Would it be better for our family if I wasn’t quite so competitive?

Love a medal, but is she the fastest in the class? Pic submitted

Love a medal, but is she the fastest in the class? Pic submitted - Credit: Archant

I'm competitive – and I feel that's okay. Not competitive in a want-to-beat-everyone-at-everything way.

I'm not that worried if I lose to super-strategist Keola at Connect4 and every card game she knows, that top teenager Sunny barely plays on the Wii but has thrashed me at every opportunity since she was 10 and that husband Rob is a natural winner. I don't mind if my girls are the silent third shepherd's wife in the school play, a tree, narrator, or in the choir. But if it's a competitive sport then let's be competitive. I'm sure winning a school sports day race inspired my (so far) lifelong appreciation of running.

So yes, sports matter, and sports day, to me, by its very title, matters. 'It's just for fun,' say a lot of parents. Obstacle, sack, three-legged, egg and spoon relays, skipping, yes, love those for fun.

But running, jumping and throwing events were competitive when I was little and if my girls want to be competitive – go girls. Sunny didn't, she'd stop and pick daisies on any running races longer than 75 metres, although she did take a shine to long jump.

However, Thalia was over the moon with her gold medals at last year's sports day.


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She was the fastest in the class and it gave her a boost to be officially recognised as a winner. When you're behind in almost everything else and classmates are pointing out they're several reading levels ahead, when you're in tears remembering their laughter when you forgot how to count to 20; being able to whisper at home 'but you're the fastest in the class' brings back that smile.

With new speedy girls in the class this year she's been wondering who would be fastest. Imagine the dismay when sports day arrived and there was no class race. Instead years one and two joined forces, with two mixed races held and, because she's quick but not exceptional, she came third.

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Great to get a medal, especially with only older girls in front, I say.

'But I didn't race my class, I'm not the fastest in the class am I?' she says.

No Thalia, you're not.

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