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.
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).