Thursday, 25 June 2015

#BringBackRealSportsDays -An underwhelmed first primary school sports day


As you all know Alex is in  reception, and like many school this is sports day prime time.

I was really excited about it, I have to admit to being the kid at school who got excited about anything sport related as it was one of my big likes-and a chance to get away form the classroom!

Alex was excited too, now he doesn't go to any sports clubs as frankly we can't afford them so this was my chance to see him in some sporty action.

I even donned my trainers that morning just in case there was the all important Mum's race!

Now I arrived with my friend (whose boy is also in Alex's class), already it looked like nothing I remember our sports days being like.

There was a roped area in the middle of the field and activities set up around the edges. So basically all the parents were penned in like animals, desperately trying to get at the front to be able to see the children-which you first had to spot because they weren't going around in classes they were going in house groups of around 10 (KS1 and KS2 done separately)-cue lots of parents running around like blue arsed flies!

The roped area was just madness, especially with Sam's pushchair because
a. I nearly took everyone's ankles out
b. I couldn't follow Alex around well after every event as it was just chaos
c. Sam wanted to pull on the rope if we ever did make it to the front!
d. Some tall selfish Dad (I'm talking 6ft 3 plus) thought it would be great to get at the front every time and block a lot of the view for anyone trying to see behind him!

They had 5 minutes at each activity, now I thought that meant they had allowed enough time for it to be completed, but no they had to carry on doing that event until the 5 min whistle went off...I found this out after watching a bunch of 5-7 year olds stand behind one another passing a ball over their head, thinking that the first team that went full circle would sit down and be the winners and cheer-but no they carried on...and so we waited...

The kids were bored and and not even paying attention, in fact I spent most of those first 5 minutes watching one kid hold the ball above the head whilst the rest of line watched someone else, picked their nose or chat to the person behind them (the nose picker was embarrassingly my own)!

A few of the activities were quite underwhelming, we had to endure 5 minutes of them passing the ball through their legs with much the same result as passing it over their heads, try and watch 5 year olds skip with ropes that I thought looked far too small for even the shortest there, the dressing up race was a bit beyond some of them (including my son as the bibs they had to put on kept getting tangled up).

Now don't get me wrong there were some good activities too that were much more sporty, dribbling the ball, mini hurdles, putting/collecting bean bags from cones, dribble and hockey ball, the obligatory egg and spoon etc, but it is so hard to watch when there are no winners.

As a parent there really isn't much point in cheering, we all just spotted our child said well done 'insert name here', keep going team yellow...It really wasn't much fun and I was very underwhelmed.

And at the end of it they managed to pick a winner which I am very unsure of how they did it, unless KS2 had winners as of course I was only watching KS1. But my friend and I were a little baffled!

Now I remember at my old primary school even from the age of 4/5 in reception we had class events, and the winners would go to the headteacher in the middle of the school with a house colour tag in their hands and there would be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, each receiving a certain amount of points for their team, it would all be tallied up and there would be a big loud cheer for the winning team.

I don't remember there being many tears, people were happy, the children actually tried and wanted to win, the parents could actually cheer-and also be able to see and touch their own children without it being a problem! In fact we used to have a big picnic with the parents afterwards (or before I can't remember what time it was held) and stay in our P.E kits all day which is always a novelty at that ages-saved our parents having to worry about bringing the school uniform in too!

But this sports day there were no normal races on the track that was painted on the field. There were no parent races for the parents to get competitive over or the children to get excited and giggle over. There was no competitiveness, no cheers, no real excitement, no winners, no losers.

What sort of life lesson is that for children? Hell my two throw the biggest hissy fits when they loose a game at home, but I better they wouldn't so much at school. I think they need to learn they can't always be winners, that being a happy loser can be a good thing, that winning something you are good at can be euphoric.

There wasn't any chance for the sporty children to really succeed, and we all no that there is always at least one who may not be as academic but exceeds with sports. Where is their chance to shine? The academic children get it most days, sports day is just once a year...

Needless to say I left a bit flat and I am really hoping that there is a big change next year!


Out of interest what are your children's primary school sports days like?


  1. I totally agree with this post. Least at our school they haven't wiped out the winner and loser thing it's still got a slight competitive element to it. It's all roped off like yours and it's difficult for me to see unless I'm there early and on the ball with moving to the next game! Five foot one isn't a good height for these things! Xx

    1. It's just a little bit rubbish from how I remember the fun sports days back in primary school, funny/sad how much has changed in 20 years (I feel old saying that)! Haha try being 5 ft 0 ;) xx

  2. This sounds very similar to my son's, although they did their activities at different stations around the field and the parents followed them around, changing between them every few minutes. It was vaguely competitive, but by team not individual child and the only winners announced were the colour group that had won the most points (out of four). They did finish with a running race though, they'd chosen the fastest couple of runners from each class by running heats at school in the week before, and then those children raced to see who was the fastest. But that was only a very few of the children.


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