Sports Day Nightmares

Photo: My daughter Elsi’s first ever school sports day and she loved it!

Sports Day Nightmares…

“It’s all about sports day now isn’t it? That awful time of year when I, as an overweight and un sporty child, used to get so stressed, upset and even bullied as I was forced to take part in this annual ordeal which made me feel physically sick – from what I can see, it hasn’t really changed.

Let’s face it, sports day is the day for those competitive and naturally sporty kids to show off. It’s also a place where these sporty ‘I’m not competitive, but if you don’t win I will be disappointed forever’ parents, try to re live their own successes/ get over their own failures – I’ve seen them getting tangled up like a coiled spring if the child doesn’t live up to their expectations – nuts!

Don’t get me wrong, I agree 100% that all children should practice sports every week, it’s vital for the body as well as the mind, but what I don’t agree with is forcing all children to compete against each other against their will, when you know how upset and stressed it makes them. Take it from me, it’s not nice.

Last week I heard about a parent who collected their child from school before sports day had started, because that parent knew how upset their child had been about having to take part in sports day. I also spoke to a 5-year-old girl I know, and this week she’s been crying at home because she doesn’t want to go to sports day as she didn’t win anything during all the practices they’d been doing and she didn’t want to make her Mum and Dad angry! This is insane!

Schools seem to think that forcing children to take part will inspire kids who don’t really like sports, to fall in love with it, but the truth it, forcing them to take part in front of their parents and all the other parents, is in fact a really stressful and humiliating experience. Sports day made me hate sports until I left school.

It’s time to face the fact that all kids are not sporty, the same as all kids are not naturally gifted in music etc, so why should they be forced to compete in front of a crowd? They can still take part in the event, but if they really don’t want to compete, why not make use of their other skills and let them do the time keeping, serve the squash, hand out the medals, take photos and so on, this would make this nightmare of a day a far more pleasurable experience for all”.

Heulwen Davies, Mam Cymru.

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