One of the reasons of course was the mistaken belief by the airy fairy brigade that it is not good for children to be competitive. Everything must be inclusive but, it can't be embracing or inclusive if you are pitting children of varying abilities against each other. The bigger, the more active, the better aptitude a child has in participating in these days will always see the smaller, less adept child lose out and this engenders a life time of misery for the child/ children, who are always the losers, so they tell us.
You sometimes do wonder if these people actually live in the real world or what kind of sad unfulfilled lives that they had as children that made them to go on to become so introspective in their view of the world at large. Let's face it, if you are of a certain age you had PE or PT when at school, both primary and secondary here in the UK, and if like me , you were pretty pathetic, you did what everyone else did, good or bad, you got on with it. Yes, I do recall feeling pretty miserable at times, when I overheard remarks while out on the school playing fields such as, 'Hey, Jim /Bobby, (older brothers) what about the runt, are we playing him today.' And the stock reply would be, 'Are you kidding, you do want to win, don't you?'
I didn't take these jibes to heart because I knew I was pretty useless at certain sports, but it didn't stop me trying. I was no good at football, just did not have the coordination or speed, although I was a pretty tolerable runner, but over distances. I joined the local harriers for a while and was not bad at the distances. I enjoyed the 1500 meters and I enjoyed cross country. In fact I have a tiny little bronze medal, that sits next to my GS medal in the cabinet, the former I was awarded for coming third in the annual battalion cross country run, and I do mean the battalion, whether you were able or not, everyone had to take part in this little soiree, so third out of about 600, not bad!
As a kid in primary school, the emphasis all those years ago, seems not to have changed, from what Ishbel and I witnessed yesterday at the http://www.beaufort.surrey.sch.uk/ School in Woking where Mollie and Shannon attend. Every single child was included in the day, or those that were able to, Keiran (see), http://tomstronach.blogspot.com/2011/07/moral-dilema-at-8-years-of-age.html , one of Mollies boy FRIENDS, did not participate due to the fact that he had a broken collar bone, boys what do you do with them, but he was there giving support.
The day started with the children being divided into small groups and each group had different sizes and ages, and when the very smallest, of 4 years old, I guess, were doing something, one of the older children would be there guiding and helping. There were screams of encouragement and support in all activities, but no one activity was ended until all of the children in a group had had a chance to participate. And no one got fed up waiting for the slowest group to finish what they had started, (although my head did end up looking like a boiled lobster by the end of the day - ex Health and Safety Consultant with no hat - says it all really!)
So, what's the point of this then, well the point is that it doesn't matter how small you are, or how skilful (even at primary school age) you are at these activities, look at our Mollie, bigger milk bottles around than her and if you look at her next to her class mates she is a tiny Tim compared to them and indeed to her 5 year old sister. But, as we looked at her yesterday and the rest of the young ones, they were being included and encouraged at every stage. They were enjoying it and getting involved and they were learning that it doesn't matter how insignificant you appear to be, as long as you try and put the effort in you will get a reward at the end of it.
That reward varies significantly of course, as it does in adulthood, and in yesterdays sports day it was as varied as getting a sticker at the end of a race, and every one got a sticker, Shannon our 5 year old got a sticker for being first in the three legged race, with the two Granny's standing at the finish shouting her on with home made banner by Granny Susan Aunty Kelly, to cheers and applause from their friends and other parents and visitors.
They learned that taking part in an event, no matter what the outcome was, is just as satisfying and rewarding as it would have been had they actually won the particular event and while we get more cynical as we get older with people saying in a blaise way 'that it is not the winning that is important, but the taking part', with the contempt that normally can be heard by the speaker uttering that tired old phrase, it is a lesson well learned. if we can instil in our children today, the values needed to be a better citizen, whether in their local community or for their country or for the planet, by being part of that small or large community, then I say lets see more days like these up and down the length and breadth of the country. Lets get out there and show our support for the Hadmasters and Headmistresses, for the teachers and assistants, who give so much in teaching the values of inclusiveness to our children and our grandchildren.
PS. If you are going to attend one of these days do remember to take your bunnet [see] http://www.firstfoot.com/dictionary/b.html and some sun cream, be warned
|Mollie in the long jump|
|Mum Jennifer in the Mums Race [and she was not last]|
|Shannon on the balance beam|
|Shannon and Mollie in the obstacle course|
|Granny's Susan and Ishbel encourage Shannon in 3 legged race|
|Shannon with sticker|
|Mollie in the relay - go girl|