Ooh I love a sports day.
I did as a kid. Athletics was my teenage life so of course school sports day was my time to shine. Even as a teacher sports day was a major fun day especially when you were good friends with the Head of PE...need someone to help measure long jump or tally scores? I'm your lady. I bowed to student pressure by competing in a few teacher's races; survived by never coming last or falling over in the home straight.
Work has always got in the way of me getting to see my own kids at their primary school sports days until this summer. I would finally get to witness the offspring at the starter's mark of their Olympic athletic careers, maybe.
Focusing on enjoyment and sportsmanship, I was initially crushed to discover that there would be no traditional top three placings at sports day this year. Instead the children would compete in teams within their own classes over a number of rotational events.
Now before you pooh-pooh all of this and start gnashing at the teeth about this isn't what real life is like, kids need to know how to lose (graciously) as well as win, how is this teaching children about sport (which is exactly everything I griped about when I first heard), let me tell you about what I saw.
On the whole I saw a bunch of kids running, jumping, throwing, spinning, cheering, laughing, protesting; it was all going on there wasn't any time for checking who came first. The difference here, from what we usually expect or see at sports days, was that everyone had a chance to succeed, everyone had to work together to complete events. It wasn't just a day where the fastest runners achieve and everyone else gets to sit and watch. It was a fun-day with points awarded for team effort, behaviour, support, teamwork.
On a glorious sunny day there were kids getting active and soaking up the fun in the last week of school with their teachers - for the year six about to leave, they will soon look back and long for the simplicity of primary school sports days.
And for those of you worried about future sports stars being squashed in the pursuit of inclusiveness; in a school year there are so many clubs, competitions and PE lessons for them to shine.
Having seen my three (over three separate sports days) get over the fact they wouldn't be able to improve on the firsts and seconds they received in previous years and actually just throw themselves into the new generation of sports day, I walked away happy... with two 1st and a 3rd place in the mummy's race...sometimes we need to stay serious about sports!