Sports Day

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?


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The Importance of Sports Day (When Done Properly) - Honest Mum


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7 Responses

  1. Bubble Soccer

    Football and epistemology. I love it. The connection is so obvious you wonder there is not a whole literature on the subject. Further evidence of how the academy and the people who gather to watch the Super Bowl over chips and beer can lose track of one another. I say if we are serious about praxis — i.e., scholarship that stands a chance of helping the world become a little more reflective and honest — we need to pay more attention to things like instant replays and sports bloopers. Nice work, Harper.

  2. lisa

    I hadn’t had them in so long, and thought they would be so fun for the kids as a special treat. But now I just picked up another box…for myself! And I might share with the kids, too… :)Bubble Soccer

  3. Mobile App

    Thank you for explaining this. I actually have a bottle of turmeric that a brand sent me – different brand than this and I have used it before workouts but I have no real clue how it works or what it does. Now I know!! I have never played broom ball but that looks pretty fun!

  4. fussball wetten

    I always say I wish I’d discovered yoga when I was still competing in sports. It has taught me more about breathing and body control than all the gymnastics and high jumping ever did. There are great strength and injury-prevention benefits, but I think the breathing and mindset benefits are even more powerful for an athlete. And the awareness is starting to grow….I see articles every couple of weeks about high school and college teams, as well as pro athletes, who are incorporating yoga into their training. When I lived in Denver, I worked with three different college teams, and that was about 7 years ago. It’s happening! Athletes see the potential.

  5. Laura Bovington

    One of our schools we attend have a fun games morning for sports day and then the traditional competitive races/field events in the afternoon. The day runs smoothly and they do give out medals in the afternoon. I love the structure of the day and I completely agree that the competitive part of sports day shouldn’t be discouraged. PS; parents race should definitely be part of the day!

  6. Sophie Le Brozec

    I think sports day is good and important, although in Mauritius it’s held on a Saturday which I find is tough on kids and adults alike. 5 year old Clémence competed in a running race and was so pleased at the end, until she realised there is no medal for 6th place (out of 8). As she cried her heart out on my lap I consoled her by telling her that she’d done better than her mummy who always came last (no Sporty Spice here!), and that I was sooooo proud of her.

    In my Life Reboot Camp I teach that we shouldn’t shy away from fear and that failures are better than successes as we learn so much from them. So I was happy to be able to share a life lesson with her.

    I don’t have a “got to win” mentality as I’ve never won anything like this, and I think it makes me a happier person in general as I get to enjoy the participation, without the all or nothing that comes with a desperate desire to win. (I’ve seen this end in tears so many times – in adults and kids).

    Great post lovely xx
    Sophie Le Brozec recently posted…Why it’s time to put social media down and pick up a book (and the 47 books I read last year)My Profile

  7. Linsy

    Definitely keep! I agree with all of the above and had a lovely time at my kids sports day today. But sack off the egg and spoon race lol. I saw tears from those that couldn’t keep it on and winners who kept it on with a thumb haha. Way to hard to police 🤣


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