This week was the girls sports day at school. I’ve never really liked sports day in all honesty. In my experience it highlights just the winners and fails to recognize personal achievement, and the participation of everyone regardless of ability. I don’t like seeing crest fallen faces, disappointment and frustration when a child doesn’t achieve what they hoped. I don’t like hearing jeers from other children and the competitive nature of some parents astounds me.
So I attended this years with reluctance. I have to say though, that I enjoyed it. The school seemed to have a different approach this year. Pupils were in 4 teams and had to work together in races/games to achieve tokens, 4 for 1st place, 3 for 2nd place and so on. So regardless of if a child came first or last, they still received a token that was then put in to their teams box. A good way I thought to reward all achievement regardless of placement.
During each event the children regardless of what team they were in were encouraged to cheer for each other, and give rowdy applause for all participants at the end. I even found myself shouting ‘Go Reds’ (Natalie’s team colour)
At the end of the sports day, the team with the most tokens was the overall winner – but a win that the whole team had contributed towards and were rewarded for. It was refreshing to witness such a positive sports day for everyone involved, where the focus wasn’t on the winning, but on taking part (a bit cliche I know), team work and recognising everyone’s effort.
My girls loved it – Natalie was beyond excited at achieving 1st place in 2 of the races/games, overall her team came 2nd. Jessica was very happy to have come 1st in one of her races and quite indifferent that her team came 3rd overall. In past years I have had to deal with tears, upset and disappointment, this year was smiles and skipping.
I’d like to think it wasn’t just the winning that had made them happy, but the fact the whilst they had competed with others, both had won and lost, it was done in a very positive, self esteem building manner. Hats off to the school AND to my girls for trying so hard.