Are School Sports Days on the Decline?

Are school sports days losing their competitiveness? Is this better for everybody if there are no real winners,trophies or medals? Or does this devalue sports and hinder Britain’s sporting future? It’s an interesting debate, of which both arguments can produce some extremely valid points.

A recent study commissioned by Marylebone Cricket Club suggested that 64% of Britain’s school children weren’t fussed whether they win or lose. One argument says that this is great for them in the sense that they do not get downhearted during school sports, and are enjoying the nature of the sport rather than playing solely to win. Playing without the pressure of winning will certainly make it easier for teachers, with them having to deal less with unhappy kids, and may even make kids learn better and acquire new skills under their own steam. Making their own choices may ensure that those who succeed in the future are much more likely to enjoy the game rather than resent it, and that would surely be a positive thing, would it not?

Sports Days at a young age should definitely be about the “fun” element. Egg and spoon race, sack race, the “three-legged” race is what comes to mind and these should be a way of introducing young kids to sport. The joy on their faces when they’ve competed, receiving sports day medals and school trophies as a reward, is surely great to see for parents and teachers, whether their children have been successful or not.

Certainly as they get older, it appears that fewer children are fussed about being involved in sports days after all.  From my own experience, it became voluntary in older years, and is this something that is also potentially harming sport in the UK?  It was the same select group that competed in each event once we reached senior school, and these were those who enjoyed playing sport, and as a result of this, were generally in it to win it! Surely once kids are choosing to compete in such days, then there is no harm in encouraging competitiveness, and issuing trophies and cups to spur kids on. After all, what’s better for a kid than to lift that trophy at the end of the day, knowing they have worked hard and succeeded in something they enjoy? And I’m sure they will appreciate it much more having competed in an event against others who were trying their hardest, rather than against those who weren’t particularly bothered who won!

However, it appears that school sports days are on the decline in the UK. Although they have no precise data, the Department of Culture, Media & Sport say that there is overwhelming evidence that the number of sports days over recent years has declined massively and this does not bode well for the future. It should be a traditional day in the school year that kids look forward to, being encouraged to take part and have fun with sport, contributing to a more active nation on the whole. People can debate for years to come about whether to encourage competitiveness at sports days, or whether to issue winners medals to everybody, but we should definitely do all we can to bring sports days back all over the country, and maintain the excitement over this traditional day in the school calendar.