26 Jun

School Sports Day – Loved or Dreaded?

Do you love school sports day or loathe them?

Remember running with all your effort and coming close to last?

Or running the race and winning them all?

Ever do the parents race?


I can’t decide about them. Yes they are all inclusive and doing it in teams means they are involved in something bigger than just themselves. Yet some one will always come last, 2nd from last. Others will fall over or forget what they’re doing. Some are happy to run the three-legged race and giggle all the way and come last. Others don’t cope emotionally.


My son is one who find competition really hard. Last year he did a complicated “potato race” which involved running & collecting a ball running ¬†back to the start and then running getting the next one & then finally running to the finish line. He was doing really well with the collecting (heading for a 1st place) but didn’t know or forgot to run to the finish line and so came last. He was upset, devastated in fact. He refused to go and sit back with his friends and stayed on my knee until the sports day was over. Even the cheering of the other parents just for him didn’t cheer him up. Losing is hard, especially with so many people watching you.

This year, I was thankful there was no running. Javelin (foam don’t panic!) and bean bag throwing. He was good at both but had a particularly good bean bag throw, he thought he was in with a chance. He came 5th out of 20 kids (did really well). He’d “held it together” for the whole event, behaved well and taken part in a positive way.

However, as he came out of school he burst into tears as he ran to me, as he’d only got 5th place and he’d really wanted to go on the podium. No matter how I said it was an excellent result and in the top 20% of throws, he wouldn’t have it.

Some children can enjoy the fun of the day, others you can see the strain of “keeping going” taking a toll on their emotions.

Bless him he held it together for so long, and as so often happens when they are in their safe place they relax and share their real emotions.

I can’t decide whether I like school sports day or swimming galas. We don’t put pressure on him, but emotionally he can really struggle.

Sports Day – Team Building – Competition? Good or Bad?

The jury’s out here – its all down to the child