OPINION: School sports days are boring so I'm glad they're cancelled this year

Ruth Davies says she is delighted she won't have to endure another school sports day this year

Ruth Davies says she is delighted she won't have to endure another school sports day this year - Credit: Getty Images

So, about major sporting events being able to take place with spectators while parents are unable to attend school sports days.

The rule, I see, is utterly bonkers but… I can’t help but feel a little relieved myself.

I know that’s not very sporting of me but, my word, school sports days have become boring!

I’m not particularly into sports and if we’re totally honest neither are my children.

Saying that, if there’s a bit of a competition and someone to root for then I can just about get on board. This is why when England reach the final stages of a football tournament you’ll find me uncharacteristically with England flags painted on my cheeks as opposed to turning my nose up at yet more football on the telly .


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But all this “no winners, no losers, just the taking part” logic as seems to be the theme of primary school sporting events these days just makes me want to yawn.

I can’t be of course because… Urgh, my kids can’t be the only ones who don’t have a parent present and seeing as my husband is a primary school teacher, busy at his own school, the job of turning up to school events (including the terminal sports day) falls at my feet.

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It doesn’t help when the parents are asked to be there all day!

"Let’s enjoy a picnic on the playing field as we watch our kids, erm, not so much compete but throw bean bags about for absolutely no result whatsoever and stay all day!”

It fills me with dread, I could be cleaning the house in that time you know (I wouldn’t but I’m just showing that productivity could be had) and instead I have to watch 11-year-olds, most of whom don’t belong to me, hula hooping for… I don’t even know what for, certainly not a medal!

Florence and Jimmy, I would say, have many skills they excel in that they get to show off in school.

Most of them are rather academic based as their particular area of expertise doesn’t lie within the sports field. I don’t want to sound unkind or cruel when I mention that they don’t show any particular talent for sports but it’s true and I think it’s a great lesson to learn that we can’t all be great at everything.

We don’t end up as adults going for job interviews to be something wildly outside our skill base only to be told “Ah but you might not be the best or show much aptitude but we’ll give you the job anyway, huh, shall we? We’ll be fair about it and give everyone a go?”

No! As adults we have to learn to accept our capabilities and also understand that sometimes, even if we really want something, work hard at it and are really good there’s still occasionally going to be someone who does better than us. When we’re brought up in a world of no winners or losers “just the taking part” it’s not very preparatory for life.

I get the sentiment, it’s quite sweet really but not terribly realistic and even though my own children aren’t the sporty ones, I want them to know that they aren’t always the best at everything and learn to cope with that.

While the academic kids shine in English and STEM subjects what happens to the others?

The children who can run rings around the rest when on the track? When do they get to be the ones we celebrate if they’re lumped into a house who constantly comes bottom of the table because no one else in it shares the same qualities?

As I mentioned, I’m not feeling this way because my kids are the ones who would win all the races but they do lose out on this important lesson. I always came last in every sporty race and you know what, I survived the experience, I’m not damaged for being able to laugh at the fact I look like I run in slow motion.

It’s a good thing to not be a winner at everything because if you never lose, that first disappointment ain't half gonna hit you hard!

So I’m glad this year will be another where I don’t have to watch a group of Year Six kids, about to hit high school, waft a parachute about trying to keep a ball on top of it as they look like they might die of boredom.

And I’m so glad I don’t even have to consider taking part in a slightly more competitive mum's race.

Because I’d come last and though I love the lesson, I’m not sure I need to learn it for a second time!

Ruth Davies has a parenting blog at www.rocknrollerbaby.co.uk

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