First written on July 14th 2010 and published on The Suffolk Sports Forum
It’s that time of the year again – sports day. And once more, the nation is split – competitive or non-competitive? What a load of nonsense. Who thought it was a good idea to implement non-competitive sports days? Its 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.
What alternatives do they have? Do they simply gather in circles and hold hands? Perhaps they play games like jumping over sticks and crawling under chairs, although the latter may not be suitable for everyone. It could be problematic if a fat kid were to become trapped under a chair. Perhaps lounging on the couch and indulging in chips and pizza should be considered a sport to include those who are overweight. However, this would not be inclusive for those who struggle with anorexia. It’s a delicate balance to consider. I do recall as a fat kid, I excelled at the classic playground game of “bundle”, but I doubt it will be included in the non-competitive sports day lineup.
I experienced various humiliations during school sports day. Whether it was during the 100-meter race or the egg and spoon race, I always found myself trailing way behind the other competitors. Once, I even gave up and walked across the finish line, which caused quite a bit of laughter among the onlookers. Despite this, I wasn’t traumatised or left with any lasting damage. I was resilient and able to move on from those experiences.
For certain children, sports represent the pinnacle of their academic experience. Achieving success in football or athletics provides them with a sense of fulfillment in light of their struggles with subjects like Shakespeare (which is difficult for most people), long division, or dissection in biology. While modern schools evaluate students on their academic capabilities through SATs, there should also be opportunities for athletic competition. Despite the recognition given to musical prodigies and talented artists, excelling in sports is often frowned upon. This is unjustifiable.
This must be changed soon. Despite claims from certain teachers and parents that non-competitive sports days promote teamwork and unity among children, I disagree. True teamwork only exists when there is a chance to win. Some schools even award medals to every participant, which I find ridiculous. Only 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place should be recognised. However, even coming in 2nd means you’re the first loser. Sports are inherently exclusive, with the focus on outperforming your opponents. It can be tough for those who lose or are not as physically fit. Nevertheless, our children must learn to handle life’s challenges.