Why I Hate Sports Day

Children running in background

We’re on the home stretch of the summer term, which means long evenings, excitement about the holidays and sports day. My son’s sports day is coming up soon but I’m refusing to go. Why would I miss this pivotal moment of my son’s life? Well for a start, he’s in year one and I went last year. Also because I hate sports day. For many reasons. Here’s just a choice few:

Is it all about the taking part?

When I was at school we had sports day, that involved proper races and points for the houses that won. I knew that I could beat the girls in my house (whoop) but I wasn’t the fastest in my class (despite inheriting the family ‘hockey legs’). Nowadays there are no winners. My son’s class race in groups and there are no points. Are we teaching our children the right life lessons here? It’s a sad fact that life is about competition and there’s no escaping that. You wouldn’t get a certificate for being unsuccessful at a job interview. I have no issues at all with equality and diversity, but I feel that we should be teaching children how to deal with losing.

Plus it feels that it’s not OK to celebrate success any more, for fear of upsetting someone. I want to shout from the rooftops that my son is the fastest in his class. Not in a pushy, he’s the next Usain Bolt way. But in an I’m really proud, I must be doing something right as a mum way. It’s not just at sports day either, sometimes I feel that I have to downplay my children’s achievements, even at the smallest. I’m not shy about broadcasting their shortcomings though, especially when it comes to (lack of) sleeping.

It’s boring

You know you agree. There’s a lot of standing around waiting for things to start or for your precious cherubs to sit in a line. Then you have to clap along for everyone’s else little cherubs, whilst you wait a bit more. Then it’s over but you can’t leave yet because you have to watch for all the children to go back in their class.

Competition doesn’t stop with the kids

It doesn’t seem to feature at schools anymore but my daughter’s nursery sports day has a mum’s race. Which mums turn up to in trainers and proper sportswear, and start doing lunges on the sideline (wouldn’t want to jeopardize the marathon training programme darling). I took part once and was just pleased to not come last. It was not pretty. I won’t be doing it again. This is one instance where competition is alive and well.

The timing is stupid

Yes I know that teachers are ridiculously overworked and shouldn’t be expected to work after hours. But I’d bet you’d get a lot more engagement if it wasn’t 1.30 on a Wednesday. It takes out a whole afternoon. If I have to take leave from work I’d much rather it was for something that didn’t involve mindless small talk (or where I could actually cheer if my son won).

Photo credit ~ Sports day, Baltasound Junior High School cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Mike Pennington – geograph.org.uk/p/4002047

10 Replies to “Why I Hate Sports Day

  1. A great post. It did make me a little grateful that our primary school still like to celebrate the achievements. It is still all about the ‘taking part’ and everyone gets a sticker. However the house with the most points at the end of the day still wins a trophy and the members of the that house get medals. The only downside is that for me it takes the entire day away from work. KS1 is in the morning and KS2 in the afternoon. Although that does mean I get to enjoy a lovely picnic on the school field with the kids at lunch.

  2. I used to hate sports day but that was because I was a terrible athlete! I’m definitely all for a competitive sports day because it gives some kids a chance to be celebrated when they might not get that a lot. Some children may not be gifted academically and really struggle with what Mr Ofsted wants them to do but they may be really talented at sport and that should be really celebrated for them! #ItsOK

    1. Exactly! My son gets upset that he’s not the ‘cleverest’ but it’s hard to explain that there’s no rewards for running 🤔

  3. Haha, I intentionally wear heals to avoid the mums race! At our infant school, they don’t make a big deal about who wins but the kids know, at our juniors it’s a proper competitive affair with winners and house points which I think is right at that age.

  4. I hate it too, ours was supposed to be yesterday but was called off due to the rain so I was like YES but oh that means I still have it to come.. I hate it for the same reasons as you but also my son decides to go from ‘perfectly behaved’ (his teachers’ words) to a raving loony when I’m there, shouting, leaving his line and knocking over cones etc. ruining the activities. And then there’s my daughter. She’s 3 this year but trying to explain to a 1, 2 or 3 year old why they can’t just run and join in too is something I could do without for the best part of 2 hours on what’s usually a sunburn-hot day.

  5. I am totally with you! I spend 90 minutes yesterday morning watching my son run not very fast, jump not very high and throw beanbags not very far. He was having a whale of a time, but I was trying to do work emails while look encouraging.

    Worse still, his brother’s sports day was due to be today so double-work-skiving. Thank Christ it was rained off….! #itsok

  6. I have literally just got home from my kids ‘potted sports day’. what the hell even is that? It was 23 different stations where their teams of 8 were expected to do all the activities and score points. I have no idea what happens now – do the points go to their school houses, do they all get a medal? I have no idea. There wasn’t even accurate point taking. I’m very competitive so it made no sense to me, and my competitive children were BORED! I completely agree with you and have even written a long ranting post about why competition is good and necessary. #controversial in this day and age apparently. #itsok though cos I stand by my belief.

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