First written on July 14th 2010 and published on The Suffolk Sports Forum
It’s sports day time of year and once again the country is divided. Competitive or non-competitive? What a lot of shite. Whose idea was it to introduce non-competitive sports days?
It’s political correctness gone mad. I understand that government do-gooders and liberal head teachers claim that taking part in traditional races can be difficult and often embarrassing for many children.
So what do they do instead? Stand around in circles holding hands? Jumping over sticks and crawling under chairs?
Mind you, crawling under chairs is not as inclusive as it sounds. What if a fat kid gets stuck under a chair? Maybe sitting on the sofa gorging on chips and pizza should be elevated to the status of a sport to include chubsters.
But then again this would exclude the anorexics. It’s a minefield when you think about it. Actually, as I recall, the fatties (me included) excelled in the traditional playground game of ‘bundle’, but I suspect that bundling won’t find its way into the non-competitive sports day roster.
I suffered many a school sports day humiliation Take the 100 metres or was it the egg & spoon race? I was trailing so far behind the rest of the field that I gave up and walked across the finishing line, much to the amusement of the spectators. Was I traumatised? Did I suffer any lasting damage? Do I wake up at night sweating and gibbering? (Okay, maybe I do but let’s not go there.) No, like most kids I was pretty resilient and got over it.
To some kids sport is the zenith of their school life. Excelling at football or athletics helps them come to terms with the fact they can’t understand Shakespeare (who can), do long division or work out what bit you need to cut off a frog in biology.
Schools have SATS nowadays which test kids on the academia side of school life so why can’t kids compete at sports? Music prodigies are hailed, talented artists are encouraged but excel at sport and it’s wrong.
This needs to change and soon. Some teachers and parents say that non-competitive sports days bring the children together and help them understand team work. Bullshit. It’s only teamwork when you can win something. I notice that some schools give medals to each and every competitor. That is utter tosh. 1st, 2nd and 3rd will do. Even then, 2nd is first loser.
Sport is inherently exclusive. It’s about running faster, jumping higher, and scoring more goals than your opponents. It’s tough on the losers and lard arses. But our children have got to learn to deal with life’s hard knocks. Bundle anyone?