Tales from the Head's Office #8

There is a lot going on in school at the moment so I’m writing a lot from my Office. Hope you like my quips, quotes &  ramblings many of which come from 13 years experience as a HT!


Sports Day

Right! Hands up all of you who have done your Princess Diana bit? You know, that ‘racing in the parents race at  Sports Day’ bit!
Sports Day! The day when all children should be able to show off their prowess at throwing, catching & jumping. The day when mums, dads, grans, aunts & even the dog can come along to school & cheer the Olympians on. It is also the day when those same grownups can make a fool of themselves show their skills!
However, have you ever thought what goes into this special day in the school’s calendar? There are obviously all the trials that have to be held so that the children are in the right events. Once chosen, there are the lunch time practices because believe me, the teachers will be fiercely competitive against each other. This is where the counting comes in. Yes – counting –  the different colours so that each team has the same number and the same range of – good/ OK/ not the sporting type – children in each race.
Behind the scenes the caretaker will be summoned to the Heads office to be given the requirements of the sound system. We don’t want the scores on the doors not being heard do we? The caretaker also has to arrange to have the field marked out in the appropriate way so that there is as much a sense of a real stadium as possible. The PTA will be busy buying ice lollies & preparing the certificates that are to be awarded to the winners. If the event is in the afternoon, cook will be told not to make anything ‘too heavy’ for lunch!
 The day arrives & of course the one thing that no-one could control is the weather! How many of you have had a Sports Day that has gone on all week?! Never mind! Its tradition isn’t it? It’s one of the things that makes the summer term.
HOWEVER – what are your views about the equalities issues? Should each child HAVE to enter? I certainly hated Sports Day right through my schooling. At primary they thought I should be able to jump while at secondary they thought throwing things would be more appropriate. I was rubbish at them all!
Should each child who enters get a certificate? What about that Wimbledon motto of learning to cope with defeat? What about the team spirit that we English were once famed for?
How do you dear reader feel about having to go along & cheer & take part? Is it one summer activity you would prefer to miss?
Please pop over to Mums Gone To to read another great Sports Day post!
Imge from Anwar Hussian

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  • Kids are interesting in that their opinions and choices change so rapidly. Sports is always a good thing for them to learn about others and themselves.

  • When my eldest started school, I noticed that one of the other parents was a former professional footballer (with a european Cup winners medal).
    Needless to say, I was then terrified of the parents race on Sports day. I decided to try to get to now him and partner him in the three legged race but decided that I would rather have a broken ego rather than a broken ankle.
    Luckily, he is in South Africa at the moment so i may have just gotten away with it.

  • I experienced my first school sports day as a parent yesterday, and must confess it seemed very different to what I remember from my own days at school. Having said this, I think things are handled slightly differently for the reception children anyway – it was much more of a team event, based around various relay races. It was very sweet to watch and the children did so well, and enjoyed it – which is the main thing in my book! (I remember hating it as I was always awful at sports).
    It will be interesting to see how it changes as the children get older, as I get the impression it will tally more with what I remember sports day to be like (more like your description).

  • My feelings on this are a bit imixed It’s the one day when children who aren’t academic can show they cann win an award too – even if it’s just for the egg & spoon race! I loved the party atmoshphere of sports day, the anticipation – and a day off lessons – and it was usually a lovely day. Lunch could be eaten outside ( we were allowed to take a packed one) & we got orange juice served out of big metal jugs, nornally it was only water! Also I don’t remember the presence of parents – most would have had to take umpaid time off work. There would be a few ‘SAHM’s, but nothing like the fiercely competitive parents of today – I think it is they that have spoiled the excitement of this special day.

  • As a child I hated sports day with a passion, probably because I was the geeky kid who always came last. I’m dreading the days when Zara has them even though I’ll be happy in the knowledge that I can now run a half marathon in under 2 hours I’ll still be crap at short distance. I also don’t want Zara to feel the misery that I felt every school sports day so if she doesn’t want to do it then I’ll happily let her take a sick day on that particular day 😉

  • As a parent I dislike sports day but I think it’s important that sports day should be a mixture of potted sports AND competitive sports – not everyone wins in life and it’s good to introduce that at an early age.
    Even as a child, I didn’t really like my parents being at sports day… not sure why. I know I wanted to win for ME, not just because mum was watching.

    • My parents weren’t often able to get to school things so it had to be self motivating – just not sports! Thanks for popping in – I know you’re v busy getting ready for the hols!

  • itsasmallworldafterallfamily

    I hate sports day, I’m just writing a post about my lack of joining in now. But I make an effort for the children and did run the mothers’ race. I hate how the other parents are so competitive, it’s just not me. But I geniunely think most children love it, especially if they all win something at the end and are made a fuss of.

  • I received some very interesting comments on this topic when I blogged about it recently. You were the first to comment (thank you!) so you didn’t see the other replies.
    Here’s a link to the post.

  • I always hated sports day – except in prep when I won the egg and spoon race – first and only blue ribbon – rest of schooling career loathed it, resented it in high school when we all had to go and watch *yawn* and cheer for our house (I was in the house that never won – why is there so much house competition in high school?- swear its put me off competition for life)
    I think all compeditiors in primary school should get a ribbon, and they should choose what races they compete in…like my kids swimming earlier this year.

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