how difficult these ‘tough love’ lessons are-but I also know that they ultimately strengthen the morale and when executed properly are positive experiences for all involved.
Sports Day offers the important reminder that while yes, there will always be winners and you might not be one of them, it’s the participation that counts overall. It’s the growth made when you stand up and take part. It’s the insight that no one wins all of the time. These are formative lessons which will last a lifetime. Imagine quitting every time you fail? No one would get anywhere in life.
It’s consistently working towards goals and picking yourself up after failing and learning from mistakes or simply acknowledging that success is both relative, and takes time, that matters more. My own personal failings have taught me more than any award has.
Scrapping Sports Day or exams, or anything which challenges children is both unrealistic and unhelpful.
Competition shouldn’t be a dirty word either.
It encourages and inspires and losing in an emotionally safe environment at school is a healthy way to do it.
We operate in a competitive market. Children are being tested from Reception.
We all rely on education and our peers and role models to help propel our kids, and ourselves forwards. These lessons never end.
…My own children had their Sports Day on Monday and instead of individual races, the day was split into an assault course where the children had to work together in order to win, from kicking goals into nets or throwing soft javelins, with each School House competing against one another.
Each child had to do their bit, contributing to the overall results but the onus was on working as a team, and having fun.
Fun should be at the heart of Sports Day because competitive sport is fun. I love the challenges with my mates of FitBit for this exact reason.
In fact, my only criticism of the day, there wasn’t a parents’ race! I arrived kitted out as well!
Now, I fully understand that some children despise sport and many no doubt feel pressured to perform when it comes to to this annual event but equally many love sport too and whatever the position, we ALL have to take part in things we might not feel good at or enjoy. Passions shift as we grow too. My eldest hated football until this year and he’s now obsessed.
I despised maths as a child but I’m grateful I was pushed to do it as it’s now an integral part of running my creative business.
Children, like adults need to try many things and they need to persevere too.
I think Sports Day should stay.
What do you think?